'Govt to push for sidelining of bills committee' - RTHK
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'Govt to push for sidelining of bills committee'

2019-05-16 HKT 18:58
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  • 'Govt to push for sidelining of bills committee'
The Legco confrontation over controversial extradition law amendments looks set to move to a new level amid reports that the government has decided to ask for its proposals to be taken straight to the full council as a way to end a standoff between lawmakers.

Reports say that the government will make a request to the House Committee – which will meet on Friday – to skip the bills committee and resume the second reading in the full council.

The chairwoman of the House Committee, Starry Lee, said on Thursday that so far, at least, she had not received any such request from the government.

But she said dissolving the bills committee could be a possible way out of the impasse and she had reserved two hours at Friday’s meeting to discuss the matter.

However, Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai slammed the idea of skipping the bills committee, describing such a step as a nuclear option that would turn Legco into a rubber stamp.

He said such a move by the government would be a "declaration of war" against Legco and the people of Hong Kong.

But a former Legco president, Tsang Yok-sing, not only backed the idea, but said it is now the only option to solve the Legco deadlock.

He said the move would be acceptable under the council's rules.

“There’s no best way. There’s only a least undesirable way,” Tsang said. “In this case, of course, the bill being a very controversial one, the usual practice is to form a bills committee. But the bills committee simply fails to work, so there’s no point in keeping it.”

The committee vetting the bill has so far failed to achieve anything due to a conflict between the pro-government and pro-democracy camps over which lawmaker has the right to lead the panel.

The pro-establishment camp and the Legco secretariat both said Abraham Shek is the legitimate presiding leader of the committee, but the pan-democrats said they have already elected the Democratic Party's James To as the committee's chairman.