Filibusters cost Hospital Authority HK$1m in interest: John Tsang

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 May, 2014, 4:45am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

The Hospital Authority has lost HK$1 million in bank interest because filibusters by radical pan-democrats have delayed the passage of the budget bill, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said.

In an article on his official blog yesterday, entitled "It's never too late to repent", Tsang said the filibusters were in no one's interests other than those radical politicians who wanted media exposure. He added that even the media were getting weary of covering the filibuster moves.

"From the media coverage, I would say that even [they] and the public are fed up with [the filibuster show].

"Why would the actors still remain stubborn and continue a farce that will not win them any applause?" he asked.

The League of Social Democrats are delaying the bill's passage by demanding universal retirement protection, while People Power wants a cash handout of HK$10,000 for each permanent resident.

Both parties adopted similar tactics last year to delay the passage of the budget bill. In a controversial move, Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing invoked a house rule to force a vote after a lengthy debate of 120 hours across 13 days.

Yesterday was the third time in the past month Tsang singled out radical pan-democrats for criticism in his weekly blog.

In his article on May 4, he questioned whether radical pan-democrats really wanted to see universal suffrage, or only wanted to spoil reform efforts by refusing to agree on any compromise.

On April 20, he spoke out against "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung for throwing "hell money" at him during a Legco meeting, calling Leung an "irritating, troublesome" person.

Tsang also expressed worry that filibusters were being used to delay voting on other matters before the Finance Committee and its subcommittee.

Albert Chan Wai-yip of People Power has planned to move over 700 motions at Friday's Finance Committee meeting to delay voting on a funding request for controversial development projects in the New Territories.

He and the NeoDemocrats' Gary Fan Kwok-wai also have plans to move motions to delay the voting over an incinerator off Shek Kwu Chau and on a Tseung Kwan O landfill-expansion project in the public works subcommittee tomorrow.

Leung, of the League of Social Democrats, argued: "I do not want to filibuster either. I have made myself clear. I want the government to introduce a universal retirement protection scheme. If it can do it, I will not filibuster."

Chan accused the financial chief of showing disrespect to lawmakers. "It is our responsibility as legislators to monitor the government's use of public money," he said.