People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip has declared a “full-scale war” against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying over Leung’s decision to add an extra five days of meeting schedule in order to pass the budgeting for the Innovation and Technology Bureau (ITB).
On Tuesday, CY Leung announced that the government will apply for five extra days of meeting for the LegCo Finance Committee on 14th to 18th this week. CY said that there is “consensus among society” that the progress of the committee was “slower than normal” due to filibustering, even after putting livelihood issues ahead of the ITB. Hence the need for extra meeting time.
Chairperson of the Finance Committee, Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, said he will leave it up to committee members to decide whether to support the decision.
League of Social Democrats legislator Leung Kwok-hung said that legislators need to have “dignity” and should not agree to extra meetings whenever the chief executive demands. Leung said that the ITB is a “unauthorised political construction” and must be stopped.
Labour Party Lee Cheuk-yan also called the move a “violent addition” and expressed his disappointment in Leung failing to moderate his combative attitude. Lee said there was enough time to pass the remaining livelihood items on the agenda and the budgeting for the ITB could have waited until October following the summer break for LegCo.
Following the mass walk-out by pro-establishment legislators in the political reform voting in June, CY announced that the government will move the agenda item of the ITB to after 11 livelihood related items. In the past two sessions of finance committee meetings, totalling around 12 hours, legislators have passed six public works items and six out of the eleven livelihood related items.
The Information and Technology Bureau has been a contentious issue since Leung became the chief executive. The bureau was one of Leung’s election promises in 2012. The budgeting for the bureau was filibustered by pan-democrat legislators back in February 2015 due to legislators considering the bureau unnecessary. The current budget application is the third time the proposal has been submitted to the LegCo.
In May 2012, then People Power legislator Raymond Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan Wai-yip initiated filibustering against three government proposals: The government restructuring plan which expands the bureaucracy, amendment to the legislative council elections to bar recently resigned individuals from running for re-election, and the copyright amendment bill dubbed the ‘Internet Article 23’. In the end, the government failed to pass the restructuring plan and the copyright amendment bill.
All legislative councillors apart from the president of the legislative council are members of the finance committee.