HIGH TIDE (APRIL 30TH 2015) – DAILY POLITICAL ROUND-UP

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NT development plans approved; Basic Law video for schools; Hong Kong drops to 83rd in press freedom ranking. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

LegCo committee blocks creation of a chief superintendent post for cyber security and technology crime division.
– The Establishment Committee blocked the Government’s proposal to create a permanent post of Chief Superintendent of Police to head the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau
– Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan and Democratic Party’s Emily Lau reiterated concerns over Police using advanced technology to monitor people’s everyday life
– Fernando Cheung form Labour Party slammed the Government for denying lawmakers to visit the headquarter of the Bureau despite granting ExCo members the access

Lawmakers debate over 100-plus Budget bill amendments.
– Lawmakers had discussed (in Chinese) more than 100 amendments to the Appropriation Bill
– The debate centred around cutting salaries and budgets to the CE and Police Commissioner, and on water canons purchase
– The meeting was paused in several occasions when radical lawmakers request to count for quorum
– Our picks for LegCo Questions: 1) mini-storage; 2) fuel prices; 3) AIIB

TPB approves two development plans in Fanling North and Kwu Tung North.
– The Town Planning Board approved without amendment two controversial draft Fanling North and Kwu Tung North Outline Zoning Plans (OZPs)
– The TPB said the development plans “remains an efficient and sustainable way of providing land to meet the development needs” by providing source of housing land supply while preserving about 300 hectares of land for agricultural and natural conversation purposes
– Around 40 local residents and members of concern groups protested outside the TPB building, criticising the lack of communications and claimed that CY Leung will be their target as the fight continues

SRPA to enhance transparency of sales of first-hand residential properties.
– The Director of Sales of First-hand Residential Properties Authority (SRPA) announced new measures to enhance sale transparency to assist prospective first-hand residential properties purchasers
– Under the new measures, vendors are required to display in a development/phase sales office on each date of sale a “consumption table” and to make public the number of registrations of intent of which estate agents are the registrants

Education Bureau announces Basic Law video package for secondary schools.
– The Education Bureau produced a Basic Law video teaching resource package for secondary schools to promote the constitutional status of the Basic Law and the concept of “One Country, Two Systems”
– “Schools, teachers as well as classes are actually not avoiding any of those controversies but they will be facing and rising up to it and have open discussions and a very objective and multi-dimensional understanding of the subject.” Secretary for Education Eddie Ng said

New MPF chairman eyes increase in contribution rate.
– New Chairman of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority David Wong Yau-ka said the Authority is considering to raise the MPF contribution rate
– Wong claimed that the current rate is not high and the growth of MPF has hence been limited

Politics (general)

Beijing has no intention to introduce new CE appointment code and to compromise.
– The Bar Association chairwoman Winnie Tam Wan-chi, after meeting with Director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office Wang Guangya, said that Beijing has no plans to codify the procedures of CE appointments and that it was for Hong Kong to decide the timetable for Article 23 legislation
– Civic Party’s Ronny Tong, meanwhile, said (in Chinese) he was pessimistic over the political reform controversy as officials in Beijing were seemingly prepared for the scenario in which the proposals were vetoed in LegCo
Hong Kong falls by 9 places in press freedom ranking as Police drop two cases of media staff being assaulted.
– According to the latest study of a social concern group Freedom House, Hong Kong’s ranking in press freedom dropped by 9 places to 83rd
– Meanwhile, the Police reported (in Chinese) that they have dropped two cases in which reporters and media staff were assaulted by “blue-ribbons” in October last year as there are insufficient evidence