Pull or push? Opposition always on wrong side of the door

Anarchic lawmakers will boycott meetings they are invited to yet when they are shut out, they’re only too happy to cry foul

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 October, 2017, 1:05am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 October, 2017, 1:05am

Cats, according to the eponymous Broadway musical, are always on the wrong side of the door. Keep them in and they want to go out. Put them out and they insist on getting back in.

Members of our opposition are behaving exactly like felines. Too bad they are nowhere nearly as cute. You invite them to meetings and they boycott them. You try to have a members-only meeting and they gatecrash it.

Reconciliation far off as Legco tension rises

Pandemonium broke out when several anti-government lawmakers such as Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Ray Chan Chi-chuen, who are not members of the Legco house rules committee, gatecrashed a committee meeting.

They denounced such closed-door gatherings as “black box” operations, even though several members of their camp, such as the Civic Party’s Dennis Kwok and Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, sit on the committee. Because the meeting was to address proposed changes to rules of procedure tabled by government-friendly lawmakers to curb filibustering, they insisted on their right to hear them. But why the urgency, when it was to be all talk and no vote on those proposed amendments?

Couldn’t they trust their own colleagues to report back accurately on what went on inside?

Yeung was also upset that the committee went through several items too quickly. Such troublesome items apparently included getting Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to attend Legco chamber meetings more frequently. But hasn’t everyone agreed on that, including Lam herself? Yeung and Kwok decided to broadcast the whole meeting live on Facebook.

Another item Yeung wanted more time to address was a separate set of amendments also aimed at curbing filibustering in future Finance Committee meetings. But didn’t the Finance Committee’s chairman, Chan Kin-por, invite all its members to discuss the proposed changes several times and that the opposition boycotted this in unison?

First Legco meeting ends abruptly, as divisions deepen

In the end, the opposition managed to create enough chaos in and outside the conference that the house committee failed to debate the proposed amendments. That, presumably, was the whole purpose all along.

We can throw all the rules of procedures, amended or not, out of the window now. There is a new kind of “filibustering” – the lawless kind.

Clearly, the opposition is intent on anarchy, at least until March, by which time several of their comrades may be returned through by-elections. In the meantime, we can expect to find them on the wrong side of every door.