Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has stepped up his rhetoric against radical lawmakers' filibustering, saying the delaying tactics have hurt Hong Kong's competitiveness and "deeply disgusted" the public.
An attempt to delay the passage of the government's budget "has hijacked the will of the majority of lawmakers and residents", he said in a Legislative Council question-and-answer session yesterday.
Such tactics "paralysed the government and the legislature frequently, and it is the residents that are eventually the victims".
Leung also expressed concern that filibustering could derail his plan to set up a new innovation and technology bureau, which he said was important to the city's development.
Pan-democrats filed 1,192 amendments to the budget bill, most sponsored by two People Power lawmakers and "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung of the League of Social Democrats. They call on the government to deliver on a universal pension scheme and give a direct cash handout to all Hongkongers.
Leung said numerous proposals, including an allowance for low-income working families, an increase in the kindergarten vouchers subsidy, a medical allowance for elderly people and an extra allowance for social security recipients, could be delayed by the filibuster.
Referring to the just-unveiled IMD World Competitiveness Rankings 2013, in which Hong Kong dropped out of the top three for the first time in a decade, Leung said Hong Kong had to work on ways to improve the city's competitiveness.
He appealed to the public to speak up against filibustering because "society has been deeply disgusted by" a tactic "which hurts the city's competitiveness".
On his recent visit to Sweden, Leung said, he had learnt that technological innovation had been a key driving force for the Scandinavian nation's economy.
In his policy address he proposed an innovation and technology bureau to promote economic development. "But there is already a lawmaker who has vowed to block the establishment of the bureau by means of filibustering," he said.
"Long Hair" Leung has said he would filibuster approval of the bureau in protest at the government's refusal to grant a free-television licence to Hong Kong Television Network.