• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 4:42am
NewsHong Kong

Legco and Hospital Authority funding to be suspended due to filibuster

Financial secretary says administration is facing problems paying its expenses beyond May in light of budget filibuster

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 May, 2014, 3:55pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 May, 2014, 8:14am

The government would suspend funding for the Legislative Council Commission, the Hospital Authority and the University Grants Committee next month because of the ongoing filibuster of the budget bill, the financial secretary said yesterday.

Speaking after talks with top civil servants, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said the administration was facing difficulty in paying its expenses beyond this month. The government's HK$78.7 billion provisional funding runs out on May 31, but Tsang ruled out applying for emergency funding.

The funding for the three public bodies "will be suspended in June to pull together HK$5.1 billion funding for other operations", Tsang said. But he said the HK$5.1 billion would only sustain the administration's expenses for a week.

While the Legco commission, which provides administrative support for the legislature, will have its funding suspended, Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said the body would use its HK$120 million reserve to pay for the operation and staff wages of the secretariat, which amount to about HK$40 million per month.

He said the Legco commission would have to make a ''political decision'' as to whether the remaining reserve should be used to pay the wages and expenses of lawmakers, which amount to HK$18 million a month.

While the financial secretary painted a bleak picture of the government's balance sheet, he said he was doing so for good reason. "Over 60 departments will see their reserves drying up in June," said Tsang, who based his assessment on cash-flow forecasts collected from all government departments. "The ideal time for passing the appropriation bill is mid-May but that has already passed."

Two filibustering lawmakers - Albert Chan Wai-yip and Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, of the People Power party - told Jasper Tsang on Wednesday that their marathon protest could finish by the end of this month. They have asked the government to apply for emergency funding.

John Tsang refuses to meet the filibustering lawmakers, whose demands include calling on the government to set up a universal pension fund.

"A meeting with them would not help much" to end the filibuster, he said. "We understand their stance."

Chan said that if the government was unable to fund itself it would be because of its own incompetence.

Legco has yet to vote on any of the 1,192 amendments to the budget bill - mainly sponsored by four radical pan-democrats - after 43 hours of debate since April 30, including 10 hours spent counting quorums.



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This article is now closed to comments

Childish! Why not suspend funding of all the vanity bridge to nowhere projects before useful social welfare ones?
A political move pure and simple. Targeting the sick - Well done Mr Tsang. What a moron! Go and get emergency funding but don't target those in need of medical services. Why don't you cut your own pay and that of all Government ministers as well as the pay of the Mandarins? Should put quite a hefty sum into the pot! You are despicable.
Well, plainly FS doesn't stand for Financial Secretary but F**king Stupid. Maybe Tsang is trying to earn the nickname "Killer" Tsang - for real.
" just few people elected" : unlike anyone in the Government!
We get mad when a quasi-government department is not forthcoming with information about 2 year delays, and yet we lambast those who are forthcoming?
We all should have known this would be the result when the legislators submitted over 1500 filibusters. Yes they have the right and the responsibility to question ever bill that the government submits for approval, but all they have achieved is isolation and segregation.
The current administration is dead in the water, and I highly doubt any future administration will fair any better.
Sad. Why not civil servant salaries? Why not the F.S. salary, as well as the rest of the bureau that have erred miserably for the past year? This reek political bullying that would only result in massive protest. Whilst filibustering is a silly game, this action beats all the rest.
haha, everyone blaming john tsang but not those brainless so called lawmakers...
filibuster for nothing.
just few people elected by a small amount of people can paralyse the government and other public organisation and affect the livelihood of all hk people. very nice
Any moves that sabotage the goverment and add woos to the officials, although also hurting HK, are seen as heroic by some ****** (choose the word you like) , ha, ha . . .
How much is enough in the city's coffer to be deemed financially sufficient and safe ? It's one thing to be frugal, but another with the notion of taking all the treasures down the grave along with the dead.
How a country is judged by their perceived value of human lives is directly linked with their effort to put in medical services to its citizens. If these bureaucrats could live with it without the slightest conviction from their consciences, then they are truly the making of a great politician.
As I said here before, Politics is a dirty business. Politicians get their power fix and ordinary people pay the price.



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