Legco delays defer daunting workload
The end of the Legislative Council's annual session is always hectic as lawmakers rush to get unfinished business through. But the agenda is especially packed this time with the looming conclusion of another four-year term. Despite the pressure, though, the frenetic activity that should have been expected on Monday was absent as an extended meeting failed to get under way after lunch due to lack of a quorum. Just 29 of the 60 legislators bothered showing up. This further tarnished reputations after recent criticism over delaying tactics that were aimed at preventing chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying from taking office with an expanded ministerial team. We have every right to be angry - personal interests have once more been put ahead of those of the people of Hong Kong.
A host of reasons have been given for legislators not being present. Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee was meeting supporters, while People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip refused to enter the chamber, and other lawmakers said they simply forgot the session was being held. Nearly all pan-democrats were missing, as were 14 pro-government lawmakers. Legco president Tsang Yok-sing has every reason to make them work extra hours to catch up. A daunting workload remains, after all, with 10 government bills, among them important measures to regulate sales of new flats, and 17 resolutions. The latter includes Leung's restructuring plan, the reason behind radical lawmakers last month mounting a filibuster against the by-election bill to bring the legislative process to a grinding halt. Tsang that time opted for a never-used article to get the session back on track, which should have sent the clearest of messages about the mountain of remaining work. It has not sunk in.
An effort to clear the backlog by July 18 will be made, but the rush means the laws and resolutions are unlikely to be properly considered; the volume is such that some will lapse. Lawmakers are chosen to serve Hong Kong, not their own or limited interests. Those standing for election on September 9 have to ensure their heart is in the right place.