High Tide (September 22nd 2015) – Daily political round up

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Gov’t officials to downplay ‘de-colonisation’ remarks amid more words from Chen Zuo’er; Michael Tien warns of withdrawal of express rail link contractors.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Senior officials downplay Chen Zuo’er’s ‘de-colonisation’ remarks
– Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen was the latest senior official after Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam and Financial Secretary John Tsang to comment on former Beijing official Chen Zuo’er’s speech on ‘de-colonisation’, stressing that “there is only one standard which is the Basic Law” which “specified the laws and system applicable to Hong Kong since its reversion to China’s sovereignty”
– Yuen said systems used during colonial times such as the common law and judicial systems are “beneficial to Hong Kong”
– As if his initial remarks were not enough, Chen followed up and said elements in the society that are “contrary to national sovereignty and security” would constitute a failure to de-colonialise
– Meanwhile, when debating with Hong Kong Indigenous’ spokesperson Ray Wong on Hongkongers’ identity, Michael Tien from the New People’s Party said, “Look at the colour of your skin (ch), I don’t know what you should call yourself if you are not a Chinese.”

Government to look into stricter rules on clubhouses
– The Government is considering to impose stricter regulations on private recreational leases (ch), including demanding clubhouses to pay the land premium when renewing their leases and lengthen the time open to public use
– 13 clubhouses will have their leases expired between 2018 and 2056 while only two would have to apply for a renewal in the coming five years

SJ: Public opinion important when considering ATV’s latest licence application
– Speaking on ATV’s latest licence application with a promise to investment HKD5.1bn in six years, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen said the Communications Authority will handle the application in accordance to established procedures and stressed that public opinion is a crucial factor in the consultation process
– Meanwhile, Yuen welcomed a joint film venture by Warner Bros and China Media Capital to set up headquarters in Hong Kong, and said he was informed that both Chinese and English films will be produced

Political (General)

LegCo’s transport chief warns of withdrawal of contractors for high-speed rail link
– Michael Tien, chairman of the LegCo’s Panel on Transport, warned ofwithdrawal of high-speed rail link contractors (ch) if the Government failed to grant more funding, leading to further delays and over-budget
– Tien said the Express Rail Link West Kowloon Terminus suffered the most serious delays and that the current ‘over-expenditure’ already stood at HKD1.6bn
– It was reported that unsettled claims from the contractors soared from HKD11.7bn by the end of last year to HKD17.4bn in June

BPA forms business platform in protest of abandoning MPF hedging mechanism
– The pro-business and pro-est Business and Professionals Alliance (ch) proposed the creation of a business platform formed by major business bodies and the Liberal Party to oppose abandoning the MPF hedging mechanism
– Liberal Party’s James Tien said while he welcomed the move, his party will not joined the platform considering the BPA and the five major business bodies’ “past records of compromising with the Government”

Over 400 rally against ban on pet dogs at public housing estates
– Over 400 people gathered outside the LegCo Complex to urge the Government to allow pet dogs at public housing estates following recent crackdowns by the Housing Authority
– Joining the event was Civic Party’s Claudia Mo, who said while owning dogs at public housing estates violated the spirit of contract, the content of the contract itself may not be necessarily reasonable