Blocking funding of public works hurts HK

Updated: 2017-02-16 07:31

(HK Edition)

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Blocking funding of public works hurts HK

Multiple subcommittees and panels of the Legislative Council have been unable to do their jobs lately. This is because some opposition members used delaying tactics to prevent them from approving funding requests by the government for thousands of small public works as well as larger projects, such as in residential housing development. As a result many dangerous slopes may not receive proper maintenance before the rainy season arrives. Moreover, thousands (if not more) small contractors will lose a lot of business, and more than 100,000 construction workers could lose their incomes. The public will also suffer inconveniences indefinitely. This is all because a handful of lawmakers are abusing their power for no good reason.

As work resumed across the board last week after the long Chinese New Year holidays, the Hong Kong public was served an exceptionally rude reminder by some opposition members of the LegCo of how vindictive they can be. People were disgusted and outraged by recent news reports that some opposition lawmakers went all out with a range of delaying tactics to block approval of as many funding requests by the government as they could. Many residents felt particularly betrayed by a few newly elected legislators who owed their election victory to public support. They are now "returning the favor" by hurting the public interest so deliberately.

Although this is not the first time the opposition camp has resorted to such dirty tricks, the scale and determination this time around exceeded previous years. Because of the timing and a series of controversial events since the LegCo election last September, many people cannot but suspect this full-on political sabotage is the opposition's way of getting back at Hong Kong people for demanding or supporting the disqualification of some separatist lawmakers-elect through the judiciary. Given the fact that several more opposition lawmakers could be disqualified in a couple of months' time, some observers have predicted even more vengeful acts by the opposition and especially separatist groups to do as much damage as they can.

Admit it or not, the abusers and their supporters can never justify this kind of abuse of legislative power. This is because they don't have to. The current electoral system is protected by law. This means voters have only one way to protect their interests - hopefully - which is withholding their support for this kind of politicians in future elections. One may argue it is almost impossible to tell a candidate's intentions, but this is the irony of our current political situation. Voters must do it every four years because they have a lot more to lose by not voting at all.

(HK Edition 02/16/2017 page7)