High Tide (May 29th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Budget bill (water cannons) approved; CE: let it pass or let it go; ‘Uncle Lau’ to pass his realm to Lau junior. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Appropriation Bill 2015 endorsed after 130 hours of debate.
– The LegCo approved the Appropriation Bill 2015 with all amendments blocked after 130 hours of debates for second and third reading
– Financial Secretary John Tsang urged filibusterers to stop using the tactic in next year’s debate
– Funding for LegCo Commission, the Hospital Authority and the University Grant Committee, which has been suspended right now, will return to normal as of all other government departments
– Purchase of water cannons – approved

CY Leung on reform: Let it go if vote it down.
– CY Leung, when attending a LegCo Q&A session, urged Hongkongers to put aside the political reform debate if the reform proposal is voted down by lawmakers and hinted those who block it should shoulder the responsibility
– Pan-dems blasted Leung for lacking the sincerity to promote a genuine universal suffrage
– Three Beijing officials will meet with lawmakers in Shenzhen on Sunday for four hours, of which two hours will be designated to a separate meeting with 15 pan-dems
– Leung later attended a HK-Guangdong joint ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dongjiang water supply to the Hong Kong
– Leung also delivered a speech at the AustCham Westpac Australia China Business Awards Gala Dinner with the presence of Australian Ambassador to China Ms Frances Adamson

Ombudsman on display of building numbers and refrigerants.
– The Ombudsman released two reports on regulation of display of building numbers and on safety regulation of eco-friendly refrigerants
– It slammed the Rating and Valuation Department for not being “diligent” enough in following up cases
– It criticised the lack of a coherent mechanism to regulate and monitor the use of flammable refrigerants as it involved four departments (Environmental Protection Department, Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, Fire Services Department and Labour Department) and four Ordinances

Recommendations on free kindergarten education revealed.
– The Committee on Free Kindergarten Education submitted a report to the Education Bureau with recommendations on providing free kindergarten education services starting from the 2017/2018 year
– The Committee proposed providing government subsidy to cover half-day schooling as a basic provision for all eligible children aged three to six with additional resources offered to whole-day schooling and long whole-day schools
– It was  estimated that more than 60% of non-profit kindergarten students would not have to pay school fees
– Secretary for Education Eddie Ng said (in Chinese) the Government has injected HKD4.1 billion into kindergarten education in this year’s Budget compared with HKD2.7 billion in 2012

Politics (general)

Heung Yee Kuk boss to step down.
– Lau Wong-fat, chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk representing indigenous New Territories residents for 35 years, recently said he is too old to run for another term
– Lau’s son Kenneth Lau Ip-keung has been widely expected to take over his realm
– Lau will however remain as an executive committee member of the kuk

Consensus reached over CX labour disputes.
– The Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union said its planned strike in August has been called off as a consensus has been reached in the second day of negotiation with the management
– The management agreed to satisfy the union concerning hourly rate, lunch allowance and legal protection clause
– An legally binding agreement will be signed by both side on Monday