High Tide (June 10th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Red travel alert on Korea imposed; CS pessimistic over reform being passed; Chan Yuen-han “still willing to help” Wai Chai. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Security Bureau issues red travel alert on South Korea as travel agencies agree to cancel tours.
– The Security Bureau imposed red Outbound Travel Alert on South Korea and advised all residents to avoid non-essential travel to the country in fear of community outbreak of MERS
– The Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong has cancelled all trips to South Korea in June of which about 12,000 travellers were affected
– The Centre for Health Protection started to provide daily update on the number of suspected cases of MERS with effect from yesterday
– The Centre has so far received 19 suspected cases of MERS, of which 14 were found negative and the remaining 5 were still under investigation

Discussion on over-budget HK-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge put on hold.
– The pan-dem dominated Public Works Subcommittee approved adjourning the discussion of increasing the budget of the HK-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge construction by HKD5.46 billion
– The Subcommittee then approved projects to build a government data centre complex, to enhance water quality of Victoria Harbour and to start initial stages of the Tseung Kwan O desalination plant
– Meanwhile, lawmakers discussed implementation of free kindergarten education as Education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen blasted (in Chinese) the Report of the Committee on Free Kindergarten for neglecting kindergartens that provide full-day services

Civil servants to get higher pay rise.
– The Civil Service Bureau announced that a pay rise of 4.62% for civil servants in the lower and middle salary bands and of 3.96% for civil servants in the upper salary band was offered with effect retrospectively from April 1
– The figures were 0.5% higher than the net pay trend indicator based on “exceptional adjustment” from “supplementary information” as the Bureau stressed that the adjustment was “entirely in conformity with the established mechanism”

Carrie Lam admits slim chance for political reform package to be passed.
– Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, after meeting with more pan-dem lawmakers namely Ip Kin-yuen from the education sector and League of Social Democrats’ Leung Kwok-hung,admitted that the chance was “very slim” for the political reform package to be passed in LegCo as none of the pan-dems has shown any sign of a u-turn while the Government needs five more votes
– The latest result of the joint-university rolling survey showed that net support for the reform has further narrowed down to 2.1%

Politics (general)

Chan Yuen-han “willing to help” despite being accused of deceit in Wai Chai saga.
– Unionist Chan Yuen-han said she was wrongly accused of mishandling the case of an undocumented boy Siu Yau-wai who was now brought back to the mainland by his grandmother Chow Siu-shuen
– Chan denied accusation against the Federation of Trade Unions from the grandmother for deceiving and abandoning the two, stressed that the decision to return to the mainland was made by Chow as they were being harassed in Hong Kong
– Chan said the FTU would stilling be willing to help but Chow would need to be honest about their situation

HSBC to cut 25,000 jobs worldwide, Hong Kong not on the list.
– Hong Kong staff was spared as HSBC announced plan to cut 25,000 jobs, about 10% of its total employment, worldwide before 2017
– It was said that there will not be headcount reductions in Hong Kong as the Banking Corp saw the “Pivot to Asia” as a profitable path
– Meanwhile, the FTU expressed (in Chinese) concerns about the Corp sacking more than 80 employees after closing down its mailing service department