LegCo continues at going at full steam, holding 15 meetings in two days. CY Leung will attend a Q&A session with members on Thursday and the Finance Committee will start examining the Estimates of Expenditure on Friday.
March 16 Monday
Disputes continue on the Third Runway
LegCo’s Panel on Economic Development today will discuss the Third Runway. Announced last week, ExCo has given the greenlight to the project despite some members, including New People’s Party lawmaker Michael Tien, criticised the project has circumvented the LegCo. Read Michael Wong’s report.
Low emission zones to be implemented this year
Chief Executive CY Leung announced in his Policy Address this year that “We will set up low emission zones in Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok at the end of this year where franchised bus companies can only deploy low-emission buses.” The idea was first raised by Donald Tsang in his Policy Address in 2010. Panel on Environmental Affairs will discuss the issue today. Currently, franchised buses account for up to 40% of the traffic in the three districts, contributing 80% and 40% of vehicular nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions respectively.
Privileges and immunities for consuls
LegCo today holds a luncheon with Consuls-General and members of the Association of Honorary Consuls in Hong Kong & Macau SAR. The Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services will also meet to discuss the subsidiary legislation relating to privileges and immunities conferred on consular posts.
Diplomatic agreements between the Central Government and foreign nations are applicable to Hong Kong under Article 18 of the Basic Law. In 2000, Hong Kong has legislated for the Consular Relations Ordinance and there are three remaining countries, which have signed bilateral agreements with China, that are yet included in the Ordinance. They are Japan, Cambodia and the Philippines.
Japan signed an agreement with China in 2010 and the subsidiary legislation proposed by the Government will include Japan to the Ordinance. The Government is preparing documents to include Cambodia and the Philippines (the two have signed agreements with China in 2011 and 2013 respectively) to the Ordiance and will table the subsidiary legislation to LegCo when the documents are ready.
March 17 Tuesday
ITB to be discussed in LegCo, again
Subcommittee on Proposed Resolution Relating to the Establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau will hold its first meeting of this LegCo session on Tuesday. Staffing proposals of ITB have failed to pass the Finance Committee in February.
Future desalination plant in Tseung Kwan O
Panel on Development will discuss a funding proposal of $154.6 million for the investigation study review, design and site investigation of the proposed desalination plant in Tseung Kwan O. Upon approval, the proposal will be sent to the Public Works Subcommittee and subsequently, the Finance Committee. The Government explains the desalination plant is necessary due to the increasing competition of water source from neighbouring cities.
Moreover, “the total quantity of water abstracted from Dongjiang for water supply is increasing every year and has nearly reached the amount that can be extracted from the river for consumption under a drought with return period of 1 in 20 years. In a more severe drought with return period of 1 in 100 years, the water resources available in Dongjiang as well as the yield collected from the local water gathering ground will be affected and may not be able to meet the water demand of Hong Kong after 2020,” the Government’s papers wrote. Read HT’s report on the water problem in Hong Kong.
March 18 Wednesday
Late application to PWSC
The Public Works Subcommittee will hold the 5th meeting to discuss the late membership application of a dozen pro-establishment members. So far, only Paul Tse’s (GC- Kowloon East) and Christopher Cheung’s (FC- Financial Services, BPA) application were approved.
The list of members who are still waiting to join PWSC includes: Ng Leung-sing, Yiu Si-wing, Andrew Leung (BPA), Jeffrey Lam (BPA), Wong Ting-kwong (DAB), Starry Lee (DAB), Steven Ho (DAB), Wong Kwok-kin (FTU), Tang Ka-piu (FTU) and Kwok Wai-keung (FTU).
Bills resume 2nd/3rd reading:
District Cooling Services Bill
To legislate the charges to private non-domestic projects on the use of the district cooling services at the Kai Tak Development.
Liberal Party leader Vincent Fang will move a motion to urge the Government to “increase tourism, transport and retail facilities for diverting Mainland tourists from local people, so as to safeguard their safety when shopping in Hong Kong, and deal with those persons who have caused disorder in public places and harassed tourists and local people in accordance with the law.”
BPA lawmaker Priscilla Leung will move a motion to urge the Government to review the subject of Liberal Studies under the New Senior Secondary curriculum. It remains to be seen if Dr Leung will speak on the failure of Liberal Studies to teach students about China issues, and whether the subject was responsible for many young people joining the Umbrella Movement last year.
March 19 Thursday
Chief Executive’s Question and Answer Session
CY Leung will attend the Council meeting for a Q&A session with memebrs. It has been reported that Mr Leung has explicitly accused Civic Party lawmakers Claudia Mo and Kenneth Chan, and Occupy Central organiser Professor Chan Kin-man for causing disruptions in Hong Kong at a gathering with different sectors on Sunday. Pan-dems may question Mr Leung’s words.
March 20 Friday
FC to examine the Estimates
Finance Committee will start examining the Estimates of Expenditure on Friday and the whole next week. Attending the meeting on Friday are Secretary for the Civil Service, Secretary for Justice, Director of Administration, Director of Audit, Permanent Secretary of the Chief Executive’s Office, ICAC Commissioner, LegCo’s Secretary General and the Ombudsman.