Reshuffle may not be passed in time, says D.A.B.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 May, 2012, 12:00am


The controversial government restructuring plan may not be passed before the new government takes over on July 1 if filibustering continues in Legco, a key member of the pro-establishment camp warns.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong's chairman, Tam Yiu-chung, made the remark yesterday as pan-democrats threatened to bombard Leung's office with queries about the proposed reshuffle in meetings of Legislative Council panels, the Finance Committee and plenary council.

But analysts believed Tam was trying to stir a public outcry against filibustering and help push forward chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying's controversial plans.

'I think there could be problems [with the proposal being passed before July 1] and I am not optimistic,' Tam said, adding that it would partly depend on 'whether [pan-democratic lawmakers] move many amendments to the resolution' on the revamp plan in the plenary meeting scheduled for June 20.

'The meeting of the Finance Committee [on June 15 could also] drag on for a long time and many questions may be raised,' he said.

The recent by-election bill was held up when People Power lawmakers moved 1,306 amendments in an attempt to derail the government's efforts to prevent a repeat of 2010, when five lawmakers resigned, triggering what they called a 'de facto referendum' on universal suffrage.

Citing another example, Tam said the pan-democrats had staged a five-day filibuster at a Finance Committee meeting in 2010 during a debate on the express railway.

Leung's multimillion-dollar proposal also requires the backing of Legco's establishment subcommittee, and is expected to undergo rigorous examination in the legislature's panels on such areas as housing, information technology and broadcasting, transport and the subcommittee which studies issues relating to cross-border families. These panels are chaired by pan-democrats.

The panels on economic development and commerce and industry, chaired by pro-establishment lawmakers, will also hold a joint meeting to discuss the proposed reshuffle.

The subcommittee which is to study the proposed legislative amendments relating to the reorganisation will meet today.

Tam said Leung's administration could face delays in implementing its policies if the restructuring could not be put in place by July. 'At least half a year will be wasted for the new government,' he told the radio station.

Leung has said there is no plan B if the plan is not passed in time.

Analyst James Sung Lap-kung said: 'Tam's remarks could be intended to put pressure on pan-democrats by arousing public concern ... but I believe the masses might not be able to read between the lines.'

Another political scientist, Ivan Choy Chi-keung, said he did not believe Tam's pessimism was an attempt to stoke discontent over the pan-democrats' moves. 'Leung Chun-ying and his aide Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun are already making use of public opinion [to put pressure on pan-democrats]. [Tam] has no need to weigh in. I think he is truly not feeling very optimistic,' Choy said.

And Tam again denied claims the people paid to attend anti-filibuster protests outside Legco this month were linked to the DAB. 'We were framed. It's shameful,' he said. He also criticised the media. 'They connected those who were recruited and paid, and made connections to us,' he said. 'This was too despicable.'