High Tide (May 9th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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More Express Rail link delays expected; Global Times on “slandering” students; First ethnic Chinese in UK HoC. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Updates on Budget Bill debates – on economic development.
– Debates on the Budget Bill continues (in Chinese) as lawmakers began to discuss policies on economic, business, financial, IT and communications development with a total of 125 amendments
– Neo Democrats’ Gary Fang moved an amendment to cut the budget for the Commerce and Economic Development Buearu (CEDB), in which he criticised the Tourism Board for increasing the expense on promotions to Mainland tourists despite Government attempts to control the tourism flows
– People Power’s Raymond Chan proposed another budget cut for the Communications and Technology Branch of the CEDB, criticising the authorities for delaying the issue of free TV licences for more than two years

LegCo committee to hear case on Government Flying Service mismanagement.
– The LegCo Public Accounts Committee will hear a case of mismanagement of the Government Flying Service (GFS) later today
– It was reported earlier by the Audit Commission that the GFS purchased two training aircraft at a cost of HKD11.06 million in 2008 and 2012 but the 5% payment discount (HKD181,000) was not obtained
– Advance payments for spare parts totaling HKD 550,760 were also written off after the oversea contractor’s bankruptcy
– Meanwhile, the Financial Committee approved public transport interchange and associated works at Kiu Cheong Road East, Ping Shan with estimated costs of HKD602.2 million while the debates on the new ID card was postponed

More delays expected for Express Rail link.
– Housing Department expressed “grave concern” for the first time as it feared that the construction of the Express Rail link may not meet its already delayed schedule in late 2017
– The MTR Corp said the delay was caused by insufficient manpower and resources from contractors and unforeseeable difficulties
– New People’s Party lawmaker Micheal Tien earlier predicted that the cost of constructions may hit HKD$90 billion – almost 40% more than the initial budget

Politics (general)

Global Times blasted Chinese University students over “slander” on PLA.
– Global Times blasted the Chinese University students who opposed a People’s Liberation Army garrison visit to the campus that was hence postponed, saying that it was a “slander” to the PLA
– The Communist Party mouthpiece also said the CUHK students’ union “should know their place”
– Head of the students’ union Wong Ching-fung countered the accusation by arguing that the article revealed a political agenda behind the visit, and urged the university to cancel all events with the PLA

China & World

Alan Mak becomes first elected Chinese MP in Britain.
– Second generation of Hong Kong immigrants Alan Mak became the first ethnic Chinese to seat in the British House of Commons as the Conservative Party concluded a sliding victory over the Labour Party in the British parliamentary election
– Mak, who represented the Tory in Havant in South West England, was among one of the 11 candidates with Chinese background
– In an interview with Post Magazine, Mak reaffirmed his allegiance – “I have certainly no interest in what people in Hong Kong or China think of me, because I am not representing them. I am representing the people of Havant”