High Tide (October 29th 2015) – Daily political round up

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Audio clip of controversial HKU Council meeting leaked; CS tones down the term ‘universal’ for retirement protection scheme.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Government & LegCo

Education Bureau condemns leakage of tape of HKU Council meeting on rejection of Johannes Chan’s appointment
– An audio clip (youtube) of Arthur Li explaining his position against the appointment of Johannes Chan as the University of Hong Kong’s pro-vice-chancellor at the much-debated HKU Council meeting was leaked to the public through a Commercial Radio programme
– In the tape, while saying that Johannes Chan was a “nice guy”, Li questioned if the pro-democracy law professor can “be in charge of promotion of another person…and give an honest independent objective view” when he “has not gone through the same rigours as that other person”, confirming what Billy Fung disclosed right after the meeting
– Li also raised ‘concerns’ over (pro-democracy) political parties’ interests in the appointment matter, asking if the parties wanted to put Johannes Chan in the Council as a “party secretary” like what the Communist Party has in mainland universities
– HKU had reported to the Police on the incident
– The Education Bureau “strongly condemned” the leakage, stating: “Any act which violates the system of confidentiality in order to serve any other purpose not only seriously impairs the normal and effective operation of the University’s supreme governing body but also undermines its institutional autonomy

LegCo to continue debate on ‘one belt, one road’ initiative
– Legislators will continue to debate on a motion moved by Commercial (Second) lawmaker Martin Liao on riding on mainland’s ‘one belt, one road’ initiative
– Lee Cheuk-yan of Labour Party slammed the Government for carrying out “political missions (ch)” in the market
– The LegCo earlier approved in third reading the Peak Tramway (Amendment) Bill 2015 which would grant the Peak Tramways Company another 10 years of operation right starting from next year

SWH committee considers scenario to cover half of Hong Kong’s working population
– The Standard Working Hours Committee took into consideration in its 16th meeting a new, 28th scenario in respect of “employees with monthly wages not exceeding $25,000, weekly working hours exceeding 44 hours and overtime pay rate at 1:1.5″
– The scenario would cover about 1.9m employees out of the 3.9m working population
– Medical lawmaker Leung Ka-lau, meanwhile, urged the Hospital Authority to introduce standard working hours for public doctors who worked an average of 48.5 hours a week

Chief Secretary dismisses debate on the term ‘universal’ over retirement protection proposal
– Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, who chaired the Commission on Poverty meetings, said whether the retirement protection scheme under discussion was labelled universal or not should not be the centre of debate
– Lam’s remarks followed media coverage reporting that the Commission had dropped the term “universal” in an unreleased public consultation paper and instead grouped the proposals into two categories, namely “Regardless of rich or poor” and “Based on economic needs”
– Lam said, “I can only explain that in the Chinese versions that we have presented to the Commission on Poverty, which have been accepted by the majority of non-official members of the Commission on Poverty, is really what I would say is “call a spade a spade””
– Lam, meanwhile, pledged during a LegCo meeting that the much-delayed – and reportedly incompetent – HKD575m air traffic control system purchased by the by the Civil Aviation Department will not be in place until its safety and reliability are assured

CY Leung inspects alternate airport route under HZMB project
– CY Leung visited the construction site of the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Linkunder the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) project with the accompany of Director of Highways Lau Ka-keung
– Leung said the the link, which would serve as an alternative route to the airport (that the authorities suddenly realised the significance of having such) was within budget so far and the progress was looking good
– Construction work of the 9km-long link started in mid-2013 after the LegCo’s Finance Committee granted a HKD44.8bn funding
– The 5km sub-sea tunnels that would connect Tuen Mun with the boundary crossing facilities to the HZMB are expected to be completed in late 2018

Politics (General)

Pro-Beijing group to hold anti-Occupy anniversary gallery exhibition
– The pro-Beijing Alliance for Peace and Democracy will hold a city-wide gallery exhibition in the upcoming three consecutive weekends to mark the anniversary of the group’s ‘historic’ anti-Occupy petition (ch) which collected 1.83m signatures
– During the announcement an executive member of the Alliance described the Occupy Movement as another major unrest “after the 1967 riots” and condemned the protesters