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The dice is cast

The request made by lawmaker Leong Veng Chai to debate increased transportation fees in the AL was rejected by majority vote

In the Legislative Assembly (AL) yesterday 14 lawmakers voted down a plenary debate on whether the recent adjustment of the city’s transportation fees is reasonable, in particular fees related to the administration and towing of vehicles.
On the first day of this year, the MSAR Government implemented the new transport fees adjustment at extremely short notice.
The increased fees cover parking, vehicle inspection and ‘illegal parking’ fines.
Over 1,000 residents marched in the streets demanding the rescinding of the new regulations.
The request for the debate was made by lawmaker Leong Veng Chai and supported by 10 other legislators.
Legislator Ma Chi Seng, by contrast, remarked that the new scheme is well-intentioned, saying that it would be reasonable to review the scheme after it has been operational for some time.
Legislator Vong Hin Fai also disagreed with the request for a debate, saying the procedure of requesting the debate was superfluous since legislator Leong had already received a detailed reply from the government after he had submitted an interpellation on the matter earlier this year.
“The number of vehicles being towed in the first month of this year and the same month in 2016 has decreased by 21 per cent for cars and 78 per cent for motor vehicles,” said Vong, adding that the new adjustment reflected a good impact on local residents.
Meanwhile, pan-democratic lawmaker Au Kam San, who voted in favour of a debate, pointed out that many people parked their vehicles illegally because of the very limited parking space in the city, and he perceived that a debate on this matter would produce positive opinions for society as well as the government to take reference.
Many other lawmakers, such as Ella Lei Cheng I, Kwan Tsui Hang, Song Pek Kei, Ho Ion Sang and Leong On Kei, expressed their hope that the government would listen to society’s needs prior to deciding upon any important plans.
For legislator Ng Kuok Cheong, the current issue is the government’s incapability of launching the Light Rail Transit (LRT) on time in 2014 and, more importantly, the large number of vehicles on the road.
“In order to soothe the matter [over its LRT delay and other general transport issues] the government [should] roll out schemes to get the matters over with,” said legislator Ng.
Yesterday’s plenary session also approved the AL’s financial report for 2016 as well as the financial budget for 2017.
In 2016, the AL spent MOP159.1 million (US$19.9 million) and received an income of MOP160 million, making a surplus of MOP737,960.