High Tide (October 9th 2015) – Daily political round up

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CS defends civil servants’ role in lead-in-water saga; House Committee to vote on key posts; Former FS to launch platform on education.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Government & LegCo

Government blames plumbers and contractors for lead-in-water blunder
– Chief Secretary Carrie Lam stated at a House Committee special meeting that civil servants involved in the lead-in-water scandal had just been following procedures which had flaws lain in the system of monitoring water quality
– Democrat Emily Lau blasted Lam for setting officials free when the two review committees and the independent investigation task force have yet to completed their works
– The Government meanwhile vowed to check water samples of all public estates, including those built before 2005, 13 weeks after the scandal arose
– The Housing Authority was also considering blacklisting three water supplies contractors and three licensed plumbers after punishing four building contractors

Ma Fung-kwok to take on pan-dem as House Committee votes on key posts
– The Housing Committee will decide today who to become its new chairman and vice-chairman
– The pro-est camp would nominate Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication lawmaker Ma Fung Kwok (ch) to take on democrat Sin Chung-kai for the vice-chairman post after pan-dems declared total war to contest key positions in all LegCo committees, subcommittees and panels
– Liberal Party is likely to side with the pan-dems this time while pro-est lawmakers such as Lau Wong-fat might not show up (understandably), so Sin’s chance does not look as slim as it seems

Political (General)

Former FS reveals plan to launch group to review education system; denies connection to CE elections
– Former Financial Secretary Antony Leung (ch) revealed his plan to form a platform to review the city’s education system
– Members would include Tai Hay-lap and Professor Cheng Kai-ming, Leung’s former colleagues when putting forward the education reform as FS (Cheng, by the way, recently blasted pro-Beijing media for the non-stop propaganda against Johannes Chan)
– Leung denied the move as a preparation for him to run in the 2017 CE elections, of which he was seen as one of the possible candidates, saying that “this [the platform] is not a good position [for preparation works] anyway”

Reshuffle in students and lawmakers representation in HKU
– An online election will take place on October 19 to decide the new postgraduate student representation in the University of Hong Kong’s Council
– Contenders included mainlander Zhu Ke and a local student Mak Wing-man
– Lawmakers will discuss today at the House Committee meeting their five representatives in the 60-member HKU-court
– Paul Tse from the pro-est camp said there was no plan to break the balance of appointing three pro-est representatives and two pan-dems to the court
– The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, published an article titled ‘Hong Kong University Purge‘ concerning the rejection of Johannes Chan’s appointment, saying that “the government is taking revenge against pro-democracy voices in the academy”

Pan-dems ‘super district councillors’ likely to fight a two-front war
– Democrat Albert Ho and Frederick Fung of the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, the two incumbent super district councillors (ch)’ in the LegCo, would face challenge from both the pro-democracy and pro-est forces as they attempted to retain their DC seats in their respective constituencies
– Frederick Fung would take on his former colleague Eric Wong and a challenger from the pro-est Federation of Trade Unions while Albert Ho might encounter Civic Passion’s Cheng Chung Tai and the pro-Beijing former Law Society president Junius Ho Kwan Yiu
– Meanwhile, pan-dems lawmakers Kenneth Chan Ka-lok and James To confirmed running in the DC elections in bid to run for the ‘super seats‘ in next year’s LegCo elections

Avenue of Stars closed for controversial three-year revamp works
– The Avenue of Stars was closed to the public for a controversial three-year revamp works despite ongoing public debate and promise from the Government that a public consultation would be relaunched
– The Harbourfront Commission issued a press release on Wednesday, condemning the move and criticising the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the New World Development for “work first, then consultation”
– The watchdog also slammed the “phony” consultation and requested suspension of the closure