People Power warns of heavy tactics to get its point across in Legco
Filibusters and 'bodily' actions just two of the tactics radical democrats may use to make their voices heard, says lawmaker Wong Yuk-man
People Power lawmaker Wong Yuk-man has warned of disruptions in the new Legislative Council session.
His group will launch filibusters over issues such as the old-age allowance and national education, and if legislators change the house rules and ban filibustering, his allies might resort to more "bodily" means of protest, Wong says.
People Power have three seats after last month's election, with Wong and Albert Chan Wai-yip being re-elected and Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, better known as "Slow Beat", joining Legco.
Wong said Chan's victory would bring fresh ideas to People Power as it continued to scrutinise the government in a radical way.
"Our government does not have a popular mandate … so as an opposition, we must negate the legitimacy of its rule," Wong said. "We will filibuster and strongly criticise the officials."
Wong said it was "almost certain" there would be filibusters as the government had vowed to stand firm on requiring a means test for the HK$2,200-a-month allowance for the city's 400,000 elderly poor.
Parties from across the political spectrum say the means test must be waived for those over 70, while People Power is calling for it to be waived for those over 65.
People Power and League of Social Democrats' lawmakers used the filibuster to block Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's government reorganisation plan before the end of the last Legco session, prompting pro-establishment legislators to advocate a change to the rules to ban delaying tactics.
Wong warned that it would be unwise to tighten the rules.
"Radical ways of protest include breaking the house rules, and possibly resorting to physical means, while resisting under the rules allows filibustering," he said. If the rules were tightened, the group might be forced to resort to more radical means.
He hinted his group might also filibuster on issues such as national education and electoral reform.
But Wong said the group was not just concerned with radical action. People Power also was committed to livelihood issues.
"There are some causes that we have been fighting for over the past few years, for example a HK$33-an-hour minimum wage and a standard working week," Wong said. "Hong Kong people know what they don't want, but they often have no idea what they do want, so we are putting forward what we want and telling the people what they should fight for."
He admitted the group needed to strengthen its district networks and policy research, especially on welfare and labour.
To strengthen policy research, each of People Power's three lawmakers will have at least one policy researcher, and they will also find ways to make their policy manifestos and articles more visible.
Wong said the party planned to double the number of lawmakers' district offices to about a dozen to gear up for the next district council and Legislative Council elections, in 2015 and 2016.