Stay-away lawmakers threaten meetings

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 12:00am

The weekly sittings of the Legislative Council risked being aborted on 10 occasions since October as most lawmakers stayed away from the chamber during motion debates, according to a watchdog.

A study by the Catholic Monitors on legislative councillors found that on at least 10 occasions the motion debates were attended by only a dozen or so lawmakers inside the chamber.

The meetings could only continue after Legco President Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai rang the bell to summon the members who usually preferred to stay inside the ante-chamber until the motion came to a vote.

Members wasted a full-day sitting last Wednesday after pro-government legislators boycotted the meeting to protest over the minute's silence called by the rival camp for ousted party chief Zhao Ziyang .

'Although the meetings have not been aborted as a result, it still warrants public concern,' the watchdog said in a statement.

On the outcome of the motion debates, as many as 20 motions or amendments that had simple majority support were defeated because of the divisional vote.

The figure is twice that during the same period in the previous Legco term.