High Tide (July 1st 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Jasper Tsang, Andy Tsang honoured; Latest estimated cost of rail link put at HKD85.3bn; Student groups protest against Amos Yee’s detention. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Jasper Tsang, Cheng Yiu-tong and Andy Tsang named in honorary list while Leung Kwok-hung and Claudia Mo ‘dishonoured’.
– LegCo President Jasper Tsang and veteran unionist Cheng Yiu-tong were, among others,awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal while former Police Commissioner Andy Tsang was in the honorary list for the Gold Bauhinia Star
– A total of 298 people were in the honorary list
– Meanwhile, League of Social Democrats’ Leung Kwok-hung and Civic Party’s Claudia Mo blasted as they were not invited as lawmakers to the annual flag-raising ceremony and the following reception for the first time
– The July 1 march will start rallying at 2pm and march from the Victoria Park to the Government Complex at 3pm

Mud fight between Government and MTR on high-speed rail link likely as latest estimate put cost at HKD85.3bn.
– The MTR Corp has set the latest estimated cost of the already delayed high-speed rail link at HKD85.3bn – 31.2% more expensive than the Government’s original entrustment fee – and will have to be delayed further from the end of 2017 to the third quarter of 2018
– Secretary for Transport and Housing Matthew Cheung hinted on a possible mud fight with the MTR Corp over who should bear the overrun, saying that “the MTR Corporation, being the entrusted project manager of the Express Rail project, bears the greatest responsibility…the Government would not accept the continuous cost overrun and let taxpayers pay for the cost of the Corporation’s performance in project management”

Six items left unprocessed in Public Works Subcommittee’s last ditch rush.
– The Public Works Subcommittee endorsed 11 items in its last meeting in the 2014/2015 year, including 10 signature project scheme projects in seven districts, construction of the East Kowloon Cultural Centre, and an effluent polishing plant in Yuen Long among others
– Six items including three revitalisation scheme projects and an additional funding request for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge were yet to be dealt with
– CY Leung, meanwhile, said (ch) it was “disappointing” that only two items out of 11 were endorsed in the Finance Committee after six hours of meeting and urged the committee to speed up the process

New regulations on clean vessel fuel implemented.
– The Government has announced that the new regulation requiring all ocean-going vessels (OGVs) to use cleaner fuel while berthing in Hong Kong will be implemented starting from today
– Under the regulation, OGVs are required to keep the sulphur content of compliant low-sulphur fuel to be below 0.5% and a maximum fine of HKD200,000 is imposed for non-compliance

Political (General)

Paul Tse the whistle-blower?
Rumours (ch) were pointing against independent pro-est lawmaker Paul Tse over the Whatsapp leakage drama
– When asked by reporters whether the whistle-blower used to wear short pants – as Paul Tse does – DAB lawmaker Christopher Chung said, “why would you make it that explicit?”
– Tse said he did not want to comment on the event anymore

Johannes Chan slams HKU Council’s decision to defer senior appointment.
– The University of Hong Kong’s Council has decided to defer the appointment of its pro-democracy scholar Johannes Chan and to submit the report over handling of donations by Occupy co-founder and associate professor Benny Tai to the management for further discussion
– Chan ridiculed the Council’s explanation claiming that the appointment should wait until the university has hired its new provost who would then give his or her views on the appointment

Student groups protest against suppression of Amos Yee by the Singaporean authority.
– Student group Scholarism and student unions of the University of Hong Kong and Lingnan University held a petition outside the Singaporean consulate urging the authorities to release Amos Yee, a teen blogger who was held in a mental institution after criticising Lee Kwan Yew on Youtube
– Meanwhile, about 5500 people have signed an online petition calling as well for Yee’s release

Commentators association sues book store and author for “foreign influence” libel.
– The Independent Commentators Association is seeking legal action over an allegedlibel (ch) by the author of a book claiming close connection between the association and the US National Endowment for Democracy during the Occupy Movement
– A senior manager of the Joint Publishing book store, which was also sued by the association, said there would be no further action before consulting with the lawyer
– The author reportedly hang up the phone after knowing that it was a call by a journalist