High Tide (June 6th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Extra-budget for control point approved; EU Office responds to media over reform drama; Judicial review on reform rejected. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Proposal to get extra funding for controversial control point construction approved.
– The Finance Committee approved a proposal to raise the estimate cost of site formation and infrastructure works the Liantang/Hueng Yuen Wai border control point from HKD16.253 billion to HKD24.973 billion
– The Committee also approved a funding request of HKD8.8119 million for the construction of the control point’s buildings and associated facilities
– Democratic Party’s James To raised concerns over a possible price collusion when lawmakers demanded reasons for over-budget
– Both proposals were put into the Committee’s agenda as requested by the Government after they were blocked by the Public Works Subcommittee
– Meanwhile, LegCo President Jasper Tsang said the LegCo Commission will discuss next week the security issues during the vote on political reform

SFH: WHO does not encourage travel restriction to South Korea.
– CY Leung , accompanied by Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man and Director of Health Constance Chan, inspected the port health measures at the International Airport as South Korea finally revealed names of MERS affect hospitals
– Ko said (in Chinese) that as the World Health Organisation did not prefer imposing travel restriction on South Korea, travel and airlines companies were advised to take flexible measures in handling cancellation of bookings and tickets
– Leung, in reply to a reporter’s question concerning student leaders burning the Basic Law during the June 4th vigil, said the Law should be obeyed even when there are different views toward the political reform

Competition tribunal procedural rules gazetted.
– The Judiciary announced that four sets of procedural and fees rules for the Competition Tribunal were gazetted and will be tabled in the LegCo for negative vetting on June 10
– The four sets are the Competition Tribunal Rules; Competition Tribunal Fees Rules; Competition Tribunal Suitors’ Funds Rules; and Rules of the High Court (Amendment) Rules 2015

Diplomat

Head of EU Office clarifies stance against “inaccurate” media report over meetings with lawmakers.
– After the Chinese media widely reported EU diplomatic commissions urging lawmakers to “pocket it first”, the Head of EU Office Vincent Piket felt compelled to issue a letter to clarify the nature of the meetings and the side’s stance towards the reform, which Piket claimed was particularly misinterpreted by the China Daily Hong Kong edition
– In the letter, Piket stressed that the EU side “wished to hear the respective views and expectations about the reform of the system for electing the Chief Executive in 2017” and that a consensus can be forged “through constructive discussion…on an election system which is democratic, fair, open, and transparent”
– Piket also noted that the report incorrectly stated that the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attended the meetings

Politics (general)

High Court turns down bid for political reform judicial review.
– The High Court has rejected former student leader Yvonne Leung who sought judicial review to stop the political reform, saying that the Courts have no power to alter Beijing’s authority in the form of 8.31 decision and that the Government has no legal responsibility to carry out consultation on infeasible proposals
– Meanwhile, the High Court will announce its decision after hearing the case of another judicial review over blocking Government ads to promote the reform
– Latest result of universities survey showed that net support for the reform dropped from 13.4% to just 6%, suggesting that the uncompromising tone by the Beijing officials may have backfired