High Tide (July 17th 2015) – Daily political round up

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STH: Main contractor of Kai Ching Estate should bear responsibility; Nelson Wong expelled from Democratic Party. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Government to hold main contractor responsible as plumber in concern explains contractual arrangement of pipeline binding materials.
– Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung revealed plan to set up areview (ch) committee under the Housing Authority in wake of the current lead-related events
– The committee will consisted of about 10 members to assess the existing system and mechanisms for quality assurance of materials and parts used in public housing projects
– Cheung also stated, for the first time, that the main contractor, the China State Construction International Holdings, should be held responsible for the issue
– The plumber in concern said he was only tasked to hand over documents and certification applications to the Water Supplies Department while revealing that his employer, subcontractor Ho Piu Kee, also used the same materials for pipeline binding in a hospital, more than 10 public housing estates and an unspecified number of private housing projects

Jasper Tsang hopes to see more high-quality debates in LegCo.
– LegCo president Jasper Tsang said he was pessimistic about the executive-legislative relations in the post-political reform era while summarising at the end of the legislative year
– Tsang also said he hoped to see more high quality debates from lawmakers in the future
– Finance Committee approved two more items yesterday, namely a HKD92.3m study for Environmentally Friendly Linkage System for Kowloon East and proposal to raise salaries of top officials and senior civil servants while the special meeting to discuss whether to request Nicholas Yang’s presence at the ITB debate was cancelled
– Meanwhile, the Panel on Development held (ch) a public meeting on “facilitating the redevelopment of buildings under the Civil Servants’ Co-operative Building Society Scheme” during which property owners expressed concerns over the high premium charges

Full implementation of Competition Ordinance expected in December.

– The Competition Ordinance (Commencement) (No.2) Notice 2015 (the Commencement Notice), which proposed December 14, 2015, as the date for the Competition Ordinance to be fully commenced, will be gazetted today along with the the Competition (Fees) Regulation
– The two items will be tabled at the LegCo for negative vetting on October 14The Ombudsman: Housing complaints top the list for the past year.
– The Ombudsman released its latest annual report, citing the record-high number of successful mediation when handling complaints
– It was noted that the Ombudsman received more than 5,339 complaints in the past year, with most complaints directed towards the Housing Department followed by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Lands Department
– The Ombudsman also said that a decision will be made on whether to start an investigation into the case of excessive lead in drinking water

Political (General)

Nelson Wong expelled from Democratic Party.
– The Democratic Party’s central committee has expelled Nelson Wong, one of its founding members and former lawmakers, by 17 to 7 over his open but ill-fated plan to petition for a conditional compromise with Beijing over the political reform proposal
– Wong, whose membership had already been suspended by the committee earlier, described the latest decision as “unbelievable and heartbreaking”
– Party chairwoman Emily Lau reiterated that Wong’s actions had damaged the party’s reputation
– Meanwhile, Centaline founder Shih Wing-ching has joint Ronny Tong’s Path of Democracy as an honorary adviser after Tong called for donation for his new think tank group

Two more local publications run into operational crisis.
– Singpao is suspending (ch) today’s publication as its parent company is currently facing liquidation and its bank account frozen
– The newspaper firm slammed KPMG, the provisional liquidator, for the suspension
– Meanwhile, the next magazine will also stop (ch) publication in three months owing to financial difficulties and will discuss if the firm will shift to online publication

Students march to Government House in protest of ordinance that makes CE as their chancellor.
– About 100 students, led by the University of Hong Kong students union and the Federation of Students, marched (ch) to the Government House in protest of the University of Hong Kong Ordinance which requires the Chief Executive to also be chancellors of Hong Kong’s eight universities
– Protesters burned the ordinance as police officers hoisted the yellow flag warning