Reform package was struck down amid a dramatic walk-out by most of the pro-establishment members. PWSC this week approved 8 construction proposals which cost around $18 billion.
June 15 Monday
Meeting of Panel on Constitutional Affairs
- Discussion on the practical arrangements for the 2015 DC Election which is set to be on 22 November 2015. Nomination period will begin from 2 to 15 October 2015. There will be a record high of 431 constituencies for this year’s election. Some members were concerned that people have falsely submitted their addresses and there is little way to validate without involving too much cost. Registration and Electoral Office said if some old buildings are scheduled to tear down, it will approach the residents in those old buildings and ask for their new addresses.
- Provisional recommendations on boundaries and names of geographical constituencies (GC) for the 2016 LegCo General Election. A public consultation on the recommendations will end on Friday, June 19. One major change is to deduct one GC seat from Hong Kong Island (from 7 to 6) and increase one GC seat in Kowloon West. The change is based on the calculation of the population in those districts.
Meeting of Panel on Health Services
Measures for the prevention and control of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). There are 166 confirmed MERS cases in Korea as at 19 June 2015. A total of 1,155 MERS cases have been reported to the World Health Organization, including at least 444 deaths. Of these cases reported to WHO, 1,130 (98%) were confirmed in nine Middle East countries, including 1,015 in Saudi Arabia, 73 in the United Arab Emirates, 13 in Jordan, 12 in Qatar, six each in Iran and Oman, three in Kuwait, and one each in Lebanon and Yemen. Security Bureau issued a red Outbound Travel Alert on Korea on 9 June 2015.
June 16 Tuesday
Meeting of Public Works Subcommittee
- $2,874.3 million to build a columbarium and garden of remembrance at Tsang Tsui, Tuen Mun.
- $840.5 million for the first phase of construction of the Park, Xiqu Centre, M+ and other facilities in the Artist Square Development Area.
- $2,919.5 million for the “Integrated Basement for West Kowloon Cultural District – first and second stages of design, site investigation and construction works”.
- $1,658 million to upgrade the Sha Tin water treatment facilities.
- $391 million for the construction of staff quarters for Immigration Department at Heng Lam Street, Kowloon.
- $1,791.6 million to upgrade the United Christian Hospital in Kowloon.
- $5,757.1 million for the construction of the southern part of the former runway at Kai Tak development to provide for including six commercial sites and six residential sites.
- To increase the approved project estimate of the Phase III of the District Cooling System at Kai Tak by $606.1 million from $3,145.9 million to $3,752 million.
- $1,111.9 million for the ground decontamination works at the site of ex-Kennedy Town Incineration Plant/Abattoir and adjoining area.
Meeting of Panel on Transport
- Discussion on taxi service. Members were concerned that the taxi fee is rising so fast but the profit always goes to the rental fee of the taxi and the taxi license now costs up to $7 million. Under Secretary for Transport and Housing Yau Shing-mu replied that the ExCo took into account different factors, such as the operation cost of taxi drivers and the acceptance among the people, to decide the rise of fee. Also, the Government is seeking to issue 25 more taxi licenses in Lantau Island in light of the soaring demand from tourists, rendering the total licenses on the island to be 75.
- Discussion on MTR to raise the fare for 4.3%. Pan-dems criticised the MTR’s move and claimed that the company earns several dozen billions each year and yet, it keeps raising the fare. Yau Shing-mu said the rise is in accordance with the operation agreement between MTR and the Government.
- Discussion on the early termination of employment contract of Mr Jay Walder, former CEO of MTR. Mr Walder left his job on 15 August 2014, a year earlier than scheduled, and was found to receive $5.8 million in base pay, allowances and benefits, plus a contractual settlement of $15.7 million on the termination of his employment contract. The public reacted to his compensation with uproar in light of his poor judgment in monitoring the express railway project and other construction projects that have delayed in completion.
Gary Fan said that many reports have indicated that the bad management of MTR was the reason of the delay of the express railway project. He criticised the handsome compensation offered to Mr Walder and now he left Hong Kong, there is no way to find out the truth of the delay of the project.
June 17 Wednesday
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam moved a motion and officially tabled the reform package in LegCo.
25 members have spoken on the first day. Among them are leaders of the major parties, including Civic Party Alan Leong, Democratic Party Emily Lau, Labour Party Lee Cheuk-yan, Liberal Party Vincent Fang, DAB Starry Lee, BPA Andrew Leung and NPP Regina Ip. Others have purposely scheduled their speeches to the next day for their respective parties to have a fair exposure.
Health Services sector lawmaker Joseph Lee were among the 16 pan-dems who spoke on Wednesday and while he reiterated his stance to veto the reform package, he expressed his disappointment that people have over-speculated his voting decision and he urged those who are on the same side with the pan-dems to stop attacking each other.
Ronny Tong, who just founded a think tank called Path of Democracy, also delivered his speech and claimed he was speaking in LegCo on political reform for one last time.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam tried to convince pan-dems to change minds and said in her opening speech that the Government reform proposal is the best possible one.
June 18 Thursday
Continuation of Council meeting
16 more members spoke today, including 7 pan-dems and 9 pro-establishment members. LegCo President Jasper Tsang put the reform package to vote and announced the 5-minute voting bell at 12:30pm. After the bell was announced, Jeffrey Lam (FC- Commercial 1st, BPA) asked if the Council can suspend for 15 minutes but was rejected by Tsang who said nothing he can do once the bell was struck. Subsequently, most of the pro-establishment members walked out, including FTU Wong Kwok-kin (GC- Kowloon East), Ng Leung-sing (FC- Finance) and few more who told the press later that they didn’t know the reason for the walk-out. The rest of the members proceeded to vote and the reform package was struck down by 28 pan-dems voting in against and only 8 votes in favour. Those 8 votes came from the 5 Liberal Party members who didn’t join the walk-out, and independent members Lam Tai-fai (FC- Industrial 2nd) and Chan Kin-por (FC- Insurance), and FTU Chan Yuen-han (FC- DC 2nd). Pro-establishment members later explained to the press that the walk-out was trying to delay the voting until Lau Wong-fat (FC- Heung Yee Kuk, BPA) made his way back to LegCo and cast his vote.