The pro-democracy camp has raised 17 fresh motions to stall the Legislative Council meeting on December 6 in an effort to prevent the proposed changes to the LegCo rules from being passed.
The pro-Beijing camp and democrats have been in weeks-long tit-for-tat battle proposing changes to the legislature’s rules to their benefit. Since six democratically-elected lawmakers were disqualified by a court, the pro-democracy camp no longer has enough votes to block any proposals if they reach the voting stage. The changes may prevent democrats from forming select committees and using filibustering tactics.
They raised a dozen motions in accordance with Article 73(5) and (10) of the Basic Law, which allow lawmakers to raise questions on the work of the government and to summon officials to testify or give evidence.
They also raised censure motions against five pro-Beijing lawmakers, including LegCo President Andrew Leung, Starry Lee, Chan Kin-por, Junius Ho and Wilson Or, in accordance with the Article 79 of the Basic Law. Each lawmaker can speak for 15 minutes on the topic.
Andrew Leung approved the 17 motions.
Pro-democracy camp convener Charles Mok urged Leung to follow the usual practice and insert their motions into the agenda before the pro-Beijing camp’s motions: “We have to use all means to block the pro-Beijing camp’s amendments to reduce lawmakers’ powers.”
However, pro-Beijing lawmaker Gary Chan also wrote to Leung urging him to consider the pro-Beijing camp’s motion to change the legislature’s rules first.
The LegCo Secretariat said the agenda will be arranged in accordance with the rule 18 of the Rules of Procedures, but any motions with legal effect and urgency will have higher priority. The secretariat has not showed any stance, but a preliminary agenda should be set early next week as per usual practice.
Previously, the democrats have used government bills as a battlefield to stall meetings, but the government has temporarily stopped submitting bills to the LegCo in response.
A Legislative Council meeting on Thursday was prematurely adjourned owing to a lack of quorum, as democrats continued their stalling tactics.
In response, Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Michael Luk said that the democrats’ new move was a further attempt to obstruct proceedings: “These are just crazy.”
He said the new situation proved that the rules must be changed to allow the LegCo to return to its normal efficiency.
The 12 motions raised by the democrats to summon officials include:
- Summoning the chief secretary and permanent secretary for home affairs to testify about the Hong Kong Palace Museum;
- Summoning the financial secretary to testify about not relieving first registration tax for electric cars;
- Summoning the permanent secretary of the chief executive’s office to testify about ex-chief executive Leung Chun-ying’s duty visit to Beijing;
- Summoning the transport secretary to testify about the checkpoint arrangement of the Express Rail Link;
- Summoning the transport secretary and the director-general of civil aviation to testify about the airport third runway;
- Summoning the transport secretary to testify about the Lamma Island ferry collision tragedy and disclose the investigation report;
- Summoning the transport secretary to testify about the MTR arson incident;
- Summoning the police commissioner to testify about the police action during the Umbrella Movement;
- Summoning the police commissioner to testify about purchasing water cannons;
- Summoning the development secretary to testify about the collapse of former central police station;
- Summoning the commerce secretary to testify about the Hong Kong Disneyland agreement;
- Summoning the commissioner and assistant commissioner of correctional services to testify about alleged torture of inmates.
The five motions to censure include:
- Censuring LegCo President Andrew Leung for insulting the legislature by saying “comments made by lawmakers and officials at the LegCo do not have to be the truth,” and for blocking lawmakers from exercising their duties by combining debates for changing the Rules of Procedures;
- Censuring House Committee chair Starry Lee for misconduct and violation to her oath of office, for chairing committee meetings in a biased way. She is also accused of supporting the rule changes and not allowing adequate discussion time for lawmakers;
- Censuring Junius Ho for misconduct and violation to his oath of office, for falsely claiming to be a practising lawyer in England and Wales;
- Censuring Finance Committee chair Chan Kin-por for misconduct and violation to his oath of office, for serious conflict of interest and breach of duty, in supporting the pro-Beijing camp’s proposed rule changes and in supporting rules changes at the Finance Committee;
- Censuring Wilson Or for misconduct and violation to his oath of office, for making false claims over his academic qualifications.