High Tide (January 22nd 2016) – Daily political round up

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Copyright bill second reading endorsed; FS considers tax relief measures for Budget 2016/17.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Gov’t & LegCo

Second reading of copyright bill endorsed
– Pan-dems did a blunder as the pro-est camp managed to put an end on thecopyright bill second reading filibustering
– ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung failed to get back to the Chamber in time when ADPL’s Frederick Fung finished his speech earlier than expected, leaving no pan-dem to keep the debate going and allowed president Jasper Tsang to proceed to the concluding stage
– Leung protested the decision, throwing his mobile phone in the process, but was voided by Tsang
– The bill was passed with 37 votes to 25
– Labour Party’s Cyd Ho moved a motion to transfer the bill to a new select committee, and if blocked, the bill will proceed to the ‘committee of the whole’ stage to review each section of the bill alongside some 50 amendments
– The process could be dragged even longer, but Chief Secretary Carrie Lamreiterated that the government had no plan to withdraw the bill despite some pro-est lawmakers suggesting so

Financial Secretary considering tax relief measures and PRH waiver ahead of Budget 2016/2017
Sing Tao reported that Financial Secretary was considering to offer tax relief measures and a one-month waiver for public rental housing (PRH) owners (ch) in his upcoming Budget proposal
– PwC earlier estimated budget surplus for the fiscal year 2015-16 at a record high HKD95.5bn while the government put the figure at around HKD80bn
– However, the government announced in December an injection of HKD45bn into the Housing Reserve, meaning that the actual surplus would be smaller

Filibustering in LegCo can left new electronic equipment treatment facility vacant, environment chief says
– Construction of a HKD550 million Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Treatment and Recycling Facility (WEEETRF) (ch) commenced yesterday, but Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing worried that the Producer Responsibility Schemes might not get a timely passage in the LegCo by 2017 due to filibustering
– The construction is expected to complete in mid 2017 and can process 30,000 tonnes of electronic equipment a year

General Politics

Not just Causeway Bay Bookstore: Frontline Magazine staff once detained by mainland authorities last October
– As US Senator John McCain (ch) joined the British and Swedish authorities in expressing concern over the case of the five missing booksellers, chief editor ofFrontline Magazine (ch) Lau Tat-man said one of his staff had also been detained by mainland law enforcement agency when visiting Dongguan, Guangdong, last October, about the same time when the Causeway Bay Bookstore saga first broke out
– Lau said his man was questioned by the mainland police over the internal information of the press and was released afterward
Frontline Magazine is known for its critical stance against Beijing and is banned in the mainland