Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah will meet four radical pan-democrats on Friday to convince them to stop the filibustering that is blocking the passage of the budget bill, as it edges closer to the government's self-imposed deadline in mid-May.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying yesterday also called on the lawmakers to "fulfil their duties", but at least one pro-establishment lawmaker suggested Leung should join the meeting as well to show an effort to end the saga. People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip, one of the four lawmakers who, in total, filed more than 700 amendments to the annual appropriation bill, yesterday said a meeting with Tsang had been arranged for late Friday afternoon.
He reiterated the group's demands of a universal cash handout of HK$10,000 and consultation on the universal pension scheme, despite the fact the government has made it clear it would not yield in the meeting.
"I do not see huge difficulties for the government to fulfil these demands," Chan said. "It only depends on their will."
Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said he was delighted to see the meeting happen and hoped it could help to end the week-long filibuster. In a dinner reception with pro-establishment lawmakers last night, Leung was quoted as saying that the filibuster issue had reached a crucial stage and he was worried the bill might not be passed by the deadline in mid-May. This would affect public expenditure on livelihood and the city's development.
Lam Tai-fai, an independent lawmaker, said Leung should consider joining the meeting with radical lawmakers to convince them. Some lawmakers have also urged Jasper Tsang to halt the debate quickly.