There are legislators who suggested over 1000 amendments for this year’s Budget. Most of the content is to prolong the meeting, which is no different from paralysing the Legislative Council. These are made for stopping the government to receive funds in time, and causing trouble for them. These legislators euphemistically claim that they are fighting for rights on behalf of citizens, but in fact, they only want to increase their exposure and thus their political capital. I hope our citizens will not be fooled by them.
There are legislators who state the purpose of this filibuster is to strive for universal retirement protection or $10,000 for everyone; therefore they do everything in their power to stop the bill from getting passed. They think they can stand on the high moral grounds, but they should not treat citizens as fools. No matter how noble and mighty their goal is, the means they have used to strive for it are wrong, making it impossible for the government to accept it. In fact, filibustering is like taking hostage. They are threatening the government: If they don’t give in, civil servants don’t get their pay cheques; and the disadvantaged don’t get their Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments. Other legislators are like hostages too. They are forced to sit in a meeting where the filibustering legislators are blatantly enjoying the limelight. If you don’t attend the meeting, it will be aborted. The filibuster meeting gets extended again. In the end, wanting to be a responsible legislator, everyone is forced to stay in the meeting. The filibustering legislators are actually using the meeting mechanism to hold the society or even the whole political community hostage.
Frankly speaking, there is no way the government would surrender to these radical means. If one succeeded, more people would use these radical means later on to undermine social order, to force the government in doing things or to seek government resources. Hong Kong will never see a peaceful day.
As I said before, no matter how noble the cause they are striving for is, they should use the correct means and not inappropriate methods. If the filibustering legislators have an insightful view on the retirement protection scheme, they can promote it to LegCo and the society to gain citizens’ support. If their plan is so perfect, there is no way the government and other political parties can ignore it. Too bad their suggestions are full of problems. This includes having the society carry a burden that gets heavier and heavier in the long run. Therefore, a responsible government must look into it in detail, while the filibustering legislators use taking hostage as a tactic.
In my opinion, the perfect retirement protection scheme for Hong Kong should be a multi-level pillar system, including a government-subsidised retirement plan. But these resources must be used on the most needy people. Therefore a means-tested scheme is necessary to provide assistance to citizens who need help the most with limited resources. With a universal retirement plan, everyone gets some money. But there are so many people, and each person gets just a small amount. The people in need would not have enough to live.
Back to the filibuster issue: the filibustering legislators spread sophistry, claiming that Pro-Establishment Camp’s legislators are responsible for the insufficient number of attendees in LegCo meetings. Indeed every legislator gets paid and therefore has the responsibility to attend meetings. Whether they are Pro-Establishment or Pan-Democracy, they should be held responsible for not attending a meeting and causing its abortion. The most irresponsible legislators are the ones who call for quorum but leave the meeting themselves. It is like a robber acting like a cop. In the last aborted meeting, legislator Wong Kwok-hing came back into the chamber in time, but ‘Longhair’ Leung Kwok-hung went back out. He dared to push the responsibility onto Wong, saying that Wong went for a coffee.
Another sophistry is to say a government official is not doing a good job, so their salary needs to be deducted. It makes it sound like the government has no contract with their employees and can deduct salaries as they please. Following this so-called logic, many legislators would have their salaries deducted to zero. If they claim themselves to be so noble, they should demonstrate it first and deduct their own salaries.
The third sophistry is making it sound like the government is full of problems. Everything is the government’s fault. For example, they claim that the government did not reveal the number of euthanised stray dogs on their own, but only disclosed it because they asked thousands of questions. But the government has repeatedly revealed the figures over the recent years. Newspapers have widely reported them; and they were stated in LegCo documents and questions. Even the LegCo has debated over related issues. How is it possible that these numbers have not been disclosed? I worry about a certain legislator saying too much, and he actually believes everything is true and becomes schizophrenic. He continues to be obsessed and strays from reality. Randomly scolding government officials and civil servants is extremely unfair to them and is very irresponsible behaviour.
The saddest thing is that many legislators are boiling frogs over the years. They have become oblivious to such unjust behaviour. Legislators are people too; it is human nature to bully the good people and fear the fierce ones. I understand that. In fact, whoever dares to scold them, they become lunatics and randomly call for quorum to vent their rage. All they know is how to be loud and ferocious. It is actually rather frightening. If we do not speak up when facing intimidating people, we might be able to save ourselves from troubles. But it would only foment this unhealthy trend in LegCo and subsequently have a negative impact on society.
Lastly, I must talk about axing the filibuster. The most appropriate way is to amend the rules of procedure. Some Pan-Democrat legislators believe that filibustering is a nuclear bomb; and they save it for major issues like Article 23. Too bad some people conducted filibuster a few times a year. They have already turned a nuclear bomb into a stink bomb. It is odious. I hope Pan-Democrat legislators can understand that filibustering has seriously affected the operations of the Finance Committee, the Public Works Subcommittee and other committees and panels. The current rules of procedure were established many years ago. They are “anti-gentleman, not anti-villain”. Now these rules have lost their effect; and LegCo has become a playground for a small number of people. Citizens cannot stand seeing this. Therefore, if the Pan-Democrats do nothing about it and await doom, thinking they will eventually stop, they are too native and silly. They will surely disappoint citizens and lose votes.
In my opinion, LegCo must review its rules of procedure and propose an appropriate mechanism for axing filibusters. However, this mechanism will cause immense controversy and will need time for discussion. However, some amendments can be done as soon as possible, such as amending methods of calling quorum and clarifying the number of temporary motions. Even if filibustering occurs in a meeting, there will be less chance of abusing the mechanism by filibusterers.
(Because Leung Kwok-hung criticised me, I have made a simple remark afterwards, as follows:)
I will not fall into Longhair’s trap and help him filibuster. I am prepared for them to act ferociously towards me after I point out the wicked conduct of the filibustering legislators. I hope they understand what I said was heartfelt words. I have spent five to six hours writing this. As I mentioned before, they become lunatical towards people who scold them, and randomly call for quorum to vent. Longhair has just performed it for me. But for the sake of not wasting everybody’s time, I am only making a short statement. I am not as cunning as Longhair; not as fierce as him; not as brutal as him. To me, whatever he says is not important, because most of it is rubbish. I believe that citizens have their own judgment. Moreover, I will tell him, “Go away!”