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The government has decided to move its reorganization plan to the back of the order paper, to make way for quality of life related bills at the Legislative Council (LegCo).
Though People Power promised to end filibustering when the new agenda was published, LegCo President Jasper Tsang said the mountain of bills ahead will make it difficult to table the restructuring motion before the term ends on July 17.
In 10 days before the dismissal of LegCo, the Finance Committee has yet to grant funding after 45 hours of debate. The chamber still has to go through eight bills and one motion before coming to the reorganization bill.
In the face of what she called “irrational delays instigated by the three Legislative Council members”, Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced on Monday the revamp bill would go to the rear of all agendas, but she stopped short of withdrawing the bill.
In a bid to improve formulation of policies, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has advocated a cabinet revamp that involves creation of two deputy secretaries, spin-offs of two new bureaus and reshuffling of duties at two existing bureaus responsible for housing.
The transfer of power will need LegCo’s authorization via a motion, while the extra annual expense of HK$73 million requires funding approval from the LegCo Finance Committee.
Lam denied the government was running up a white flag in the filibuster war. “We made this rescheduling proposal out of a caring and people-oriented spirit,” she said.
As a result, the Finance Committee will move to discuss funding for the expansion of United Christian Hospital. Next will come a proposal to introduce two-dollar bus rides for the disabled. Eight bills and sixteen other motions precede the reorganization motion on the agenda.
However, Albert Chan Wai-yip of People Power said the filibustering will end, only when the agenda change is officially published. He kept asking for quorum headcounts throughout Monday afternoon.
LegCo President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing pointed out it would be “very difficult” for the motion to be tabled before July 17 as lawmakers were unable to commit attendance for overnight or weekend meetings. About 60 hours are left for the assembly before prorogation.