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

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Gov’t to look into abandoning MPF hedging mechanism; Tommy Cheung gives up bid for House Committee chairman post.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Government considers scraping MPF hedging mechanism
– Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung said the Government was analysing the scenario of abandoning the MPF hedging mechanism (ch) which allowed employers to offset severance and long-service payments to employees against their contributions to an employee’s MPF
– Cheung stressed that the idea remained in an initial stage and the Government has no preference over the subject

HKETO established in Jakarta
– CY Leung met Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla in Jakarta and thanked the Indonesian authority for allowing the establishment of a Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in the city – the 12th office in a foreign country
– Leung said, “As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretariat is located in Jakarta, it will greatly facilitate the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s follow-up work on the Hong Kong-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.”

Tommy Cheung withdraws from race for House Committee chairman post
– Liberal Party’s Tommy Cheung withdrew from the race for the No.2 position in LegCo
– Cheung reportedly failed to again enough supports from the pro-est camp in bid for the House Committee chairman post that is currently held by BPA’s Andrew Leung

Political (General)

Export forecast revised downward to zero amid uncertainties in global economy
– The Hong Kong Trade Development Council revised downward the city’s export forecast this year from 3% to null amid uncertainties in global economy
– The TDC’s export index, which indicates business confidence in the export sector, plunged from 46.8 in the previous quarter to 37.1 in this quarter

Chief Justice speaks out against CE’s ‘transcendent’ position
– Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma upheld Hong Kong’s judicial independence and stressed that everybody is equal before the law – without exception
– Ma’s statement came hours after CY Leung said the status of CE “is indeed transcendent”
– Meanwhile, Basic Law Committee member Rao Geping claimed that it is incorrect to describe Hong Kong’s political structure as a separation of powers and that some judges in the city did not have an accurate understanding of the Basic Law
– The Government arranged 30 students to experience a half-day detentions in the Stanley prison and mock criminal trials and stressed that the programme was not meant to deter radical student activists but was an anti-drug initiative instead

HKIEd a step closer to obtaining university status
– The University Grants Committee submitted a report to the Education Bureau and recommended that the Hong Kong Institute of Education should be granteduniversity status with a requirement that the new title shall contain the word “Education”
– The HKIEd is expected to change its name early next year and will become Hong Kong’s eight university upon approval by the Education Bureau