High Tide (May 13th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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TVB renews licence with a HKD6.3 billion plan; Gammon sacks 200 staff; Cost expanding Terminal 2 could cost 47% more. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher

 


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

TVB secures licence renewal with HKD6.3 billion commitment.
– The Chief Executive in Council has approved TVB’s application for licence renewal for a term of 12 years with a commitment by the latter to invest HKD6.336 billion (HKD144 million for capital investment and HKD6.19 billion for programming) between 2016 and 2021
– The dominant TV company also pledged to broadcast at least 12,000 hours of locally produced programmes each year, accounting for about 27.4% of its total programmes
– Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So said “all along, the objective of our broadcasting policy is to provide more programme choices for our audiences”

LegCo committee discusses measures to tackle traffic congestion.
– The LegCo Panel on Transport discussed a report by the Transport Advisory Committee which suggested 12 measures, including raising first registration tax, licence fee, roadside parking fee as well as fine on parking violation to tackle traffic congestion
– Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung said the Government is considering implementing the measures in stages
– Federation of Trade Unions’ Tang Ka-piu suggested introducing a ballot system for licence application while Liberal Party’s Frankie Yick argued that raising first registration tax would not help alleviate the problem
– The Panel, meanwhile, tended to agree on increasing the number of seats in minibuses

Politics (general)

Gammon sacks more than 200 staff, putting the blame on filibuster.
– Troubles ahead in construction sector as Gammon Construction has reportedly sacked (in Chinese) more than 200 of its staff, mostly mid-level engineers who are responsible for overlooking onsite works with monthly salaries of at least HKD20,000 to HKD30,000
– Filibustering in LegCo, which led to ‘delays’ in construction projects. was said to be the main reason
– President of Hong Kong Institution of Engineers Victor Cheung Chi Kong (not the one in Executive Council) said at least HKD80 billion worth of projects are needed to keep the industry running while only HKD40 billion worth of projects were approved in last financial year

Airport Terminal 2 expansion work “could cost 47% more”.
– It was warned that the cost of expansion work in Terminal 2 of the Hong Kong International Airport for the third runway could soared by 47% to HKD14 billion
– Terminal 2 was opened in 2007 while the expansion work is expected last from 2019 to 2023
– Engineer Albert Lai from Professional Commons warned that it could create a domino effect if the third runway construction ran into trouble

Scholars and professionals petition against political reform. 
– 28 professionals, including CityU chair professor Cheng yu-shek, veteran journalist Cheong Chin and Professional Commons Albert Lai, initiated a petition “Standing Firm on Hong Kong’s Core Values — Veto Sham Universal Suffrage, Guard Against Authoritarian Rule”
– More than 1300 people has already signed the petition
– Meanwhile, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng stressed that “there is no such thing as pressuring people” when commenting on his communications with stakeholders
– Ng also said that the case of students’ clips “is an individual group, individual activity” and urged the public to give “basic respect to the students”

High Court to hear case on “discrimination” against Lesbians.
– It was reported that a lesbian couple will challenge the Immigration Department’s refusal to recognise their status to stay in Hong Kong with dependent visas
– The couple forged a civil relationship in Britain in May as they moved to Hong Kong four months later with one of them securing a professional job while the other relying on a tourist visa in order to stay in the city