High Tide (June 26th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Jasper Tsang dragged into whatsapp scandal; Pro-est urged to “learn the lesson”; US’s report on HK’s political participation. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

LegCo President Jasper Tsang refuses to resign after the Whatsapp scandal.
– Series of Whatsapp conversations among pro-est lawmakers during the LegCo debate on political reform package were reportedly leaked with LegCo President Jasper Tsang becoming the talking point
– Tsang, despite having vowed to refrain from participating in party affairs, was actively involved in the conversations, calling People Power’s Albert Chan as a “thief” and discussing strategy with the pro-est camp
– 23 pan-dem lawmakers issued a joint-statement urging Tsang to provide explanation and apologise
– Tsang defended himself by claiming that he has done nothing that compromised his integrity and neutrality
– Meanwhile, another leakage of Whatsapp conversation among Hong Kong’s delegation to the NPC saw delegates blasting (ch) pro-est lawmakers for the blunder

Securities and Futures Commission rejects weighted voting rights proposal.
– The Securities and Futures Commission opposed to the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing over introducing weighted voting rights (WVR) in the second phase consultation as “Hong Kong’s securities markets and reputation would be harmed if WVR structures became commonplace”
– All changes to listing rules must go through the SFC
– Hong Kong’s tycoon Li Ka-shing also spoke against the proposal earlier

Hong Kong and Thailand sign agreement to cooperate on investment promotion.
– Invest Hong Kong and the Thailand Board of Investment signed a MOU on investment promotion cooperation in the presence of Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So and Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand Pridiyathorn Devakula
– So, meanwhile, responded (ch) to reporters that the Communications Authority has yet received notice of change in share structure from the ATV

Hong Kong’s airlines licencing body turns down Jetstar application.
– The Airline Transport Licencing Authority has turned down the application by Jetstar Hong Kong, citing that the company did not comply with an article in the Basic Law in having its principal place of business in the city
– The application was earlier opposed by Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express Airways

MTR board to hold meeting amid more overrun.
– The MTR board will reportedly hold a meeting today as sources suggested thatoverrun (ch) of the high-speed rail link could hit HKD25bn and that more delays were expected
– Last year, the construction cost of the rail link was adjusted by the MTR Corp to HKD71.5bn – the sum could well hit HKD90bn according to former highway chief Michael Tien’s estimation

Political (General)

Pro-est lawmakers urged to “learn the lesson” in meeting with Liaison Office head.
– Pro-est lawmakers were praised for their support for the political reform during a tea gathering with at Liaison Office
– The lawmakers were not blamed for the walk-out scandal but were urged to “learn from the lesson”
– DAB’s Tam Yiu-chung meanwhile referred to Office director Zhang Xiaoming saying that Beijing will invite Hong Kong legislator to attend a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII

Authorities accused of political suppression for refusing to issue approval for street booths for July 1 march.
– The Civil Human Rights Front slammed (ch) the authorities for refusing to grant entry into the Citizen’s Square during the July 1 march
– The activist group was also denied approval to set up street booths as the group suspected that the Police had asked the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department not to issue temporary hawker licence to the protesters

Union of social welfare employees blasts Po Leung Kuk over exploitation.
– The Social Welfare Organisations Employees Union criticised (ch) Po Leung Kuk for underpaying its employees despite receiving huge amount of cash grant and a HKD160m reserve
– Spokesman of the union claimed that the Kuk did not follow the 6% pay-rise for civil servants and opted for no more than 5% for its employees instead

Education group raises concern over school bus shortage.
– The Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers expressed (ch) concerns over difficulties for schools to hire school bus services and urged the Transport Department and the industry to set up an online platform for schools and parents to enquire information about school bus services
– An survey conducted by the federation found that only one school bus services provider out of seven responded for quotes in average

China & World

US Department of State warns of limitations of political participation and freedom of press in Hong Kong.
– The US Department of State released the annual Reports on Human Rights Practices, of which Hong Kong’s recent political development was touched upon
– In the summary of the report, it was stated that the most important problems were “the limited ability of citizens to participate in and change their government through the right to vote in free and fair elections, limitations on freedom of the press and incidents of violence against the media, and a legislature with limited powers in which certain sectors of society wielded disproportionate political influence.”