Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that the government is reviewing the priorities of bills being discussed at the Legislative Council according to public interest.
Speaking ahead of a regular Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Leung said that the debate on the annual budget will often take around half of the 13 weeks left of the current term of the legislature. Thus, there would be only seven weeks remaining after the budget debate to consider 13 bills and some 50 projects by the Finance Committee and the Public Works Subcommittee.
“Those include many livelihood and societal items, including the Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill, which must be passed before the government can reduce and rebate taxes,” Leung said.
Other items include an amendment bill to mandate each Mandatory Provident Fund trustee to provide a highly standardised and fee-controlled Default Investment Strategy, the bill to upgrade Hong Kong Institute of Education to a university, and hospital expansion and rebuilding proposals.
“The government is now reviewing the order of urgency of these items and will discuss them with LegCo to seek a consensus, in the interest of public’s well being,” Leung said. “To move up important livelihood related items, we hope LegCo can consider and pass these urgent items as soon as possible.”
Earlier this month, the government moved the controversial copyright bill – dubbed “Internet Article 23” by campaigners – to the end of the agenda, ending a filibuster that lingered on for months, in order to allow the budget debate to be carried out.
Another long-running filibuster being waged at the Finance Committee against additional funding of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link also ended last week after a sudden vote.