Wednesday, November 25, 2015   

Public holiday bill faces rough road after Legco debate

Carmen Cheung

Wednesday, May 07, 1997

"The government is misusing the legislature's time as the PLC will

endorse a similar bill."

PASSAGE of the government's Public Holiday Bill will face obstacles in

the Legislative Council after councillors who belong to the

Provisional Legislative Council strongly objected.

Legislator and PLC member Ip Kwok-him told yesterday's first bills

committee meeting it was not Legco's business to help the SAR

government endorse a bill related to post-handover affairs.

The government's bill is to declare 1 and 2 July as public holidays.

It was gazetted on 18 April, one week after a more comprehensive bill


was presented to the interim body by the Chief Executive's Office.

Mr Ip said the government's submission of the bill was a political

move although he agreed these two days should be public holidays.

The two days are the Establishment Day of the SAR and the day after

Establishment Day.

"The government is misusing the legislature's time as the PLC will

endorse a similar bill in Shenzhen this Saturday," said bill

committee chairman and PLC member Philip Wong Yu-hong.

However, unionist legislator Lee Cheuk-yan urged quick passage of the

government bill.

He said any laws passed by the interim body could be challenged in the

courts after the handover.

Democratic Party legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo added the passage of

the government bill would help the judiciary, business and financial

sectors to know the situation clearly.

He asked whether Britain and China had discussed this matter.

Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower Anthony

Michael Reynalds promised to give Mr Cheng a written reply.

Mr Ip complained to the government that the bill was presented to

Legco in a rush.

Mr Reynalds admitted the administration told the Legal Department to

draft the bill within late March to early April.

Mr Wong insisted that the second bills committee meeting be held late

this month. It is expected Legco will not be able to resume the second

reading and undertake the third reading until next month.

A source in the interim body said PLC members in Legco were trying to

prolong the discussion in the Legco to pave the way for the interim

body to endorse its similar bill this Saturday in Shenzhen.

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