• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 6:24pm

Democrats study maid-levy proposal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 November, 2008, 12:00am

The Democratic Party is studying how best to structure an amendment to the government's proposal to suspend the maid levy for five years, in an effort to win support from undecided lawmakers.

Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said he had been tasked with working out an amendment that would allow greater flexibility on whether the levy should resume after the suspension.

'For example, we can say that resumption of the levy will require 'positive vetting' by lawmakers after five years,' Mr To said, referring to a more exhaustive examination than the 'negative vetting' the present proposal is receiving,

'This way, we can still say we are suspending the levy for five years as proposed by the government,' he said.

But the arrangement would give lawmakers the power to decide whether the levy would resume, depending on public opinion at the time. Mr To said he hoped such an amendment might find support from some independent lawmakers.

The government had originally planned to suspend the HK$400 monthly levy for two years as part of its inflation-relief measures.

But when the proposal was submitted to lawmakers for negative vetting - under which a proposal is passed if no lawmaker finds a problem with it - the chairwoman of the subcommittee studying the issue, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, proposed an amendment to abolish the levy permanently.

On Tuesday, the government withdrew its original proposal and submitted a second plan that would suspend the levy for five years instead.

Yesterday, lawmakers agreed to set up another subcommittee to scrutinise the newly proposed five-year suspension.

Mrs Ip said she would listen to views in the new subcommittee before deciding on another amendment.


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