Budget bill passes

Local | Stella Wong 17 May 2019

The Legislative Council approved the 2019 Appropriation Bill, after all 56 amendments by the pan-democrats failed to pass, including cutting the salary of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

Legco passed this year's budget bill put forward by Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po on its third reading yesterday. Forty-four lawmakers voted - the most votes garnered for the annual appropriation measure during Chan's tenure.

Of the 44 "yes" votes, four were from pan-democrats: Health Services lawmaker Joseph Lee Kok-long, Education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, Accountancy's Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong, and Information Technology lawmaker Charles Mok.

Fifteen lawmakers voted against the bill. There were no abstentions, and nine lawmakers were absent.

Fifty-three amendments were rejected and three not processed.

Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai, in proposing the amendment to reduce Lam's salary, criticized her for pushing the fugitive law amendment, and said it showed Lam had lost her conscience.

Wu said although lowering Lam's pay wouldn't alleviate the discontent in society with her governance, he hoped to discuss Lam's governance issues by challenging her direct interests.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting supported Wu's amendment, saying although he knew it was impossible to pass, they at least needed to show their dissatisfaction.

An amendment to cut Secretary of Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah's salary was also rejected.

Civic Party's Kwok Ka-ki opposed the cash handout in the budget, saying: "The HK$4,000 cash handout has created big trouble. I don't understand why the government will handle it like that."

stella.stwong@singtaonewscorp.com

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