Pan-democrats defeat finance committee filibuster block again

Pro-government camp's bid to change procedures fails after 1,244 amendments

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 November, 2012, 3:42am

The pan-democrats stalled the pro-government camp's attempt to block filibusters on the Legislative Council Finance Committee yesterday for the second time in a month.

At the end of a two-hour meeting, the committee failed to reach a conclusion on setting up rules to amend the procedures and will take up the issue again later this month.

The committee also failed to vote on any of the 1,244 amendments tabled by pan-democrats in an attempt to block any changes to the Finance Committee's procedures.

The pan-democrats also challenged a proposal by lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, to block filibusters by limiting legislators to moving no more than one motion without prior notice.

People Power, which opposed the move, threatened earlier to counter-attack by raising another 1,000 amendments to Ip's proposal.

Yesterday's meeting was scheduled to debate on committee chairman Tommy Cheung Yu-yan's proposal to require five working days' notice for a motion to amend the procedures, and two days for others to amend the motion.

But as the pan-democrats dominated the meeting, they also moved the focus of attention to attacking Ip's proposal.

The Democratic Party repeated its warning that it would help to filibuster the proposal for the duration of Legco's four-year term if Ip insisted on his plan.

Democrat Emily Lau Wai-hing warned: "We will table 100,000, 200,000, or even 300,000 amendments. It will take you four years, or even eight years to deal with them."

After the meeting, Ip countered by threatening to seek an adjournment of the discussion next time, and ask the chairman to move on to discussing Ip's proposal instead.

Ip said he was "cheated" into agreeing a discussion on Cheung's proposal. "I thought the pan-democrats agreed to discuss how to amend the procedures, but now they filed 1,244 amendments against it," Ip said.

The Finance Committee meeting next Friday is due to scrutinise funding for the government's old age living allowance proposal to give 400,000 eligible elderly people a HK$2,200 a month.