A number of lawmakers said on Friday that they will filibuster a proposal to increase in the salaries of top government officials at the Legislative Council Finance Committee meeting.

There is currently no annual adjustment mechanism for politically appointed officials – such as the Chief Executive, as well as ministers, and their deputies and political assistants. The proposed changes, which are seeking approval from the finance committee, involve adjusting the remuneration for politically-appointed officials according to the cumulative change in the Consumer Price Index from 2012 to 2016, taking effect on July 1, 2017.

The remuneration will then be adjusted on an annual basis according to the change in the average annual Consumer Price Index from July 1, the following year.

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Lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung and Nathan Law. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

The index is an economic indicator that measures the changes over time in the price level of consumer goods and services generally purchased by households in the relatively high expenditure range.

“We don’t know who the ministers and bureau heads will be next term,” League of Social Democrats lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung said. “For example, if Education Secretary Eddie Ng Hak-kim stays for another term and becomes a top government official, won’t that be a disaster? Why are we paying for a disaster?”

‘Till the very end’

Leung added that they will uphold their responsibilities and not let voters down: “A lot of people asked us whether we will be ‘filibustering’ – I repeat again, we will not allow this to be passed, absolutely not. If some pro-establishment councillors think it should be passed quickly, that’s their style as a lawmaker and not ours, we will pursue the matter till the very end.”

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Nathan Law. File photo: Facebook/Nathan Law.

Demosisto lawmaker Nathan Law also criticised the poor quality of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s administration, questioning how they could allow for salary increases for the next term under the spirit of accountability.

Finance committee chair Chan Kin-por said that – on one hand – a balance needs to be struck with regards to a lawmaker’s right to speak. But, as chair of the committee, the court’s directions and judgment has made it clear that he has a responsibility to ensure that the meeting goes on efficiently and in an orderly manner.

When asked whether he would put an end to the filibuster, Chan said it depended on how the legislative councillors act.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.