Pro-establishment lawmakers must curb filibustering in Legco

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2016, 4:25pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2016, 4:25pm

Since Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying took office in mid-2012, for the first time, it seemed that a chief executive and his financial secretary were speaking in tandem on livelihood issues, such as public housing and alleviating the poverty gap. They

also are in accord over economic issues, including the

HK$19.60 billion extra funding required to complete the Hong Kong-Guangdong express rail line and funding for the airport’s third runway.

At meetings of the National People’s Congress and during discussions regarding Hong Kong’s role in the five-year plan, it was clear our city’s status as a global financial, shipping and trading hub was highly important to China’s continued development.

What a pity so many opposition legislators negatively focused on filibustering against the government’s request for the urgently needed extra funding enabling the MTR to complete what could be one of the world’s most modern rail hubs connecting with the mainland’s vast rail network.

During the ink-throwing melee started by the opposition camp, the Finance Committee chair rightly called a snap vote on the funding request, which was passed by pro-establishment legislators, to the consternation of the opposition.

To ensure Hong Kong’s global economic role in support of the country’s development, our association hopes pro-establishment Legco parties will do their utmost, following the rules of procedure, to reduce unnecessary filibustering. This can ensure that remaining government agenda, covering over 70 projects involving HK$100 billion, will be decided on by the Finance Committee by the end of the Legco session in July.

The government has spent the last two decades reviewing the setting up of a pension scheme for Hong Kong but without success. The elderly population is growing, and our association believes it is time for the C. Y. Leung administration, after the current consultation period on the latest proposals end in June, to come up with a tenable and valid elderly retirement protection plan for all.

Such a plan, suited to Hong Kong conditions, needs to be based on self-reliance through continuous employment and savings.

Mutual support among family members should also be encouraged and a comprehensive social safety net provided for all retired citizens in need.

The plan must be sustainable and capable of providing every citizen in need with a basic and decent quality of living in retirement.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, life president, Frederick Lynn, chairman, Hong Kong Civic Association