High Tide (May 15th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Energy intensity cut by 40% by 2025; Appointment of new HKBU president on hold; Follow-up on Benny Tai case. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Government eyes energy intensity reduction by 40% by 2025.
– The Environmental Bureau announced the Energy Saving Plan for the Built Environment 2015~2025+, in which it sets a new target of cutting the city’s energy intensity by 40% by 2025 based on 2005 level
– This would mean cutting total energy consumption by 6% by the 2012 level
– Actions include cutting energy consumption in government buildings by 5% by 2020, expanding/tightening relevant energy-related standards and appointing Green Managers and Energy Wardens to provide updates to schools and public education programmes

Lawmakers to vote on Budget Bill amendments.
– The LegCo entered the sixth debate session in which policies on population, education, arts and culture as well as sports were discussed
– Pan-dem lawmakers have moved (in Chinese) 86 amendments, including reducing the salaries for Secretary for Education and Secretary for Home Affairs
– Lawmakers will start voting on all 618 amendment bills when the current session ends
– It is expected that 17 hours are needed to process all amendments

Politics (general)

Former officials allowed to appeal for case on fraud housing claims.
– The Court of Final Appeal will hear an appeal by former Secretary for Development Mak Chai-kwong and former assistant highways director Tsang King-man against convictions for claiming HKD700,000 civil housing allowances in 1980s
– Both were found guilty in 2013 and received eight-month jail sentences with two-year suspensionsBaptist University delays new president appointment in face of student protest.
– Baptist University agreed to postpone the appointment of professor Roland Chin as the new president and vice chancellor after students stormed a meeting of the interview panel
– The university announced that more meeting sessions will be held to reach a consensus
– Chin, current deputy vice-chancellor of HKU and the only candidate for the post, said he was not disappointed and admitted that more dialogue with students was needed

Democratic Party reaffirms bottom-line on political reform.
– Democratic Party’s Albert Ho said his plan to trigger a de facto referendum on political reform is put on hold, after a meeting with party members, student leaders and social groups
– Party chairwoman Emily Lau said lawmakers are asked to veto the reform in the LegCo while they could still discuss with government officials over the issue
– Ho said the party will focus on the reform itself first and put the proposed referendum back on agenda after voting in LegCo
– Moderate pan-dems Law Chi-kwong, Tik Chi-yuen and Nelson Wong urged the party to put more effort into securing negotiations with Beijing
– Meanwhile, People’s Daily Overseas Edition published an article calling the middle class to treasure the gradual approach to achieve democracy and stressed that “Hong Kong is Chinese Hong Kong (香港是中國的香港)”

HKU Council to follow up on final report on Benny Tai.
– The Audit Committee of the HKU has reportedly submitted a final report to the university’s Council over Occupy leader Benny Tai’s handling of the HKD1.45 million in donations to the institution
– It was said that while Benny Tai did not act in accordance with the university’s guidelines on some occasions, it did not constitute a violation of regulations
– The HKU Council is expected to follow up on the report as early as late May