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Monday, October 3, 2016, 01:34

Posts of committee, panel chairs still under discussion

By Joseph Li
Posts of committee, panel chairs still under discussion

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, New People’s Party chairperson and legislator, shares her thoughts on the contests for the posts of chairmen and vice-chairmen of various committees and panels in the 2016-20 legislative term. (Edmond Tang / China D aily)

HONG KONG - The pro-establishment camp has been discussing what candidates it will field for the posts of chairmen and vice-chairmen of various committees and panels of the Legislative Council in the 2016-20 term, veteran lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee revealed.

In order to ease tensions between the two rival camps, the pro-establishment side is open-minded in allowing opposition lawmakers to chair some of the panels and assume vice-chairman posts for the House Committee and Finance Committee, said Ip.

For most house panels, she said the two camps will rotate the chairmanship during the four-year term (for instance, a pro-establishment member for the first and third year, and a “pan-democrat” for the second and fourth year).

Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, chairman of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, is the forerunner from the pro-establishment camp to become the new LegCo president after Ip’s party colleague Michael Tien Puk-sun and independent Paul Tse Wai-chun said they will not compete with Leung in the interest of the overall situation.

In Ip’s view, Leung is a suitable candidate because, apart from his experience as House Committee chairman (2012-16) and knowledge of the Rules of Procedure, he has little pressure from his electorate with regard to dealing with filibusters as he’s from a functional constituency.

Starry Lee Wai-king, chairperson of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), is tipped to become House Committee chairman, while insurance constituency lawmaker Chan Kin-por may become Finance Committee chairman.

The pro-establishment camp has also proposed chairmanship for several key panels, with Martin Liao Cheung-kong (a barrister representing the business sector) likely to take charge of constitutional affairs.

Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, a barrister and academic, may chair the justice panel, DAB Vice-Chairman Gary Chan Hak-kan may head the security panel, and Paul Tse, a lawyer, will possibly take over the Committee on Rules of Procedure that formulates the meeting rules and procedures.

It’s understood there are divided views on opposition lawmakers Dennis Kwok Wing-hang becoming House Committee vice-chairman and Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong Finance Committee vice-chairman, with Kenneth Leung having had very deep woes with the pro-establishment camp.

After the opposition seized the Establishment Subcommittee in 2014-15 in a surprise raid, Kenneth Leung, who was then chairman, “tortured” pro-establishment lawmakers by extensively interrogating those who applied to join the subcommittee later.

The pro-establishment camp will meet again today (Monday) to further discuss the arrangements.

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