The DAB is currently deliberating the proposed Budget, but the League of Social Democrats and People Power are engaging in filibuster tactics, proposing nearly 800 amendments in a move that may prevent the Budget from being passed in the end of May. If this happens, civil servants may be denied their salaries and the work of the government will grind to a halt, affecting other public expenditure and causing incalculable harm to society.
The general public is voicing strong opinions against this. The DAB organised a territory-wide petition entitled “Oppose Filibustering – Protect Livelihoods” across the 18 districts. The campaign is being held in Shatin today, where DAB Legislative Councillors Ms. Starry Lee and Ms. Elizabeth Quat as well as District Councillor Mr. Pang Cheung-wai will be collecting signatures.
The Budget is not like other motions and bills. It relates to government expenditure such as the monthly Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, as well as electricity subsidies, public housing rent and Care Fund capital injections. If the Budget were disrupted by filibuster, it will not pass its three readings next month and these policies may not be implemented as scheduled. Not only are these tactics a waste of public money, they harm citizens as well.
The DAB is of the opinion that those guilty of filibuster should not impose a crisis on society for the sake of furthering their own political agendas. Filibustering wastes public money and harms citizens. It is irresponsible and should be condemned. We appeal to the public to stand against such behaviour and to express their anti-filibuster opinions through the petition.
Currently, most of the pan-democrats have publicly broken from those guilty of filibuster. The DAB hopes that the pan-democrats will support the proposed amendment for the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council.