Legislative Council

Full Legislative Council meeting to be halted to make way for Hong Kong sports complex debate

Pro-establishment lawmakers back move so debate on HK$31.8 billion project can move forward while pan-democrats say it sets bad precedent

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 June, 2017, 8:53pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 June, 2017, 11:04pm

Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen has set a precedent by cutting short a full meeting next Thursday to make way for Finance Committee discussions on a HK$31.8 billion funding request to build a controversial sports complex at Kai Tak.

Leung said on Friday that the weekly meeting had to end by 1pm next Thursday. Sessions would normally end at 8pm, although they could finish earlier if all items had been discussed.

Finance Committee chairman Chan Kin-por had asked for extra time that day to discuss the Kai Tak project.

HK$32 billion Kai Tak sports park plan narrowly approved by Legco subcommittee

Pan-democratic lawmakers said the move “broke rules”, but establishment lawmakers did not oppose Leung’s decision. Unfinished business will be discussed the following week.

No previous Legco president has ever cut short full meetings to make way for a special session, the Post has learned.

Civic Party lawmaker Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu was worried that the move would set a bad precedent. He said Leung’s decision “compromised general meeting time for Finance Committee sessions and without consulting Legco members”.

“That amounts to abuse of power,” independent pan-democrat Claudia Mo Man-ching said.

Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said unfinished business would be handled one week later.

‘We’ll take action if Kai Tak Sports Park is further delayed’

To speed up the approval process for the sports complex, the Home Affairs Bureau said it planned to raise the amount a winning bidder must set aside as a guarantee for finishing the project from HK$200 million to HK$900 million. It said this would provide a greater incentive for the winning bidder to finish the project.

Lawmakers have criticised the government for offering losing bidders HK$60 million in compensation as an incentive to encourage bids, which are due by the end of this month.

Lawmakers spent two Finance Committee sessions on Friday discussing a funding request for HK$800 million for the Sha Tin to Central rail link

Pan-democratic lawmakers kept asking questions about cost overruns, cost management and geological issues. Chan Kin-por suggested several times moving to the next item – the sports complex – but to no avail.

Additional reporting by Kimmy Chung