The week ahead April 27

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LegCo forms a Subcommittee to monitor the Third Runway project while the Government also creates a taskforce for it.  Other interesting topics in LegCo: Legal education, guidelines from the Competition Commission and the oil price.  

April 27  Monday

 

Bar Association visits Beijing

Chairman of the Bar Association Ms Winnie Tam SC leads a delegation to Beijing, following a long tradition of which the new Chairman of the organisation will pay a visit to Beijing and meet with the officials. Civic Party’s Dennis Kwok and Ronny Tong are among the delegation.

 

LegCo forms a Subcommittee for Third Runway project

Panel on Economic Development and Panel on Environmental Affairs will jointly form a subcommittee to monitor the implementation of the Third Runway.

 

New guidelines from the Competition Commission

Panel on Economic Development will discuss the revised guidelines issued by the Competition Commission. The latest round of consultation on the revised guidelines just ended last week (April 20). The new guidelines will help businesses to distinguish between legitimate commercial negotiations and anti-competitive exchanges of information, particularly with regard to commercially sensitive information.

In the Revised Draft Guidelines, the Commission:

  • Increased the number of hypothetical examples and also examples that request for further details were made;
  • Provided further guidance and detailed analysis on a range of specific topics that submissions had sought further detail on including joint selling, distribution and marketing agreements and joint tendering arrangements and new sections on collective bargaining, franchising and selective distribution agreements.
  • Clarified a number of procedural topics on the Commission’s approach to the handling and processing of complaints and applications for decisions and block exemption orders.

 

Government explains the oil price

In response to a number of LegCo members who pointed out the big drop in the international oil price only resulted in a slight drop in the local oil price, the Government explains at the Panel on Economic Development that “oil companies, in response to falling import prices, have adjusted downwards the pump prices of unleaded petrol and diesel, with maximum accumulated reduction of over $3.2/litre. We observe that this is generally in line with the trend movements of international oil prices over the same period, and represents around 50% of the import price of its refined oil products in July 2014 at $6.34/litre.”

Currently, oil companies are taxed at $6.06/litre for unleaded petrol and the current market price is running from $14 to $15 per litre. Diesel, however, is tax free. The average Government rent of the relevant sites to oil companies ranges from $18,108 to $742,800 in the past 10 years. The rent is calculated at 3% of the rateable value of the properties.

 

Review on the legal education and training

9 deputations from the legal sector and law schools attend a hearing at the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services to discuss the Legal education and training in Hong Kong.

Standing Committee on Legal Education and Training decided to launch a study on the topic in December 2013 but only kick started it in March this year and received a $1.5-million funding from the Department of Justice. A High Court judge and 2 professors from Australia and New Zealand are hired as consultants. The study will likely touch on the implementation of the Common Entrance Examination.

 

 

April  28 Tuesday

 

More constructions at Kai Tak

Panel on Development will discuss three construction proposals and decide whether they will be passed to the Public Works Subcommittee for consideration.

  • $5,757 million for the construction of infrastructure works at the southern part of the former runway at Kai Tak Development.
  • $606.1 million for district cooling system at Kai Tak.
  • $1,111.9 million for the ground decontamination works at the site of exKennedy Town Incineration Plant and ex-Kennedy Town Abattoir, and the adjoining area.

 

Unleashing labour force in families

19 deputations will attend a hearing at the Subcommittee on Poverty to discuss measures to unleash labour force in families for increasing the grassroots’ income. Alliance for Children Development Right urges the Government to implement the 15-year free education and lower the barrier for grassroot students to receive full subsidy.

 

 

Hearing of Select Committee to Inquire into the Background of and Reasons for the Delay of the Construction of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link

Under Secretary for Transport and Housing Mr Yau Shing-mu will attend the hearing to testify. Director of Highways Mr Peter Lau Ka-keung had taken heavy hits in the past two weeks from members across the political spectrum.

 

 

April 29 Wednesday

 

Government creates task force to monitor Third Runway project

Establishment Subcommittee will discuss several staffing proposals, including one specifically for the Third Runway.

  • Proposed creation of a permanent post of Chief Superintendent of Police to head the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau for preventing and combating technology crime and responding to cyber security incidents. Monthly salary of the position ranges from $125,450 to $137,400.

 

  • Proposed creation of three temporary posts of one Principal Government Engineer, one AO and one Chief Engineer in the Airport Expansion Project Coordination Office under the Transport Branch of Transport and Housing Bureau for about three years to head the Office for steering and coordinating the related work of the Three-Runway System project. Monthly salary of the Principal Government Engineer ranges from $168,300 to $183,700; $144,700 to $158,250 for the AO; and $121,900 to $133,300 for the Chief Engineer.

 

  • Proposed retention of a temporary post of Chief Engineer for a maximum period of four years and six months in the Railway Development Office of Highways Department to continue providing support to and monitoring the completion of the Hong Kong section of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link project by the MTR Corporation Limited. Monthly salary of the post ranges from $121,900 to $133,300.

 

Filibustering continues

Council meeting continues to discuss the 618 amendments. Last Thursday, only pan-dems spoke on the amendments. People Power’s Albert Chan proposed to cut the CE Office’s annual budget to $1000 while Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan proposed to cut the expense to purchase 3 water cannons by the Police. There were two occasions when it was seconds away from adjournment after continuous attempts to request for counting for quorum by Albert Chan, Raymond Chan and League of Social Democrats’ Leung Kwok-hung.