Chan Kam-lam, acting chairman of the Legislative Council Finance Committee, defended his decision last week that the committee members had voted to pass the extra budget for the Express Rail Link.
He suddenly called for a vote while lawmakers were wrangling on Friday over whether the additional budget requested by the government for the Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou high-speed rail project should be approved.
Amid the turmoil, Chan then declared that the extra funding was approved.
Pan-democratic lawmakers said the vote was invalid and demanded another meeting on the extra budget .
Chan admitted the next day that his decision was purely based on his “feeling”, looking at who raised their hands in favor.
He said no vote count was taken.
Chan said his decision was consistent with Legco’s rules of procedure, and he believes the political consequences, if any, will be good, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Monday.
He defended himself in a TVB program Sunday, saying his judgment was based on his personal feeling that most participating lawmakers voted for the funding.
The reason he made the decision, Chan said, was to ensure the effective functioning of Legco.
He stressed that no one demanded a formal vote count at the time.
Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing was quoted as saying that there was nothing wrong with Chan’s decision.
Some lawmakers who were ejected by Chan from the meeting for filibustering accused him of abusing his powers as acting chairman and of breaching Legco’s rules of procedure.
Chan said discontented pan-democrats should not target him but should blame delay of the rail project on government officials and MTR Corp.
He said those lawmakers had no intention to look into the details but only wanted to filibuster.
Meanwhile, Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, who convenes regular meetings of the pan-democrats, denied speculation that the pan-democrats “deliberately” allowed the additional budget to be passed during the vote.
Express Rail Link extra budget approved in sudden vote (March 11, 2016)
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