Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he and his administration would work towards rebuilding relations between the Executive Council and legislators after pan-democrats vetoed the proposal for electing the chief executive in 2017 and said, “we need to move on.”
He said: “Now that the constitutional development has been blocked by a majority of LegCo members, we need to move on with economic and livelihood issues that are already in the pipeline.”
Leung announced in a press conference on Friday afternoon that the Innovation and Technology Bureau budget application in the finance committee of the Legislative Council will be put on the backburner and the government would allow the discussion of budgeting for 11 other livelihood items to come first.
The 11 budgeting issues include one-time relief policies announced in the appropriations bill, such as extra budgeting for the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme as well as pay raise for civil servants.
The announcement follows backlash from pan-democrat legislators as well as hesitation from pro-establishment legislators, that the Innovation and Technology Bureau is to be put above other livelihood funding in the agenda of the finance committee in the LegCo.
On Thursday, the government announced that on 26th June, the finance committee will have an extra 2-hour session and hence a 6-hour long session in total in order to discuss the budgeting of six public works items and the Innovation and Technology Bureau. Pan-democrat legislators called out the government that they are “taking hostage” of the livelihood budgeting issues.
During the press conference Leung introduced 11 items of the policies on social and economic livelihood that would be introduced next Friday during the meeting of the financial committee in the legislature. These proposals included:
- Introduction of one-time relief measures, including the additional distribution of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and the so-called “fruit money” for elderly. The extra payment would amount to a special 2-month payment.
- Allowing people living in public housing to have a one-month allowance on their housing rent.
- The construction of two elderly care centres in Kwun Tong and Tuen Mun.
- The government would submit the bill on establishment of Innovation and Technology Bureau to the panel on financial affairs of the legislature on Friday. He said the bill on the establishment of the bureau was passed in the LegCo chamber, but the bill concerning the use of money must pass through the panel, in order for the bureau to be formally established.
- Increasing the wages of district councillors.
- Starting work on the building the Kai Tak multi-purpose sports complex.
- Adjustments for payments of civil servants.
- Injecting money into funds for small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
- HK$1 billion to set up the recycling fund.
- Provide funds for construction industry to train qualified construction workers.
“We hope that with this new approach, we could rebuild a new, at least this is the wish on the part of the Government, we hope that we can forge a new relationship with LegCo members subject of course to their willingness and agreement,” says Leung.
The Information and Technology Bureau has been in contention since Leung became the chief executive. The Bureau is one of Leung’s election promises in 2012 but has never been delivered. The proposal for the Bureau has been filibustered by pan-democrat legislators back in February due to legislators considering the Bureau unnecessary. The current budget application is the third time the proposal has been submitted to the LegCo.
Leung’s comments come after pan-democratic legislators voted down the government’s political reform proposals for the election of the city’s chief executive. The plans would have allowed Hong Kongers to directly elect their chief executive but from a limited pool of candidates vetted by a pro-Beijing nominating committee.