High Tide (August 27th 2015) – Daily political round up

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7000 firms may face deficit under Standard Working Hours; SLW on Sept 3 holiday; Hong Kong named freest city in the world. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

7,000 enterprises may run a deficit upon standard working hours legislation.
– The Standard Working Hours Committee, after meeting for the 14th time, “agreed in principle to recommend a legislative approach to mandatorily require employers and employees in general to enter into written employment contracts specifying clearly such terms relating to working hours”
– It was estimated that about 7,000 profit-making companies could run a deficit for additional wages if the legislation is to be put forth
– Employers could face additional wages ranging from HKD103m to HKD10b under various scenarios
– The committee noted that this may force employers to hire more staff to meet the manpower needs, which in turn may “exacerbate the prevailing manpower shortage and cause a wage-inflation upward spiral”

Marine chief tapped as permanent secretary for development in latest government reshuffle.
– Director of Marine Michael Wong Wai-lun was tapped as Permanent Secretaryfor Development (Planning and Lands) with effect on August 31
– Wong assumed his current post since February 2014 to coordinate internal investigation amid the 2012 Lamma ferry tragedy
– Maisie Cheng Mei-sze, Director of Government Logistics, will replace Wong as the Marine chief while Land Registrar Mary Chow Shuk-ching will succeed Cheng

Matthew Cheung met Hong Kong Services Trade Alliance over Sept 3 holiday.
– Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung chaired a meeting with the Hong Kong Services Trade Alliance on the special holiday on Sept 3
– Cheung said the Government has accepted the group’s proposal to use the 60-day window which requires employers to grant leave within 60 days to employees who work on a statutory holiday

Political (General)

Panel set up to probe medical blunder that costs patient part of his lung. 
– The Hospital Authority is setting up a panel to probe a serious medical blunderin which a patient was misdiagnosed as having lung cancer at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and subsequently had part of his lung removed
– It was believed that the misdiagnosis was the result of the patient’s lung sample being contaminated with tissue from another patient
– The panel is expected to submit a report in eight-week time

Falling down of yet another stone wall tree intensifies debate on tree management.
– An other banyan tree growing out of stone walls collapsed onto the four-lane Pok Fu Lam Road, making it the seventh reported case of fallen trees in the past two months
– No one was injured but traffic was disrupted for more than an hour
– Inspections of the tree was carried out in January and May by the Highways Department

Hong Kong named freest city in the world amid uncertainty on personal liberty.
– Hong Kong was named the freest city in the world, according to the Human Freedom Index by the the Cato Institute
– The city scored 9.04 out of 10, and was followed by Switzerland (8.8), Finland (8.63), Denmark (8.62), New Zealand (8.61), and Canada (8.6)
– Hong Kong tops the list mainly because of its economic freedom while the institute raised concern over “interference and perceived interference by mainland China in Hong Kong’s policies and institutions including infringements on freedom of the press and the independence of the legal system”