Right to reject bills reserved

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 August, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 August, 1997, 12:00am

Provisional legislators yesterday reserved the right to vote down bills they did not consider indispensable.

House Committee members earlier questioned if some of the 19 bills the administration were due to table fell within that category.

The interim body can only approve bills indispensable to the running of the SAR, according to the Preparatory Committee decision which set it up.

House Committee chairman Dr Leong Che-hung said: 'The Government can consider the bills indispensable, but we, as provisional legislators, have the responsibility to see if they are.' Dr Leong said legislators could report to council chairman Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai and let her liaise with the Government if it decided some bills were not indispensable.

'If officials insist on resuming the second reading, provisional legislators could choose not to scrutinise the bills or vote them down,' Dr Leong said.

But Wong Siu-yee of the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance said arguments on the necessity of bills would be a waste of time.

'We should trust the administration. When it tables bills to us, it has the responsibility to check the bills are necessary to ensure a smooth running of the SAR.

'Our responsibility is to scrutinise them, and not to examine whether they are indispensable or not,' said Mr Wong.

The administration has refused a request for officials to explain the necessity of the bills before tabling them.