Govt move evokes varied reactions from lawmakers - RTHK
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Govt move evokes varied reactions from lawmakers

2019-05-20 HKT 18:14
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  • Felix Chung says his party is meeting the Security Secretary John Lee to discuss the bill. Photo: RTHK
    Felix Chung says his party is meeting the Security Secretary John Lee to discuss the bill. Photo: RTHK
  • Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting says the opposition will continue to fight the bill in Legco. Photo: RTHK
    Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting says the opposition will continue to fight the bill in Legco. Photo: RTHK
Lawmakers reacted predictably to the government's move on Monday to take its extradition bill straight to the full Legislative Council, with the opposition slamming the step and the pro-government side justifying it.

But one pro-government ally – the leader of the pro-business Liberal Party Felix Chung – said he was disappointed by the move to sideline the lawmakers' panel tasked with vetting the proposal.

Chung said this denies the legislators the opportunity to discuss the proposals in detail at the bills committee. It also sets a bad precedent and gives the public a poor impression of the legislative process, he said.

But the lawmaker said the rival camps' squabbling over bills committee procedures can now calm down for a few weeks and legislators will be able to handle the various issues in the government proposal when it is introduced on June 12.

Chung said he hoped lawmakers could still hold a detailed discussion on the bill when it is tabled to Legco's full council, and his party will try to convince officials to make further changes.

He said the Liberal party hasn't decided how to vote on the bill and plans to meet Security Secretary John Lee to discuss the legislation on Tuesday afternoon.

The convenor of the pro-democracy camp, Claudia Mo, said the government's move to bulldoze the bill through was an attempt to sideline the entire council.

The opposition will write to the House Committee to voice their opposition to the move, she said.

"There is something wrong. Why is the government in such a hurry to push through this controversy," she said.

"Carrie Lam must come out and explain to the Hong Kong public what exactly they are trying to achieve. Is there any evil, ulterior political motive behind this whole saga?" Mo asked.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said the opposition would continue to fight the bill. "This is an uphill battle. But we will never surrender," he said.

But New People's Party chairwoman Regina Ip said the pan-dems have to reflect on whether they have brought this situation upon themselves.

"We have not been able to hold any reasonable discussion. Our community could see for themselves who initiated the chaos and who took violent action," she said.

Ip said that lawmakers could still move committee stage amendments on specific clauses of the bill when it is put to the full council.

She also said that the extradition bill is simpler than the joint checkpoint bill for the high-speed rail link, so the debate time might be shorter. Ip had presided over the vetting committee of that bill.