The week ahead April 13th

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Council meeting resumes this week and debate will begin on the Appropriation Bill. Filibuster is expected to start soon.

April 13  Monday

 

LegCo to discuss ATV matters

Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting will discuss the non-renewal of domestic free television programme service licence of ATV. At the House Committee last Friday, pro-establishment members have voted down Claudia Mo’s (GC- Kowloon West, Civic Party) proposal to ask an urgent question at the Council meeting about the “passive role” the Government has played in the whole ATV saga and the alleged claim that ATV had issued a false report to facilitate a deal.

 

Getting rid of Cantonese

Panel on Education will discuss using Putonghua to teach the Chinese Language subject in schools. Currently, schools can choose freely whether to use Cantonese, Putonghua or both as the medium of instruction for teaching the Chinese Language subject. The Scheme to Support Schools in using Putonghua to teach the Chinese Language Subject was launched in 2008 and ended last August. Around 40 primary and secondary schools joined the Scheme and received support which included professional support from teaching experts from mainland, exchange activities in mainland to increase teachers’ exposure to different teaching practices, and some seminars and workshops for teachers.

 

The Government has previously conducted research on using Putonghua to teach Chinese but scholars held different views and there was obviously no consensus among the people consulted. Interestingly, when Chief Executive CY Leung visited Wuhan last week and met with some Hong Kong students studying in Wuhan University, he reminded the students not to diminish the use of Cantonese as the students presented their work to him in Putonghua.

 

April  14 Tuesday

 

Hawkers and public transport

180 deputations will attend public hearings at the Subcommittee on Hawker Policy and Panel on Transport to talk about hawker policy and non-franchised bus services.

Paul Zimmerman’s Designing Hong Kong urges the Government to allow the commercial use of public space “to enhance vibrancy, enjoyment and livability – as long as nuisance, obstruction and pollution can be avoided or mitigated.” United Hawkers Development Platform criticises the Assistance Scheme for Hawkers in Fixed-pitch Hawker Areas has reduced the number of license for hawker.

For non-franchised bus (NFB) services, there are currently over 7,000 of such buses in Hong Kong, providing tour service, hotel service, student service, employees’ service, international passenger service, residents’ service and contract hire service. The Government points out that the demand and supply is generally stable in the NFB market although the provision of school bus services has seen as “slightly tight”.

 

Late membership

Establishment Subcommittee meets again to discuss the late membership of 12 pro-establishment members. There were 18 applications originally but only Paul Tse (GC- Kowloon East) was approved to join. Pan-dems stuck down the application of Chan Kin-por (FC-Insurance), DAB’s Chan Hak-kan, Elizabeth Quat, Christopher Chung and BPA’s Lo Wai-kwok.

List of applicants:

  • DAB’s Chan Kam-lam, Tam Yiu-chung, Chan Hak-kan, Ip Kwok-him, Chan Han-pan, Leung Che-cheung, Elizabeth Quat, Ann Chiang and Christopher Chung
  • BPA’s Andrew Leung, Priscilla Leung and Lo Wai-kwok
  • Liberal Party’s Frankie Yick
  • FTU’s Alice Mak, Wong Kwok-hing
  • Tony Tse

 

Reduction of sugar and salt content in food

Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene will discuss the reduction of sugar and salt content in food. The Government announced the establishment of a Committee on Reduction of Salt and Sugar in Food last month and ExCo’s member Bernard Chan was appointed to lead the Committee.

Globally, the rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries are increasing faster, in younger people, and with worse outcomes than in wealthier countries, according to a report published by the Council on Foreign Relations last year. In 2013 alone, NCDs killed eight million people before their sixtieth birthdays in developing countries.

In Hong Kong, malignant neoplasms (31.3%), diseases of heart (13.4%) and cerebrovascular diseases (7.5%) together accounted for more than half of all registered deaths in 2013. Two-fifths of adults aged 18-64 were classified as overweight and obese (BMI ≥ 23) over the past decades. In 2014, the prevalence was 39.0%. The detection rate of overweight and obesity among primary school students increased from 16.1% in 1995-96 to 22.2% in 2008-09, falling gradually to 20.0% in 2013-14. For secondary school students, the corresponding detection rate increased from 13.2% in 1996-97 to 19.5% in 2013-14.

 

 

April 15 Wednesday

 

Public Works Subcommittee

The Subcommittee will discuss 3 construction proposals:

  • $62.7 million for pre-construction works for the Kai Tak Multi-purpose Sports Complex.
  • $1,549.9 million for relocating the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department at Sai Yee Street to Yen Ming Road, West Kowloon Reclamation Area.
  • $137.1 million for refurbish and upgrade the Sha Tin Transfer Station.

 

Debate begins on the Appropriation Bill

Members will start debating the Appropriation Bill at the Council today and tomorrow this week. Filibuster is anticipated to begin later on.

 

 

April 17 Friday

 

Jasper Tsang meets with Chinese diplomat

LegCo President Jasper Tsang will meet with Mr Cheung Yonghua, Ambassador of PRC to Japan.

 

LegCo to approve $6-billion proposals

Finance Committee will hold two sessions of meeting to discuss an array of funding proposals that were piled up in the past few months, including:

  • Around $1180 million for 6 construction proposals. 2 of them are Signature Projects.
  • $4033 million of loan for the CUHK Medical Centre Development Project.
  • Around $1449 million for the Next Generation Smart Identity Card System.