High Tide (October 18th 2015) – Daily political round up

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CE backs CS’s remarks on lead-in-water saga; SED defends CE as universities’ chancellor.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Government & LegCo

CY Leung backs CS’s ‘order of dignity’ to officials in lead-in-water row
– CY Leung, who just ended his trip to Israel and the UK, backed Chief Secretary Carrie Lam’s recent statements on the lead-in-water saga and reiterated her remarks, stressing that “pressuring officials into drinking water, especially that which they claim contains lead, is not the normal and proper thing to do”
– Leung arrived late for a few minutes at a luncheon with business and industrial representatives in London and explained that he was caught by a shopping mall’s Chinese flag (ch) on his way to the venue

Eddie Ng defends laws that make CE chancellor of universities
– Secretary for Education dismissed calls by university students to scrap laws that make the CE chancellor for all public universities and told students to learn from their Singaporean counterparts who “focused on the learning process
– The Hong Kong Federation of Students and the students’ unions of eight universities are planning to hold their respective referendums by February to seek opinions on amending the laws to remove the CE as chancellor and increase the proportion of student and staff representatives in the universities’ governing bodies

Paul Chan assures achieving housing supply targets; dismisses suggestion to move police college to Lamma Island
– Speaking at a land supply forum with five professional groups, Secretary for Development Paul Chan said the Government is likely to achieve the housing supply targets for the coming two years with a note on the dropping property prices in the secondary market
– The Government’s plan is to provide 480,000 new flats in 10 years, among which 60% would be public housing
– Meanwhile, Chan dismissed a suggestion given by a representative from the Hong Kong Institute of Architects to move the Police College (ch) in Wong Chuk Hang to Lamma Island for land in urban area, citing the Security Bureau’s response that they have “no such plan at the moment”

Welfare minister calls on impatient labour representatives on standard working hours to get around the table
– Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung called on labour representatives in the Standard Working Hours Committee to “carry on at the discussion table”
– Six out of 12 labour representatives in the body earlier threatened the leave the body if it failed to offer a timely proposal on standard working hours legislation
– Stanley Ng Chau-pei, chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, and Leung Chau-ting, chief executive of the Federation of Civil Service Unions, criticised the committee’s slow progress and biased attitude on different media platforms hours before the minister’s remarks

Politics (General)

Netizens add voice against issuing HK driving licences to mainland drivers
HKFP reported on increasing concerns over mainland drivers acquiring Hong Kong driving licences amid a complaint posted on social media with a photo portraying mainlanders lining up at the licensing office of the Transport Department
– According to the report, 187,900 applications were approved between 2007 and the end of this September under a 2003 HK-China Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement which allows mainland drivers to obtain Hong Kong driving licences without taking an extra driving test
– In wake of the surge, the UK had already ceased issuing direct licences to Hong Kong drivers in 2013 to close the loophole