LegCo round up March 30 to April 2

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LegCo has been examining the Estimates of Expenditure for a week. Issues such as multiple-visit scheme, purchase of water cannons were discussed. 


March 30 Monday


Special meetings of Finance Committee

Second day to examine the Estimates of Expenditure for 2015-16. Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Secretary for the Environment and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development attended the meeting to answer members’ questions.

Michael Tien (GC- NT West, NPP) urged the Government to review the multiple-visit scheme or Hong Kong will only be a “leisure city” for Shenzhen instead of being an international city. Gregory So replied that any attempt to change the existing scheme will need to consider the impact to the retail and job market.

James Tien (GC- NT East, Liberal Party) asked the Government to set aside a $80-million fund for the Tourism Board to promote Hong Kong’s image in mainland cities as mainlanders may wrongly think Hong Kong people hate them.

Gregory So says the Government will reserve lands in the Northern part of New Territories for tourists to shop.

Last week at LegCo, the Government revealed that it will propose a resolution to refute the resolution passed last year in the Council to establish the Innovation and Technology Bureau, and a new resolution for the same purpose as last year will be proposed again in April. The Government reiterated that it is not trying to create a slippery slope by refuting an approved resolution. Relevant funding proposals of ITB will be submitted to the Finance Committee after the Council approves the Appropriation Bill.

March 31 Tuesday


Meeting of Bills Committee on Electronic Health Record Sharing System Bill

15 meetings to examine the bill. Members were concerned of the privacy issue. Lee Kwok-long (FC- Health Services) asked if medical organisations can obtain the health records of patients to conduct medical research without the consent of the patients. The Government will reply to Lee’s question in next meeting. Discussion underway.


Meeting of the Public Works Subcommittee

The Public Works Subcommittee discussed the construction proposal to build boundary control point buildings and associated facilities at the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai boundary control point at a cost of $8,811.9 million. The Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai boundary control point is a national priority, and is part of the national “12th Five-Year Plan” to bridge Shenzhen and Hong Kong further. The proposal was voted down by the pan-dems as they considered it too expensive and with the problem of mainland tourists flooding Hong Kong remains unsolved, they urged the Government to devise a comprehensive plan to solve the tourist problem first. FTU lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing criticised pan-dems for voting down the proposal.


Special meetings of Finance Committee

Examination of the Estimates entered Day Three and Secretary for Home Affairs, Secretary for Security and Head of Police attended the meeting to answer members’ questions. Kwok Ka-ki (GC- NT West, Civic Party) questioned if the purchase of anti-riot vehicles equipped with water cannons is the plan of CY Leung. Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok denied it.

April 1 Wednesday


Special meetings of Finance Committee

Day Four of the Committee to examine the Estimates. Secretary for Transport and Housing, Secretary for Education and Secretary for Development attended the meeting.

Despite the property price has risen since last April, Professor Anthony Cheung considers the property market is still stable and the stamp duties have successfully curbed the skyrocketing property price.

There is a staggering 34.7% cut in the spending on Buildings, Lands and Planning in the Development Bureau. The expenditure is designed for land planning, registration of land, building safety and urban renewal. The planned expenditure is $302.4 million, down for the actual expenditure of $463.3 million from last year and $527.6 million in 2013-14. Read it here.