High Tide (November 28th 2015) – Daily political round up

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New CEPA agreement signed; Employee rep. threaten to boycott next SWHC meeting; AA reports on costly Third Runway.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Gov’t & LegCo

New CEPA agreement signed to facilitate cross-border trade in services
– The Agreement on Trade in Services under the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) framework was signed by Financial Secretary John Tsang and Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen with the presence of CY Leung and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So
– The agreement covers various sectors including legal services, accounting, construction, insurance, securities, banking, telecoms and culture
– The agreement also confirmed Hong Kong’s status to enjoy a “most-favoured treatment” provision of preferential liberalisation measures of the Mainland

Employee representatives walk out of SWHC meeting, threaten boycotting next one
– Six employee representatives stormed out of the latest Standard Working Hours Committee meeting, slamming their employer counterparts for refusing to discuss legislation issues
– They also threatened to boycott the next meeting if the committee continued to discuss contract-based options instead
– Committee chairman Edward Leong called on the representatives to take part in the next meeting, but stressed that it would be held anyway
– The committee yesterday discussed a new scenario of which employees with a monthly salary of HKD25,000 or less would receive 1.5 times the hourly salary rate for every extra hour if working for more than 44 hours a week

Developer and indigenous villagers convicted of HKD4.3m illegal transfer of ‘small houses’ development rights
– A developer and 11 villagers were convicted of a ‘small houses‘ scheme
– The villagers allegedly selling their ‘small houses’ development rights to a developer at a total of HKD4.3m between 2008 and 2011
– The court ruled that the scheme was against the government’s policy which was introduced since 1972 to allow indigenous villagers to have their own houses

Airport Authority submits report to LegCo over costly Third Runway project

– The Airport Authority submitted a report to the LegCo, explaining the huge increase of costs of the Third Runway project based on a March 2014 estimate
– According to the report, most of the constructions would cost 70 more compared with estimates given in the fourth quarter of 2010, among which the third runway concourse would be 87% more expansive that the 2010 estimate
– The Terminal 2 expansion project, meanwhile, will cost HKD16.5bn, five times the expense when it was originally built in 2007

Tendering for incinerator project to launch next year as court rejects judicial review
– The Court of Final Appeal rejected a legal challenge by a Cheung Chau resident to halt the construction of an incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau
– Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing welcomed the decision and said tendering for the HKD19bn project will take place next year
– Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Department launched the Restored Landfill Revitalisation Funding Scheme to “expedite the development of gainful facilities at restored landfills”

Education Bureau holds TSA seminar, barring parents not invited by FPTAs from entering
– Some 10 concerned parents were barred from participating in a TSA seminar (ch) held by the Education Bureau
– An official from the Bureau later explained to the parents that the seminar was not open to public and only those who were invited by the Federations of Parent-Teacher Associations could join
– The FPTAs had been accused of taking a pro-Beijing stance by the pro-democracy camp – Justice Alliance leader Leticia Lee See-Yin is the chairman of the Yau Tsim Mong District FPTA

Politics (General)

Elected DC candidate accused of manipulating elderly votes ‘handed gifts’ for half a year
– DAB’s Daniel Lam Tak-shing, who recently beat the incumbent pan-dem district councillor Pius Yum Kwok-tung in the Hung Hom constituency 371 votes and was accused of taking residents of a care home to polling stations, was said to be handing out presents to the residents regularly for half a year prior to the elections
– The head of the care home said who the elderly people supported was beyond her control and that Lam “totally deserved to win”