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  • Apr 24, 2014
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CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

Legco should stop the farce and get to work

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 2:51am

The public can be excused for being outraged as the legislature degenerates into a political circus. Just a week into the tiring tactic of filibustering, mounted by a handful of rebel lawmakers, the scrutiny of bills has been suspended, panel sessions disrupted and meetings aborted due to insufficient attendance, while hours are spent counting quorums and some play pranks in lifts to delay attendance. More importantly, tax rebate and relief measures worth of billions of dollars are being held up and government departments risk running out of cash if the budget cannot be passed within the next 10 days. The farce has gone to the extreme.

This is not the first time some Legco members have stalled the process with countless amendments and motions. Last year, the same tactic was used to block or force changes to government restructuring, the old-age allowance and an unpopular by-election law. Arguably, there is nothing wrong in pursuing one's political course within the rules of the game. But what is permissible in Legco may not necessarily be acceptable to the people. The 700-plus amendments, despite having been squeezed into 148 debate sessions, may take as many as 80 working sessions to clear. Even if members just vote on the amendments without debate, it will still take more than 20 hours. Clearly, there is a limit to how far things can go.

Amid growing public discontent, the rebels have offered to scale down the stunt and hope officials will negotiate with them. Whether or not the olive branch will be well received by the government remains unclear. The filibuster by the League of Social Democrats and People Power is intended to push the government to introduce a universal old-age pension scheme. But officials remain non-committal and show no sign of compromise. As time goes by, what the rebels advocate is increasingly weakened by finger-pointing across the chamber. A retirement pension is a laudable goal; but there is no need to bundle it with the budget vote.

President Tsang Yok-sing is under growing pressure to break the impasse when Legco resumes on Wednesday. Last year, he invoked a special power to kill the marathon debate on the by-election bill. Until there is a consensus to tighten the rules, the right of members to speak should not be unduly curbed. That said, such a right should be exercised in a responsible way. The prevailing public sentiment suggests it's time for lawmakers to stop filibustering and get on with real business.

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the sun also rises
Legco should stop the farce and get to work ? Our Legco lawmakers have to work always since they get up to over HK$80,000 per month.Even the current filibustering staged by the four so-called radical lawmakers is just a type of work ( a lawful one too ) of the lawmakers and the staff of the Legco.Right ? It can never be described as a waste of public money nor time ---like what FTU's lawmaker,Wong Kwok-hing described ! Whatever will be, will be ! Just let it be.Those that have to come to an end will soon come to an end. Why there is so much fuss ?
k2poon
The entire institution is a farce in itself. I rather have this dysfunctional government grind to a halt than to have it continue with its destructive path ruining the future of this city.
SpeakFreely
Hey do u know who will be the biggest looser if that happen? Long Hair and the poor. I love to see the whole government stop functioning and welfare recipients stop receiving payment etc..( not because I'm not on the side of the poor) then we will flush out Long Hair once we re elect the legco they loose their shirt as people feel the pain. How about that? For most of the middle class like myself we won't feel the pain at all.
johnwe
For a change I entirely agree with the Editorial.
Furthermore, the antics of these cretins have nothing to do with the government cleaning up its act or the conduct of Donald Tsang. These are simply red herrings thrown in by the writers because they cannot find a justification for their blind support of the trouble-makers who seem to be suffering a juvenile disease of attention deficit.
Fedup
Camel
All what Long Hair and his rascals in the Legco are doing is to waste tax money and chaos.
the sun also rises
This Camel is just a blind-loyalist follower only.The cost of the filibustering calculated by so-called lawmaker, the FTU's Wong Kwok-hing ( a good-for-nothing and ignorant Fukienese) is totally misleading.Wong said that according to the salaries of the lawmakers and the staff of the Legco,the cost of the filibustering will be in the dozens of millions ! Yet he just doesn't understand whether there is a filibustering which demands at least a certain number of lawmakers (no matter how lazy they used to be) to be present,the lawmakers will be paid monthly (even during their holidays---is it a waste of tax-payers' money too ? The filibustering staged by so-called radical lawmakers is legal and is the right/tactic used by the minority in the legislature all around the world to fight for their benefits/rights ! What is wrong with that ? Now the filibustering is staged due to there is no all-people retirement assaurance ! The radical lawmakers and many pan-democrat lawmakers have included it in their election platforms ! Now the radical lawmakers are just materizing their promises to their voters only ! Though the filibustering will delay the passage of the budget presented by the incapable financial secretary, but it will certainly be passed in the end !
k2poon
The cost of the filibustering will never come close to the tens of billions of dollars that the govt and pro establishments will waste on building pointless white elephants or donating to corrupted mainland officials.
chaz_hen
Is the public truly "outraged", SCMP???
How do you come to that conclusion? I would wager they are more outraged at the shenanigans of former CE Donald Bowtie...the ineptitude of CY...the degeneration of the ICAC...the greed of the tyGoons in both property and keeping wages for skilled terminal operators at embarrassing levels and the now open, direct meddling of the CCP in local politics.
caractacus
All very well, but your newspaper is owned and editorially controlled by PRC loyal entities. If the HK government process was in any way honest, open and transparent I would agree that Long Hair and his friends are negative and lacking any innovation, but our process of government was perverted and corrupted by the previous, rotten administration and the present one under C. Y Leung shows no signs of ridding itself of the filthy, self interested special interests who are STILL in the executive council and dominating policy for their own ends.
So how can you (meaning SCMP and your political masters) dare assert to pluck the splinter out of Long Hair's eye while they ignore the log in their own?
If the political leaders clean up their act (fat chance) and show they really mean to represent ALL the people, they will gain a lot more sympathy and respect.
rickthong
I think u r loosing it. We are talking about the budget which the country as well as the people have to function. It is just like a coy budget. Without it, no one get paid. By having those guys delaying n playing w the elevator, this is the maturity of those guys. These peopke can get into the legco n talk about politics, do they know what influence they show to the young people. They are being paid a lot by taxpayers money.
Green
they are paid too much! We should cut their pay substantially and see if they will stay and really serve us.

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