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A quiet week in LegCo as members have gone to Germany and several Government officials will leave for Beijing for the National People’s Congress meeting. Also, Council meeting has been suspended for two weeks.

March 2 Monday

 

LegCo members head to Germany

A delegation led by Emily Lau departed yesterday for a 6-day parliamentary visit to Berlin and Bremen in response to an invitation from the German Government.

 

In Berlin, the delegation will meet with the Vice-President and members of the German Bundestag (lower House of the Federal Parliament of Germany); members of the German-Chinese Parliamentary Friendship Group; members of the Committee for the Scrutiny of Elections, Immunity and the Rules of Procedure; representatives of the Federal Ministry of the Interior; and the State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office.

 

The delegation includes: Ms Emily Lau (Leader), Mr Tommy Cheung (Deputy Leader), Mr Lee Cheuk-yan, Mr Chan Hak-kan, Mr Paul Tse, Mr Kenneth Leung, Mr Dennis Kwok, Mr Ip Kin-yuen and Mr Tang Ka-piu.

 

Government officials off to Beijing

Chief Executive CY Leung will fly to Beijing tonight to attend the opening ceremony of the 3rd session of the 12th National People’s Congress on March 5th and will return on Friday.

 

Accompany him for the visit are Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung; the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Professor K C Chan; the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Mr Raymond Tam; the Under Secretary for Home Affairs Ms Florence Hui; the Director of the Chief Executive’s Office Mr Edward Yau; the Director of Information Services Mr Patrick Nip; the Private Secretary to the Chief Executive Mr Carlson Chan; the Senior Special Assistant to the Chief Executive Mr Chan Kin-ping; and the Assistant Director (Media) Mr Anson Lai.

 

Several political parties have disclosed their proposals to the NPC. DAB has proposed 19 suggestions, including changing the ‘multiple-entry permits’ into ‘several-entry permits’ and allowing Chinese citizens in Hong Kong and Macau to join PLA but reiterated that the latter suggestion was made by young people instead of the party’s original idea.

 

Liberal Party also suggested to review the ‘multiple-entry permits’ in their proposals to the NPC. In addition, they urged to regulate for the uncivilised behaviour of mainland tourists travelling abroad and to help young people in Hong Kong to explore their career options in China.

 

LegCo to review the stamp duties

At the meeting of Panel on Housing today, there will be a review of Special Stamp Duty (SSD) and Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD). Government data shows that since the SSD was implemented in November 2010, a total of 3,885 residential property transactions were involved with SSD and the tax revenue was recorded to be around $771 million.

 

For BSD, since its implementation in October 2012, a total of 6,077 residential property transactions were subject to it and the tax revenue was recorded to be around $10.5 billion.

 

 

March 3 Tuesday

 

New smart ID card

Following the discussion of the next generation Smart Identity Card System early this year, the issue is back to the Panel on Security again. The Immigration Department has submitted the First Privacy Impact Assessment Report to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data and was awaiting feedbacks. The Government presented members a list of OECD nations where it is mandatory for the citizens to carry ID documents. However, Kenneth Leung (FC- Accoutnacy) cited that UK has scrapped ID cards in 2011.

 

March 4 Wednesday

 

Meeting Austria MP

In the absence of few members in the Parliamentary Liaison Subcommittee who have gone to Germany, the rest will meet with Ms Christine Muttonen, Member of the Austrian Parliament. Ms Muttonen has been a MP since 1999 and serves as area spokesperson for the Austrian Social Democratic Parliamentary Group for Foreign and European Politics.

 

Council meeting suspended for 2 weeks

There will be no Council meeting this week and next as key Government figures will be in Beijing attending the National People’s Congress meeting. This has been the case in the past few years. Anyhow, members will have more time to prepare for the Appropriation Bill and the filibuster.

 

 

March 5 Thursday

 

CY to discuss ‘multiple-entry permits’ with his boss

Today is the opening ceremony of the 3rd session of the 12th National People’s Congress. Rumours suggested that CY Leung will discuss with Beijing about tightening the ‘multiple-entry permits’ and will probably change it to ‘several-entry permits’.

 

 

March 6 Friday

 

MTR not off the hook

At the meeting of Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways, members will discuss the independent expert review of the MTR following a series of insulator incidents happening last year. MTR has appointed Lloyd’s Register Rail to conduct an independent review while the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department has appointed KEMA Nederland to carry out another review.

 

Lloyd’s Register Rail considered the standard and design, installation and replacement mechanism of

insulators of MTR are appropriate. However, both reviews have called on MTR to conduct regular evaluations and to improve the quality control management. MTR has accepted all recommended improvement measures made by Lloyd’s Register Rail, KEMA Nederland and Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.