HIGH TIDE (APRIL1ST 2015) – DAILY POLITICAL ROUND-UP

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ATV shocks over HKTV takeover; Electricity competition unlikely; Pan-dems block new boundary control point. Photo Credits: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Government &LegCo)

Government tones down prospect of opening up electricity market.
– The Government has launched a three-month public consultation on future development of electricity market as current agreements between the Government and the two power companies will expire in 2018
– Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said “it is unlikely that we would have any new suppliers of sizeable scale either from the Mainland or locally in the near term”
– The authorities will review the companies rate of return, which currently stands at 9.9%
– The Government also plans to “increase the percentage of natural gas generation to around 50% in 2020”

Lawmakers block boundary control point construction proposal.
– Pan-dem lawmakers in the Public Work Subcommittee blocked Government’s proposal to construct a control point buildings and facilities in the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai boundary
– Democratic Party’s Sin Chung-kai said (in Chinese) Pan-dems blocked the proposal as it is uneconomical
– New People’s Party’s Michael Tien said the Government should not submit the proposal to the LegCo when its connection road works plan has not been approved, and therefore he did not attend the meeting despite being supportive to the project

Hospital Authority urged to strengthen coordination over clusters.
– It is reported (in Chinese) that The Government, in its report to the Steering Committee on Review of Hospital Authority, urged the HA to strengthen its role as central coordinator over hospital clusters
– Suggestions included centralising management over allocation of new doctors and of IT systems

CY Leung warns of AIIB filibustering in LegCo.
– CY Leung said Hong Kong can play a key role in the AIIB’s establishment and operations and urged lawmakers not to filibuster when a proposal related to joining the bank is submitted to the LegCo
– Leung also revealed his plan to visit Wuhan and Shanghai next week to open a new trade office in Wuhan and co-chair a co-operation meeting with the mayor of Shanghai

URA resigning CEO admits “fundamental differences” with chairman.
– Resigning managing director of the Urban Renewal Authority Iris Tam said in a letter to staff that there were “fundamental differences” with its chairman over the body’s philosophy
– Tam stated that “I find it totally unacceptable to position URA as a developer or a land assembly agent to supply land for developers”
– Meanwhile, the Government responded to allegation against the authorities of exerting pressure on the URA regarding its financial position, asserting that “as a statutory organisation supported by public funds, URA has to exercise financial prudence in line with the URAO (URA Ordinance) and the 2011 URS (Urban Renewal Strategy) so as to meet public expectation”

Appointments of Senior Counsel.
– Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma announced yesterday the appointments of 10 Senior Counsel with effect from May 2
– The Government also appointed Lo Pui-yin (re-appointment) and Betty Chan Ka-wai to the Management Committee if the Consumer Legal Action Fund for a term of two years with effect from April 1

Politics (general)
ATV announces shocking HKTV takeover.
– Another drama in the ATV development as the troubled broadcasting corporation announced unilaterally that its major investor Wong Ching has agreed to sell his stake to HKTV’s Ricky Wong
– The CE earlier said that “ATV’s licence renewal application is being handled according to established procedures and the law” and the ExCo will soon decide its fate
– There was no confirmation from HKTV and the Communications Authority said it has not received application from ATV regarding changes in its shareholding structure
– Rumours suspected (in Chinese) that the drama is just a plan to buy time by delaying the ExCo’s decision – April fools indeed?