POLITICS

Lawmakers expelled after waving red cards at Finance Committee chairman

Angry lawmakers demand Finance Committee chairman steps down

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 July, 2014, 3:14am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 July, 2014, 3:35am

Five pan-democratic lawmakers were thrown out of a Legislative Council Finance Committee meeting yesterday as discussion over the government's funding requests continued amid chaos.

The lawmakers were expelled after they surrounded the committee's much-criticised chairman, Ng Leung-sing, holding large red cards demanding his resignation.

Ng has been engulfed in criticism and accusations that he breached the rules of procedure twice to push through a vote last week on preliminary financing for a controversial new-town development plan for the northeastern New Territories.

At yesterday's six-hour meeting, all of the pan-democratic legislators placed red cards at the front of their desks to show their determination to remove Ng as committee chairman.

A request by the Labour Party's Lee Cheuk-yan that his motion of no confidence against Ng be processed before other discussions was turned down by Ng, saying he had arranged a special meeting on July 9 for that motion.

Disappointed, Lee, his fellow party member Cyd Ho Sau-lan, the Democratic Party's James To Kun-sun, the Civic Party's Claudia Mo Man-ching and NeoDemocrat Gary Fan Kwok-wai leapt from their seats to surround Ng with their red cards, shouting "Ng Leung-sing resign", and "Invalidate the northeast New Territories plan vote".

After a 10-minute break, Ng expelled Lee. But all five lawmakers were expelled when the group again surrounded Ng.

"If he doesn't deal with the motion of no confidence, the whole Finance Committee will be overshadowed by his injustice," said Lee. "We were worried he would continue breaching the committee rules so we asked him to resign immediately."

Lawmakers who remained at the meeting also criticised Ng.

Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, of the Labour Party, said Ng's failure to declare his position as a director of SmarTone, a subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Properties, which owns land in the new-town development area, should disqualify him from chairmanship.

Ng's position would involve more conflicts of interest in upcoming debates over other items, he said.

The discussions on funding requests continued after a motion to adjourn the discussions by the People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip was voted against by 47 out of 51 lawmakers.

On Thursday, radical lawmaker Wong Yuk-man submitted over 14,000 motions to challenge Ng.

Yesterday, however, he withdrew the motions which allowed two items to be passed. Many pro-democratic lawmakers did not support the move as they felt it would block items related to people's livelihood.