The government is going to move a non-binding resolution in the Legislative Council on Wednesday urging lawmakers to support the “co-location arrangements” for customs and immigration facilities at the West Kowloon terminal of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.
Given the lesson of the “accidental” adjournment of last week’s council meeting due to a lack of quorum, it is said that the administration is going to great lengths this time to make sure nothing will go wrong with Wednesday’s meeting.
The government has already reminded pro-establishment lawmakers to be present and sit still at the meeting on Wednesday to make sure there will always be enough of them in the chamber during the debate and voting so as to guarantee the passage of the resolution.
To make sure none of the pro-establishment lawmakers would take French leave during the meeting, “whip squads” will be stationed in the Legco building around the clock to keep an eye on them.
Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen has also announced that each lawmaker can only deliver a single speech of no longer than 15 minutes during the debate on the “co-location arrangement” resolution so as to minimize the potential for filibusters.
With all these precautionary measures in place, the government is highly optimistic about the passage of the motion.
Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine that the pro-democracy camp would just allow the government resolution to pass Legco with ease, especially since Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s decision to postpone debates on the proposed Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill to give way to the “co-location arrangement” motion has outraged a lot of pan-democrats.
Charles Mok Nai-kwong, convenor of the pan-democrats’ assembly, said on Monday that while members of the opposition have yet to agree on what action to take on Wednesday, he wouldn’t make public their tactics even if there was a decision, suggesting that the pan-democrats are likely to lie in ambush waiting for opportunities to derail the government motion.
However, as to exactly what they are going to do apart from asking for roll calls during the council meeting to block the motion or at least prolong the debate and delay voting, we probably won’t be able to find out until Wednesday.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 24
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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