A proposal by lawmaker Sulu Sou calling the government to the Legislative Assembly (AL) to debate the negative influence of over-tourism on the population was voted down yesterday by the majority of lawmakers.
The topic, the last in discussion during yesterday’s extended session, received little debate with lawmaker Chan Chak Mo addressing the plenary to say that “we cannot choose the tourists that visit us.” Chan argued that is not possible to set a minimum spend for visitors or cherry-pick the ones that are most profitable for the SAR. “We need to just get used to them.”
Holding the opposite perspective was lawmaker Au Kam San, who said he agreed that the topic should be debated.
“We should reduce the number of tourists, reducing also the pressure on society. I think it’s a good topic and we should debate it. Of course I’m supporting it,” Au said.
After the voting shot down the topic for debate, several lawmakers decided to explain their vote in vote declarations.
Ho Ion Sang, Ma Chi Seng and Wong Kit Cheng justified their vote of reprobation noting that the topic can, should and is already being addressed by several lawmakers through spoken and written enquiries. They said that some of the enquiries have been already delivered to the government and that soon the responsible officials would have to come to the AL to report on the administration’s opinions and ideas.
These lawmakers argued that to have another debate on the topic would be of no relevant interest and, as Ho noted, a “waste of resources.”
In the meantime, lawmaker Agnes Lam, similar to what has occurred during the voting of several other bills and proposals, used her time of the vote declaration to criticize the way the topic had been proposed. She said that lawmakers should address topics of public interest and those related to government policies and measures, adding that, contrarily, “this is more like an expression of a personal opinion on a topic by a lawmaker.”
Despite her stance on the debate proposal, Lam voted in favor.