Filibusters disrupt 11 planned events

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 May, 2013, 5:09am

Ongoing filibustering by radical politicians derailed 10 scheduled panel meetings at the legislature and a lawmakers' visit to wet markets, a check of the official website shows.

And one of the meetings cancelled, ironically, was a special panel session lined up last month to discuss retirement protection. The filibustering is a protest against the omission of a universal pension scheme from the proposed budget.

The Legislative Council has delayed or called off events planned between April 26 and May 7 to accommodate the filibusters, which four lawmakers from People Power and the League of Social Democrats started on April 24, its website shows.

Two other cancelled meetings were to have discussed railway developments in Tung Chung and Yuen Long, and the Air Pollution Control (Amendment) Bill.

Among the events postponed is an inspection trip on market hygiene. A discussion on the definition of a poverty line and support for ethnic minorities will not take place until next Wednesday, while former chief graft-buster Timothy Tong Hin-ming's expenditure will make the security panel's agenda only on May 23.

In five days of deliberations so far, Legco has cleared only four out of 148 expected debate sessions on the budget. It will start on the fifth debate this morning.

On Tuesday, Beijing-loyalist Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing estimated HK$12.75 million of public funds had been "wasted" to date.

Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, urged Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing to halt the filibusters soon.

Tsang will hold a closed-door meeting with lawmakers from across the political spectrum tomorrow morning. They are expected to discuss arrangements for remaining budget debates.