The Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has called for the filibuster against the controversial Medical Council reform bill to be halted.
The final Legislative Council meeting of the current term will take place between Wednesday and Friday. Medical sector lawmaker Leung Ka-lau has been constantly calling for headcounts in the chamber – which can last for 15 minutes each – in order to stall the bill’s progress.
Leung warned that time is running short, ahead of a meeting with the Executive Council on Tuesday. The Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill has gone through its second reading, but the remaining process has to be completed with only around 30 hours of meeting time left.
“If matters proposed by the government to the LegCo or the Finance Committee cannot be passed in the next few days, the whole legislative process would have to be restarted after the new LegCo is formed [in October],” Leung said.
Leung said that the other two remaining bills scheduled after the Medical Council reform bill, regarding the oversight of private columbaria and fire safety, were also important.
It would be “very unfortunate” if the two other bills could not be passed, Leung said.
Some members of the public were concerned that the Medical Council reform bill’s addition of four non-doctor members to the council may allow the government to take control more easily, and that requirements for foreign doctors to work in Hong Kong may be lowered, sparking fears of underqualified mainland doctors practising in the city.
The bill will be read by the Committee of the Whole Council of the LegCo on Wednesday, where lawmakers can speak as many times as they wish on the bill.
Alfred Wong Yam-hong, a member of the pro-democracy doctors group Médecins Inspirés, said that the group has given a set of information to all lawmakers to allow them to speak more effectively in the chamber.
Wong denied it was part of an effort to start a filibuster. He said the bill would affect the health of Hong Kong people and the legislation process was “too rushed.”
People Power lawmaker Ray Chan Chi-chuen told Apple Daily that at least ten lawmakers will “speak proactively” to force the government to accept compromises. Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching said she will also do the same.
Mo’s party colleague lawmaker Dr. Kwok Ka-ki has proposed amendments as an alternative plan to reform the Medical Council to reduce number of Council members appointed by the government, but the government refused to support them.
The party’s lawmaker Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said he will speak proactively if the government failed to switch its stance and support Kwok’s amendments.