Chief expects co-location motion to pass

Local | Phoenix Un Nov 15, 2017
Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed confidence that the legislature will pass the non-binding motion endorsing the co-location arrangement of the West Kowloon Express Rail station.

The Legislative Council will resume the process of the motion after last week's debate on the motion of thanks for Lam's policy address, and the filibustering surrounding the co-location motion, which had been halted.

The pro-democracy camp, which found the arrangement unconstitutional, made use of the rules of procedure to extend the debate.

Speaking before the Executive Council meeting yesterday, Lam said Legco should be able to approve the motion in today's meeting.

"Since the debate on the government motion has been completed, and we should proceed to the officials making their response and then the voting, I am pretty confident that the government motion will be voted on and hopefully passed," Lam said.

By passing the motion, the government will then have a solid platform to commence the three-step process to implement the co-location, Lam said.

She also called on the pro-democracy legislators to curb their criticisms as it was found that the arrangement is supported by most citizens.

"I hope that they can support the motion and even if they don't, they should not hinder it from getting approved," Lam said.

However, Lam didn't respond when asked if today is her deadline for getting the motion approved.

What is certain is that Lam will begin the three-step process as she is not willing to wait for the non-binding motion to get approved. This is due to the strict schedule for the processes, namely the first step, which is to sign agreements with mainland authorities by December.

Once this is complete, the National People's Congress Standing Committee will approve the co-location in the same month. Legco should then finish the local legislation by July next year so that the co-location can be implemented in the third quarter when the Guangzhou- Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail opens for business.

Meanwhile, Lam said the government is in close contact with the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong over the Filipino domestic helper suspension.

The Filipino government suspended issuing overseas employment certificates for 19 working days starting from Monday, and about 75,000 applicants are believed to be affected. About 1,000 of those are bound for Hong Kong. The suspension was prompted by reports of illegal activities by recruitment agencies.

Lam hopes to resolve the problem soon as she knows the situation affects families in need of a domestic worker. "If they find difficulties looking after children and elderly because the domestic workers they hired haven't arrived, our authorities, especially the Social Welfare Department, will offer help," Lam said.

Lam also made it clear that the government will tackle illegal activities by agencies that transfer Filipino domestic workers abroad.

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December 2018