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Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 22:33

Opposition camp obstructs medical registration bill

By Joseph Li

HONG KONG - The chance of passing the Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill 2016 before the end of the legislative session is slim as medical constituency lawmaker Leung Ka-lau and opposition lawmakers on Wednesday continued to abuse the quorum bell to delay the debate.

At the close of the Legislative Council meeting at 8 pm Wednesday night, lawmakers were still debating Leung’s proposal, part of his tactics to waste time, to set up a select committee to examine the bill.

Throughout the day, the quorum bell was rung 20 times. This wasted three hours and 17 minutes of the meeting’s time. In fact, the opposition camp began filibustering from the start of the meeting at 11 am before resumption of the debate. The oral questions usually take two hours to finish. But they took nearly five hours and the debate of the medical registration bill only began at 4:30 pm.

During the debate, opposition lawmakers backed Leung’s proposal of a select committee. Yet their arguments were exaggerated, irrelevant and malicious as they exploited the opportunity to attack Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and the government, sources at the legislature said.

Countering the “pan-democrats”, lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing, from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said Leung Ka-lau’s motion was just a filibustering tool. He also questioned how a select committee could examine the medical registration bill when the legislative session will end in three days’ time.

Wong also slammed Leung Ka-lau, nicknamed “Weird Doctor”, for counting the quorum in an unusual manner, and that showed he had no solid arguments. If Leung did, he should debate with reason.

Industrial constituency lawmaker Lam Tai-fai criticized Leung Ka-lau for putting the interests of his profession before the public interest.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will appear in the last question and answer session of the legislative term on Thursday morning.

The LegCo meeting will resume at noon until 8 pm on Thursday and from 9 am to midnight of Friday.

After the term ends, the nomination period for the 2016 Legislative Council election will begin from July 16 until July 29.

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