Don't try shortcut, C.Y. Leung is warned
Peter So and Tanna Chong
Leung Chun-ying should not look for shortcuts, but follow normal procedures in seeking funding for his government revamp proposal, the chief of the legislature's Finance Committee said yesterday.
Emily Lau Wai-hing said in a radio interview: 'I hope the chief executive-elect's office will follow the procedures that allow the proposal to be discussed thoughtfully in all related affairs panels in Legco.
'If you want to run a shortcut - to table the proposal to the Finance Committee directly - I believe that would provoke strong [reactions from lawmakers],' Lau told Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, head of the chief executive-elect's office.
Law, who appeared on the same radio show, said: 'I will follow it [the procedures] completely. I even cancelled my holiday for this.'
The revamp would rearrange the portfolios of the 12 existing bureaus while adding a culture bureau and a technology and communications bureau. It would add HK$74 million a year to government spending. The revamp requires approval from the Legislative Council's Finance Committee on its expenses, and from the full council on the related legislative amendments.
The revamp is expected to be discussed in the Finance Committee on June 15 and in the full council on June 20. Before that, it will be discussed in the establishment subcommittee - under the Finance Committee - on June 6 to obtain lawmakers' recommendations on staffing expenses.
Several other Legco panels - constitutional affairs, housing, development, information technology and broadcasting - have asked for special meetings to discuss the restructuring.
Leung has repeatedly asked lawmakers to pass his proposal by July, and suggested the many discussions about them are a form of filibuster.
Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, chairwoman of the establishment subcommittee, said it would be a rare exception to scrutinise expense items in the Finance Committee directly, without a recommendation from the subcommittee. The proposal would face lengthy discussion in the Finance Committee if Leung skips some of the steps, Ng warned.
Meanwhile, Legco continued voting on the 1,306 amendments to the controversial by-election bill tabled by People Power lawmakers.
Legislators rejected 194, leaving 647 outstanding. Voting continues today.