LegCo round up May 4 to 7

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Chan Kin-por called Albert Chan “human scum” as they argued at the PWSC. The Police says it had used $350 million on handling Occupation Movement. And Raymond Tam reiterated that no amendments will be allowed for the reform package.

May 4  Monday

 

Meeting of Subcommittee on Health Protection Scheme

Discussion on the manpower projection for doctors, nurses and dentists. The Hospital Authority estimates that the shortage for doctor and nurse this year will be 360 and 150.

doctor shortfall

Some measures to address the shortage include recruiting doctors from overseas, re-employing locally retired doctors on contract terms and extending the retirement age of doctors from 60 to 65. Hospital Authority says the retirement extension is welcomed by many doctors.

Demand for dentists is expected to “increase significantly in the coming years”, according to government papers. This is due to the implementation of dental programmes, such as the Outreach Dental Care Programme for the Elderly, the Community Care Fund Elderly Dental Assistance Programme and the Pilot Project on Dental Service for People with Intellectual Disability. Measures to tackle the rising demand of dental services include increasing the annual intake of dental students for three years beginning from 2016 and increasing the licensing examination for overseas-trained dentists to two sittings a year instead of one. Currently, 2,343 dentists are registered in Hong Kong.


May 5 Tuesday

 

Public hearing of the Public Accounts Committee

Secretary for Development Paul Chan and Mr Hui Siu-wai, Director of Buildings, attended a public hearing of the Public Accounts Committee to testify on the latest comptroller’s report about “Buildings Department’s actions on unauthorized building works”.

Director of Audit’s report criticised the Department for the “long time taken in issuing removal orders on actionable unauthorised building works.” The Audit examination revealed that, as of October 2014, Building Department had not issued removal orders concerning 4,522 public reports where official inspections had been conducted for more than six months to five years.

The report also blasted the “significant slippages in completing large scale operations on subdivided flats.” From 2011 to 2014, the Department had conducted 7 large scale operations on subdivided flats, covering a total of 1,092 target buildings. Of the 7 operations, 5 were conducted by the Department in-house officers and 2 by engaging 10 consultancies at a total cost of $12.4 million.

Mr Hui says the Department faces a shortage of staff and a lack of resources. There are currently 732 staff focusing on unauthorised building works and building safety/maintenance work. A total of 405,261 unauthorised building works had been removed from 2001 to 2010 and 69,298 from 2011 to 2014.

“The Building Department needs to step its enforcement action against unauthorised building works but we can’t rely on enforcement action by the Department alone to effectively solve the problem,” says Paul Chan. Paul Tse (GC- Kowloon East) asked whether the Government considers to offer amnesty but Mr Hui replies that “rules are rules”.

 

Meeting of Panel on Security

  1. Review the drug situation last year. Government papers show a continued decline in the number of reported drug abusers in 2014 (8,926), 13% lower than that of 2013 (10,241). The number of reported young drug abusers aged under 21 recorded a substantial decline by 35% (from 1,223 to 800). Newly reported drug abusers (2,008) was 23% lower than that of 2013 (2,623). However, drug history of newly reported cases had continued to rise. Half of the newly reported abusers had abused drugs for 5.2 years or more, compared with 4.7 years in 2013.
  1. Discussion on the Police’s handling of public meetings and public processions. By the end of the Occupy Movement, 955 were arrested and another 48 in following months. “Major items of Police’s expenditure in handling the illegal ‘Occupy Movement’ included the disciplined services overtime allowance, provision of meals and hire of vehicles for transporting police officers etc, which amounted to about $350 million in total,” government papers show.

Pan-dems criticised the Police to purchase 3 water cannons. Kenneth Chan (GC- HK Island, Civic Party) questioned if LegCo should approve the Police to buy more weapons to further taint the relationship with the public. DAB’s Ip Kwok-him (FC- DC 1st) says he is disappointed that not much details about the water cannon were revealed.

  1. Implementation of the Next Generation Smart Identity Card System at a cost of $1.45 billion. It is considering to implement a new e-Passport system which will cost $357.83 million over five financial years from 2016-17 to 2020-21. Immigration Department points out that the current e-Passport system has been used for almost ten years and a consultant commissioned by the Department has recommended it to “revamp its information technology infrastructure to upkeep service quality and enhance handling capacity to cope with the substantially growing service demands.” Members approved to send the proposal to Finance Committee.


May 6 Wednesday

 

Meeting of Public Works Subcommittee

  1. Third meeting to discuss building a Multi-purpose Sports Complex at Kai Tak. The Government is seeking to commence some pre-construction works at a cost of $62.7 million. Last time, members were concerned of the sports strategy of Hong Kong to complement the complex, the purpose of the complex and the transport support.

Albert Chan (GC- NT West, People Power) moved a motion to adjourn the discussion. However, Democratic Party lawmakers, Charles Mok (FC- IT) and Kenneth Leung (FC- Accountancy) joined the pro-establishment members to vote down Chan’s motion. Albert Chan had a verbal conflict with Chan Kin-por (FC- Insurance). While Albert Chan accused pro-establishment members as “Government’s stooges (狗奴才)”, Chan Kin-por called Albert Chan “human scum (人渣)”. The construction proposal was approved with 21 to 14 amid Democratic Party lawmakers voted against it.

  1. $1,549.9 million for relocating the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department at Sai Yee Street to Yen Ming Road, West Kowloon Reclamation Area. Discussion underway.

 

Council meeting

Filibuster entered the 4th session as members finished speaking on spoke on policies for poverty alleviation and elderly care and touched on issues concerning land, housing, transport, environment and conservation. 106 amendments to the Appropriation Bill were discussed. Longhair (GC- NT East, LSD) and Raymond Chan (GC- NT East, People Power) criticised Jasper Tsang (GC- HK Island, DAB) for limiting the time to be allowed for each speaker.


May 7 Thursday

 

Meeting of Subcommittee on Proposals on the Method for Selecting the Chief Executive in 2017

Only Raymond Tam attended the Subcommittee. Emily Lau (GC- NT East, DP) questioned if the Government has cancelled its promotion campaign on the streets. Mr Tam replied the street campaign will be resumed shortly. He also says the Government will try to arrange meetings between pan-dems and Beijing. However, he took pains to point out that no amendments will be allowed to the government’s reform package.

 

Council meeting

Discussion continued on the 106 amendments to the Appropriation Bill which touched on land, housing, transport, environment and conservation issues.


May 8 Friday

 

Technical change to 2016 LegCo election

Bills Committee on Electoral Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2015 will meet today to discuss the technical amendments concerning the electorate of the FCs, the name of some FCs, counting procedures and textual errors for the 2016 LegCo election.

 

Finance Committee to approve $2 billion funding proposals

Items to approve this week:

  • A combined $661 million funding proposal for 2 construction projects: Public Transport Interchange at Kiu Cheong Road East in Ping Shan and a refuse collection point at Fuk Wa Street/Fuk Wing Street/Camp Street site in Sham Shui Po.
  • $37,880,000 for developing a computer system for the Fire Services Department.
  • $1,448,786,000 for implementing the Next Generation Smart Identity Card System