Blow for C.Y.'s revamp timetable
Incoming chief executive Leung Chun-ying's push for approval before July 1 of his proposals to restructure the government was dealt a major blow yesterday when lawmakers said Legco's finance committee would sit for only 10 hours next week.
This means there is only a slim chance of the proposals being approved before Leung takes office.
Pan-democrats and several independent lawmakers rejected a request from the current government to holding extra meetings next Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
Radical lawmakers Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan Wai-yip of People Power, who planned to table 900 motions to the finance committee, estimated it would require at least 37 hours to discuss their motions.
'Definitely 10 hours will not be enough. I have no idea how the restructuring plan can be passed in time,' Wong said.
There are three finance committee meetings scheduled before the end of June and each is due to last for two hours unless committee chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing approves an extension.
The committee needs to approve additional staff costs related to Leung's restructuring plan, while the full council must approve resolutions concerning the transfer of powers between officials.
Leung told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday that he remained 'cautiously optimistic' about obtaining approval from the legislature, but said 'the sky won't fall in' if his proposal is not approved before he takes office.
Wong plans to table about 60 amendments to the resolutions - which have been scheduled for discussion during the council meeting on June 20. But he conceded this could only slightly delay passage of the resolutions.
The Legco Secretariat estimates it will require 30 hours to debate the resolutions. It is unclear whether they can be debated at the June 20 meeting since the council will need to deal with a backlog of other issues caused by last month's attempted filibuster of election law changes.
The long-awaited competition bill - which would ban anti-competitive practices such as price-fixing and bid-rigging - has made slow progress this week despite about 20 hours' discussion since Wednesday. Debate resumes next Wednesday.
The secretariat estimates Legco needs 220 hours to handle all the outstanding issues before its term ends, and lawmakers have agreed to more time slots for meetings.
Legco president Tsang Yok-sing said the government could reprioritise some bills before July to make way for debate of Leung's restructuring proposal, but he had not received such a request from the administration.
Meanwhile, protesters from the Kick Out Government Hegemony Alliance staged a turtle-based rally outside Legco yesterday to urge legislators to block the competition bill, which they say is toothless in its present form.