High Tide (May 21st 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Rimsky Yuen optimistic on co-location arrangements; LegCo emergency alarm joins filibustering; “Door still open” but “no room for compromise”. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Rimsky Yuen: Discussion on co-location of high-speed rail link on track.
– Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen expressed optimism about the discussion with mainland officials on co-location arrangement of the high-speed rail link
– Yuen said the two sides however have yet to discuss the technical question of whether the Government could allow mainland staff to work in Hong Kong through additions to Annex III of the Basic Law
– Secretary for Transport and Housing Matthew Cheung said the two sides also touched upon arrangements of the control point area in the future West Kowloon station

LegCo speeds up voting procedure on Budget Bill amendments.
– The LegCo finished all rounds of debates on content of the Budget Bill and has proceeded to voting on a total of 492 amendments to the bill
– Lawmakers have approved a move by pro-establishment Business and Professional Alliance for Hong Kong’s Andrew Leung to shorten the time period before voting on each amendment from five minutes to one minute
– The meeting was interrupted for about 20 minutes after an emergency alarm accidentally rang
– Picks for LegCo Questions: 1) Minimum wage; 2) Drug policy; 3) Medical equipment for public hospitals

Public Works Subcommittee green-lights six items within two hours.
– The Public Works Subcommittee has approved six items within two hours, including a HKD4.7 billion plan to construct the West Kowloon Government Offices; raising the budget for sludge treatment facilities from HKD5.15 billion to HKD5.36 billion; and a HKD137 million project to refurbish and upgrade the Sha Tin Transfer Station
– It was explained that all items will be dealt with more carefully when they are discussed in the Financial Committee

Politics (general)

Henry Tang chairs association of Jiansu communities in Hong Kong.
– Former Chief Secretary Henry Tang was named head of the newly established Federation of Hong Kong Jiansu Community Organisations
– During the inauguration ceremony of the federation, Tang dismissed speculations that he is planning to run for the Chief Executive in 2017
– Also attending the ceremony were former CE Tung Chee-hwa; Chief Secretary Carrie Lam; as well as Beijing liaison office’s director Zhang Xiaoming and Wu Jianzhong

Basic Law Committee vice-chairman ruled out changes to reform proposals.
– Basic Law Committee vice-chairman Zhang Rongshun dismissed earlier suggestion by another committee member Rao Geping to change corporate votes in the nomination committee into individual votes, saying that there is no room for amendment
– Meanwhile, Zhang said that Beijing’s door is still open for talk – a somewhat contradictory remark
– Zhang is the first Beijing official to rule out any possibility of compromise on the political reform proposals