Revamp still held up by raft of amendments
The Legislative Council continued voting yesterday on hundreds of amendments to draft legislation, presented by pan-democratic lawmakers in an attempt to block the approval of financing for a government restructuring.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has proposed giving the chief secretary and financial secretaries deputies and increasing the number of bureaus from 12 to 14. The proposal is subject to Legco approval.
However, with Legco still vetting the Companies Bill yesterday, and with seven other bills and resolutions awaiting its attention, it is unlikely that the restructuring will be voted on before the legislature's term ends, on July 18.
That also means proposals to raise workers' compensation for the lung disease pneumoconiosis and occupational deafness may also lapse because the restructuring will be dealt with before they are heard.
Items not dealt with will have to be reintroduced in October and go through the full legislative process.
Legco secretary general Pauline Ng Man-wah estimated it would take 113 hours to deal with all the remaining agenda.
People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip, a driving force behind the filibustering and delaying tactics, reiterated that he would pursue all means at his disposal to stop the revamp proposal getting through Legco 'because the public is opposing the restructuring'.
'But I am sure that all bills and resolutions in the queue before the revamp will be passed before midnight on July 17,' he said.
Even though there is scant hope of the restructuring being approved, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor proposed in a letter to Legco president Tsang Yok-sing on Thursday that, if approved, it should take effect on July 23.
Civic Party lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee said the letter 'only shows the government insists on bulldozing the revamp through Legco'. Pauline Ng countered that the government had only been responding to lawmakers' requests to clarify when the measures would take effect because there was still a chance that the revamp would get backing from the finance committee and then from the full council.
The proposed revamp has been estimated to cost an extra HK$72 million a year in staff costs. At least 57 posts would be created.
Motions on various issues remaining for the legislature this term, which ends on July 18