image

Legislative Council

Former Hong Kong lawmaker challenged over new towns funds vote

Kwu Tung resident claims ex-Finance Committee chairman ignored rules of procedure to end filibustering attempt

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 11:39pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 10:31am

A Kwu Tung resident has ­challenged a former lawmaker in court for his actions during a meeting that passed controversial funding for thedevelopment of the northeastern New Territories.

Lawyers for Tsang Kwong Kuen said Ng Leung-sing, former chairman of the Legislative Council’s Finance Committee, acted wrongly when he ended a filibustering attempt by pan-democrats two years ago.

They said Ng failed to realise that he had the power under ­Legco rules of procedure to act upon a motion by pan-democrat Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung on June 27, 2014.

Pan-democrats had tried to stop the passage of an initial HK$340 million funding request by the government for the ­development, which will see many people losing their homes.

Cheung, of the Labour Party, raised a motion that then pro-establishment lawmaker Ip Kwok-him had a conflict of interest and therefore should withdraw from the meeting.

Barrister Queenie Lau, for Tsang, argued on Thursday that Ng should have dealt with the ­motion, but he did not.

This was despite the rules of procedure, which state that Ng had the power and discretion to do so, she said.

“He didn't realise that actually he had the power under rule 84 (3A),” Lau said, adding that rather than rejecting the request Ng ­simply cold-shouldered Cheung. She asked the court to rule that Ng should have dealt with it.

But Anthony Chan, for the ­legislature, countered that the court should not meddle in Legco affairs, as long as the decision did not contravene the Basic Law.

Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung reserved his judgment, to be handed down at a later date.

The HK$340 million was part of HK$120 billion expected to be set aside for new town projects at Kwu Tung and Fanling North.

Ng was also accused of breaching another rule at the same meeting, which ended in chaos with protesting pan-democrats leaving their seats.

But the vote went ahead as pan-democrats, still not in their seats, complained. The funding request was approved 29-2.

As many as 5,000 people, many of whom were residents from the areas to be redeveloped, gathered outside the Legco ­building in Admiralty to protest against the proposal.