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Monday, July 7, 2014, 15:00

Laggard LegCo clocks worst performance in years

By Timothy Chui/chinadailyasia.com

 Laggard LegCo clocks worst performance in years
An agitated lawmaker is restrained inside Hong Kong's Legislative Council on July 3, 2014. (Photo provided to China Daily)

HONG KONG - The Legislative Council is on track for its worst performance in years as half of the legislature’s business remains unfinished due in part to a series of delaying tactics by opposition lawmakers.

Fewer than a third of Legislative Council business has been finished ahead of the summer recess, with only eight of 29 bills approved by the law making body.

The Legislative Council has seen its share of debates and delays but its current success rate of 24 percent lags far behind its 2011 performance when only 48 percent of bills by the government passed the legislature.

Seventeen bills will have to wait until October when Legco returns from summer recess, such as amendments to Hong Kong’s retirement plan, changes to competition, employment and sex discrimination laws, rules for licensing private-sector columbaria and a statutory paternity leave law.

Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury KC Chan added more than 50 funding requests have been held up by the delays, including allowances for low income groups and a new hospital.

Legislative Council meetings have been subjected to massive delays this year by opposition lawmakers engaged in filibuster, speaking at length and using procedural tricks  during debates to run out the business day’s clock.  Passage of the city’s budget dragged on for weeks due to one incident and at one point threatened funding of essential social services.

The tactic has been expanded to slow and block passage of other projects including plans to provide much needed public housing by redeveloping parts of the northeast New Territories.

Financial Secretary John Tsang called on lawmakers in his Sunday blog to quickly pass as many items as possible ahead of the break which, criticizing hour long delays last week with only two items of discussion passed after six hours of debate.

 

 
 
 
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