Lawmakers drag out proceedings over agenda switch - RTHK
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Lawmakers drag out proceedings over agenda switch

2017-10-18 HKT 18:31
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  • Pan-dems say the government has been disrespectful by suddenly pulling the stamp duty bill they were meant to be discussing. Photo: RTHK
    Pan-dems say the government has been disrespectful by suddenly pulling the stamp duty bill they were meant to be discussing. Photo: RTHK
Damon Pang reports
Members of the pro-democracy camp made repeated quorum calls in Legco on Wednesday to show their displeasure over the government reshuffling the agenda at the last minute.

Vetting of a stamp duty bill has been pushed back, to make sure lawmakers are free next week to discuss a non-binding motion on plans for the future West Kowloon railway station.

Pro-democracy councillors took turns to ask for a quorum in the Legco chamber, in a joint effort to delay proceedings.

They said the government had been disrespectful by suddenly pulling the stamp duty bill they were meant to be discussing, so priority can be given to the motion on plans to let the mainland run part of the West Kowloon terminus.

The convenor of the pro-democracy camp, Charles Mok, admitted they didn't know whether their delay tactic would lead to next week's motion being postponed as they hoped. But he said they had to find a united response to the government's move.

People Power's Ray Chan also accused the government of hypocrisy now it seems to be in such a rush over the rail station plan. He said the public have been asking for details for years, yet the government only announced its proposals about a year before the line is meant to open.

"It's only in July this year you put forward a proposal, you just give us three months and there's no public consultation. And then you say you have to rush and you want us to pass the motion on the 25th of October," Chan complained.

DAB chairwoman Starry Lee criticised the pro-democracy camp for wasting Legco's time with all the quorum calls. Her party colleague Wong Ting-kwong, who chaired the stamp duty bills committee, said he was not concerned that the matter was being shelved for now.

"Actually, it won't affect anything because the measures have [already] been in place," Wong said.

Housing and Transport Secretary Frank Chan said the government would aim to table the stamp duty bill to Legco as soon as councillors have voted on the express rail motion.