High Tide (June 20th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Livelihood measures put ahead of ITB proposal; Govt approves NT development plan; UK minister disappointed over HK electoral reform outcome. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Friendly fire among pro-est camp continues over political reform package embarrassment.
– Yesterday saw the pro-est camp lawmakers criticising themselves and each other for the poorly coordinated walk-out leading to an embarrassing result of the reform package being blocked by 28 to 8
– Some of those who left the chamber, such as Michael Tien from New People’s Party, Federation of Trade Unions’ Wong Kwok-kin and DAB’s Ann Chiang, and those who stayed behind, such as independent Lam Tai-fai and Liberal Party’s Chung Kwok-pan, all said someone should be held responsible for the result
– Business and Professionals Alliance’s Jeffrey Lam, who first raised the suggestion of waiting for his colleague Lau Wong-fat to cast the vote, and DAB’s Ip Kwok-him, who initiated the walk-out, both apologised for the drama
– Lam also sent (ch) a text message saying that he should bare most of the responsibilities and that the pro-est camp could not afford breaking apart
– Regina Ip, meanwhile, burst into tears when attending a radio show with the presence of Civic Party’s Alan Leong, admitting that she should have stayed behind and vote
– Civic Party released (ch) a statement slamming some pro-est lawmakers rushing to explain (more likely a beg for mercy) to the Liaison Office as Finance legislator Ng Leung-sing and BPA’s Abraham Shek were spotted entering the Liaison Office building yesterday

Lawmakers welcome CE’s move to table livelihood measures ahead of ITB proposal.
– CY Leung announced that 10 measures related to people’s livelihood, including measures stated in the Buget, constructions of a rehab centre and a residential care home, pay rise for civil servants, an injection of HKD1.5b into the SME funds and a HKD1b recycling fund will be put ahead of the Innovation & Technology Bureau proposal in the Finance Committee agenda
– Leung said the Government is making “the first move to work together with LegCo to seize the opportunities for developing the economy and addressing livelihood issues” rejected accusation that the ITB proposal is jumping the queue as the proposal “as we all know has been around for three years”
– Lawmakers, including pan-dems, welcomed the move and indicated that no filibustering tactic will be deployed as far as the first 10 measures are concerned

Government approves New Territories development plan as the public remains distracted by the reform drama.
– The Chief Executive in Council has given green-light six Outline Zoning Plans in Northeastern and Northern parts of the New Territories, of which two (Faning North and Kwu Tung North) were directly related to the controversial NE NT development plan
– The Town Planning Board earlier in April submitted the proposal to the Executive Council despite fierce oppositions from inhabitants and various concern groups

China & World

UK minister “disappointed” by electoral reform outcome.
– The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister of State Hugo Swire said his government is “disappointed by the outcome of this electoral reform process. We continue to believe that a transition to universal suffrage is the best way to guarantee Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity, and is in everyone’s interest”
– Swire, a 3rd great grandson of founder of the Swire Group John Swire, earlier expressed frustration as he did not secure a meeting with any of Hong Kong’s top officials – the first time a representative from the HM Government would have faced such ‘insult’