Date
25 September 2017
Legco Finance Committee chairman Chan Kin-por said his proposals are not meant to restrict the freedom of legislators to monitor the government. Photo: HKEJ
Legco Finance Committee chairman Chan Kin-por said his proposals are not meant to restrict the freedom of legislators to monitor the government. Photo: HKEJ

Legco finance panel chief eyes new measures to curb filibusters

Legco Finance Committee chairman Chan Kin-por has floated new suggestions to restrict filibustering by fellow lawmakers over the funding approval process.

The new measures include restricting lawmakers in requesting adjournment of debate, allowing only one request for adjournment of the proceedings on each agenda, as well as abolishing the session for debates on moving a motion, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Chan said he would first consult the pro-establishment camp on the new proposals when committee members meet again in October, before talking with the pan-democrats.

He said the finance committee spent 12 hours, or one-tenth of the total meeting hours, on processing motions; and 16 hours, representing 13 percent of the total meeting hours, on requests for adjournment of proceedings.

A quarter of the committee’s meeting time was wasted on these two types of requests, he said.

Factoring in the time spent on making rulings on points of order, disorderly conduct and the debate sessions on moving a motion, Chan said almost 40 percent of the meeting time was wasted this year.

The finance committee approved over HK$190 billion from 88 funding requests last year, and only HK$76.4 billion from 29 funding requests this year.

This has inevitably led to a backlog of funding requests, Chan said, adding that he does not see filibusters as a way to make the government change its mind.

He stressed that his proposals are not meant to restrict the freedom of legislators to monitor the government.

On the contrary, the time saved from filibusters will offer more questioning time for lawmakers, he said.

Chan believes legislators can better monitor the government by engaging in more dialogues with relevant officials.

As the pan-democrats have made it clear they intend to paralyze Legco proceedings, Chan said he must be prepared.

However, he said he would like to implement the new rules with the blessing of the pan-democrats.

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EL/YH/BN/CG

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