Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing urged the commerce minister to talk to rival leaders from the pan-democratic and pro-establishment camps after the debate on the controversial copyright bill was adjourned again yesterday with too few lawmakers in attendance. Tsang’s appeal came shortly before the pan-democrats warned it was the responsibility of officials to resolve the stalemate. The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 is supported by copyright owners as they believe it will protect them against infringements, but it is opposed by internet users and pan-democrats, who have demanded broader exemptions on fears it could be used to suppress freedom online. READ MORE: Hong Kong copyright bill explained: Why are people so concerned about this? Debate on the bill was delayed for a week last month after the pan-democrats forced an adjournment by repeated calls for a quorum in what was a delaying tactic. Under the Legislative Council’s rules, a meeting must be suspended if fewer than 35 lawmakers are present after the 15-minute quorum bell is called. After the meeting started at 9am yesterday, the pan-democrats called for a quorum 16 times. At 2.50pm, the meeting was adjourned as only 33 pro-establishment lawmakers were in the chamber. No pan-democrat was present. NeoDemocrat Gary Fan Kwok-wai, who requested the quorum, left the chamber seconds before the time was up. Tam Yiu-chung, of the Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, was furious. “We strongly reprimand all lawmakers who weren’t there, especially the pan-democrats,” he said. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung, a former vice-chairman of the DAB, expressed “extreme regret” at the adjournment. “I thank the pro-establishment camp for being loyal to their job,” he said. “For the pan-democrats, who orchestrated this adjournment … I would urge them to consider whether this is for the benefit of Hong Kong.” However, in a rare gesture, Jasper Tsang suggested the government had a role to play too. “I think the government might not have estimated that the conflict of views would remain so strong at this stage … and I hope the government understands that it might be unrealistic if it insists on pressing on simply based on the fact that it has more supporters than critics in the chamber,” he said. READ MORE: Legco explosion suspects out on bail after first Hong Kong court appearance “I hope it can talk to different parties and be more pragmatic.” Tsang said he would soon meet different parties to discuss the slow progress, “so that the public would not have the impression that the legislature is not operating effectively”. Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan endorsed Tsang’s call for So to meet lawmakers. “We will be defeated if the bill is put to a vote, so we have to do whatever we can under the rules to protect the people’s right,” she said. Ho, whose motion calling for the meeting to be adjourned was defeated in the morning, proposed setting up a committee for further consultation before the bill is tabled for a final vote.