Tuen Mun landfill
Legco's public works subcommittee voted on July 2, 2013, to approve a HK$35 million study of a Tuen Mun landfill expansion in the New Territories. The move has been met with strong opposition from residents, and the district council says Tuen Mun has a disproportionate share of dirty facilities such as power plants and fuel depots. Plans for another landfill, in Ta Kwu Ling, has also been drawn into the controversy. The government withdrew plans for the Tseung Kwan O site amid strong opposition.
Landfill plans in jeopardy as rural strongman stands firm
Cheung Chi-fai and Joshua But
Rural strongman Lau Wong-fat has renewed his call for the administration to ditch its landfill extension plans for the sake of harmony within the legislature.
Earlier in the day, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor met the Tuen Mun District Council to rally support for a study into expanding a landfill in the area.
So far, no sign of reconciliation seems to have emerged between the executive and legislative arms of government before funding requests for the Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling landfills are tabled to the Legislative Council Finance Committee tomorrow.
Unless Lau changes his mind, officials remain unlikely to secure enough support to push through the plans.
"The government should listen to good advice and public opinion by withdrawing the funding requests and resubmitting them in the next legislative session," he said yesterday.
"This is the best of the best options for them. By doing so, it will help avoid the creation of deeper conflicts within the legislature."
Lau, chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk, which represents the interests of indigenous New Territories inhabitants, denied he had a hidden agenda. "I have no other conditions. This [call to withdraw the plans] is my only request."
The administration has been struggling to win Legco approval for more space to take in the city's rubbish as pro-government lawmakers joined pan-democrats in opposing its three proposals.
There are more obstacles ahead: a filibuster by "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, and the number of questions to be raised at the committee meeting, both of which will affect when the plans can be put to the vote.
Lau dropped the political time bomb on Monday after he signalled his opposition to an extension of the Tuen Mun landfill.
Liberal Party leader James Tien Pei-chun said they would follow Lau's decision, whether he was for or against the plan.
Lau's Legco colleagues from the Business and Professionals Alliance also vowed to back him in the vote.
The alliance will make a decision on its vote tonight.