Lawmaker Ray Chan Chi-chuen has said he will resume filibustering to delay the passing of the Innovation and Technology Bureau funding proposal in the new term of Legislative Council, should the government fail to improve it.

“We cannot stop it, it’s only a matter of time,” the People Power lawmaker told Ming Pao. He said that other pan-democrat lawmakers would not join the filibuster in the Finance Committee owing to concerns over the upcoming district council elections. Only three of them have put forward amendments.

Ray Chan Chi-chuen
Ray Chan Chi-chuen. File

Chan said he will only submit some 100 amendments, therefore limiting the duration of the filibuster.

In the last term of LegCo, lawmakers ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung and Albert Chan Wai-yip also waged filibuster against the IT Bureau proposal.

IT sector lawmaker Charles Mok also told Ming Pao that the IT Bureau proposal would eventually be passed. But he said the problem behind it was “not a technical issue but about the law and regulations”.

Mok used the recent arrest of Uber drivers as an example, as he said it showed that transportation laws had not advanced with new technologies.

Charles Mok
Charles Mok. File Photo:

Mok said that some lawmakers raised questions, on topics such as land supply for tech companies, that the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) — which was responsible for the proposal — could not answer.

He suggested that the government should invite the Secretary for Development to LegCo to answer lawmakers’ questions. Doing so would convince them not to wage filibuster or reject the proposal.

DAB lawmaker Elizabeth Quat told the newspaper that IT advisor to the Chief Executive Nicholas Yang had arranged a meeting with lawmakers who objected the IT Bureau. She said that they were not targeting Yang, but were purely against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

She added such move was not meaningful.

The new term of LegCo starts 14 October.

Leung Chun-ying commercial radio
Leung Chun-ying. File Photo: GovHK

The IT Bureau proposal was first suggested by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying when he came to office in 2012.

The plan involved merging the Innovation and Technology Commission and Office of the Government Chief Information Officer into one new bureau.

In March, Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung was appointed as Advisor to the Chief Executive on Innovation and Technology, and Non-official Member of the Executive Council, after the IT Bureau proposal failed to pass in the Finance Committee in LegCo in February.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.