LegCo resumes this week. 126 deputations will attend a hearing on the 3rd Runway and there will be discussions on the new ID card. On Friday, pan-dems and pro-est members will lock horns at the PWSC and the Finance Committee.
No camping at LegCo
A closed meeting will be held in the afternoon today. Members in the Commission will discuss with the LegCo Secretariat whether to restrict the time protesters are allowed to stay in the LegCo protest area and whether protesters are allowed to carry tents with them in the future. A number of protesters are still camping outside the LegCo carpark despite the larger occupation movement having ended.
Public hearing of the Public Accounts Committee
Second hearing of the latest comptroller’s report on the “Provision of health services for the elderly” will be conducted today. The report criticises the fact that the capacity of Elderly Health Centres has failed to keep up with the growth of the elderly population. From 2004 to 2013, there were around 200,000 more old people but the 18 Elderly Health Centres have provided less than 40,000 health assessments a year to the elderly.
A total of 126 green groups, individuals and other concerned parties will attend a hearing at the Special Meeting of the Panel on Environmental Affairs to express their views on the proposed Third Runway. One of the deputations, Green Sense has previously warned the Government of the potential collision of flights when an aircraft flying to Hong Kong will need to enter the Shenzhen and Macau airspace for missed-approach procedures due to unfavorable landing conditions or a busy runway.
New ID card
At the Panel on Security, members and the Government will discuss the Next Generation Smart Identity Card System to replace the existing smart identity cards for all card holders from 2018 to 2022.
The Immigration Department has hired a consultant to conduct the third Information Systems Strategy Review in March 2010. The consultation recommended the Department to gradually replace its core computer systems which were developed and implemented between late 1990s and early 2000s, and will therefore be obsolete approaching the mid-2010s.
The Government claims the new ID card system will save taxpayers up to $3.1 billion of non-recurrent cost from 2017 to 2023.
There will not be any bills to be passed in this first Council meeting in 2015. Members will debate the two motions proposed by Jeffrey Lam (FC- Commercial 1st, BPA) and Frankie Yick (FC- Transport, Liberal Party) on formulating policies to help young people and conduct the Fourth Comprehensive Transport Study (CTS), respectively. The last CTS was completed 16 years ago and only briefly touched on environmental impact. A new study would likely have to encompass environmental impact including energy sources such as biodiesel and coal (if burned to power electric vehicles, a new study suggests electric cars may be dirtier than petrol).
War at the PWSC
Pan-dems will seek to block the proposal for the construction of the Kowloon East Regional Headquarters of the Police at $2.96 billion again at the Public Works Subcommittee.
During the last meeting on December 17th, Albert Ho (FC- DC 2nd, DP) claimed the documents provided by the Government were unclear and proposed to adjourn the discussion. Ho’s move, however, didn’t seem to be a concerted effort among pan-dems as some of them were absent while pro-establishment members were all present. The adjournment proposal was voted down by 14 to 16.
Proposals to be discussed later:
- $845.8m for road network in the West Kowloon Reclamation Development
- $304.5m for the first stage of design and advance works of the Integrated Basement for West Kowloon Cultural District
- To increase the approved budget of the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point project for $8.7 billion
Filibuster at the Finance Committee
Members will vote for the remaining 60 amendments filed by the pan-dems to block the construction proposal for the reclamation of about 16 hectares to form an artificial island near Shek Kwu Chau and to build an incinerator on it. The project will cost around $18.2 billion HKD (or whatever, given consistent cost overruns in government projects). 122 amendments were already voted down in previous meetings.