The medical sector lawmaker has said that last week’s walkout was a “civilised” way to deal with the LegCo oath-taking row by forcing an adjournment of its meetings. The method was less harmful than other means such as twisting the legislature’s rules of procedure, or its president ordering a ban on retaking oaths.
Pierre Chan Pui-yin, a newly elected independent lawmaker, did not take part in the pro-Beijing camp’s walkout last week. The 40-member camp conducted the walkout to prevent Youngspiration’s Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung from taking their oaths again, as they deemed their changes to the declaration an insult to Chinese people.
The walkout came after LegCo president Andrew Leung allowed the two to retake their oaths following the government’s failure to obtain an interim injunction from the court. The rules of procedure state that oath taking must be the first item on the agenda of a LegCo meeting.
Chan himself claims to be an independent lawmaker not belonging to any camp. Although he was invited into a pro-Beijing camp instant messaging group, he is often considered part of the 30-member opposition as he supports ultimate genuine universal suffrage for Hong Kong and opposes Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying getting a second term.
But he was not vocal in the recent row and did not attend a press conference held by the opposition camp to condemn the walk-out.
Chan said on a Commercial Radio programme on Monday that the Basic Law and the rules of procedure clearly state the circumstances for disqualifying lawmakers’ statuses. A two-thirds majority in the council is required, which the pro-Beijing camp did not have.
“As there are not enough votes, the next step would be to stall the meeting using LegCo procedure – I think this is a very civilised method,” he said.
“Let’s say at this moment the ruling [of the president] was changed, or other articles were used to overrule the article on oath taking, [or] the article on disqualifying lawmakers – this would be very dangerous – this would destroy the system,” he added.
Chan said if the pro-Beijing camp was successful, the opposition camp can stall LegCo meetings using the same methods – by lodging a judicial review and demanding that LegCo bypass the item until the case is heard.
“It could take a long time,” he said.
Chan said that the Youngspiration duo “incited many opinions, or confrontations,” and that they were “very problematic.”
“The pro-Beijing camp needs to do work on this issue,” he said.
He added that even though the LegCo meeting was cut short last week, other work for lawmakers such as committee meetings and meetings with civil groups can still be conducted.
“I can accept buying time without breaking rules,” he said.