THE provisional legislature yesterday abruptly postponed approval of the rules governing its meetings - including whether to pass laws before July 1. It said a delay until the middle of next month was necessary to allow members more time for consideration. But some members said the postponement would simply prolong confusion within the shadow body. Incumbent Legco president Andrew Wong Wang-fat labelled it ridiculous. The adjournment means no bills committees may be set up, even if Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa tables legislation for scrutiny. At yesterday's plenum in Shenzhen, 49 members voted for the motion, moved by Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, who convenes the sub-group in charge of rules of procedure. Five voted against and three abstained. The five were Mr Wong and the four members of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood. The three abstainers were Dr Leong Che-hung, Eric Li Ka-cheung and Dominic Chan Choi-hi, all non-affiliated. Ms Chow said the decision to delay was taken on Friday night after some members asked for more time to study the 50-page proposal. 'Most of them got the proposal on Tuesday or Wednesday. That means they only had three days to digest the information. It is impossible for them to propose any amendment which they are entitled to do,' she said. 'The sub-group fully understands the urgent need to endorse a set of rules of procedure as soon as possible. But that does not mean legislators should have to close their eyes and get the proposal passed.' Ms Chow did not think the delay would affect the interim body's operations. The sub-group proposal, reported in summary by Mrs Chow at the plenum, laid out two options to allow laws indispensable to the Special Administrative Region to become effective on July 1. The two options are for the scrutiny of bills before July 1 with the three readings on, or after, July 1; and for all three readings to be done before July 1, with confirmation on July 1. Also in the proposal were recommendations for members' immunity from legal action for speeches; restrictions on motions and amendments; and a committee system. But Mr Wong said it was ridiculous to put off endorsing the rules of procedure, which were essential to keep meetings under control. 'The sub-group has already adopted the current rules of procedure of the incumbent Legco. I cannot understand why they have to postpone the endorsement,' he said. 'How can we hold meetings without rules of procedure?'