High Tide (October 23rd 2015) – Daily political round up

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HA approves pay rise for doctors; Dodgy CY Leung at LegCo’s Q&A session; Arthur Li reportedly the next HKU Council chair.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Government & LegCo

HA Board ruled in favour of 3% pay rise for doctors
– The Hospital Authority Board approved its staff’s demand for a 3% pay rise in line with civil servants
– HA chairman John Leong Chi-yan said its Finance Committee will discuss details of the plan and pass them on at a board meeting on Nov 19
– The Hong Kong Public Doctors’ Association welcomed the positive response but stressed that the pay rise has to be filly backdated to Oct 2014, same as civil servants
– The HA also endorsed the action plan for the recommendations of the Steering Committee on Review of the Hospital Authority and over 100 action items will be implemented in the coming three years in accordance

Dodgy CY Leung blasted by lawmakers over unfulfilled election pledges
– Lawmakers representing the labour sector, including those from the pan-dem Labour Party and pro-est Federation of Trade Unions, bombarded CY Leung at the LegCo’s Q&A session over how possibly could he fulfil his pledges on labour and business policies in the rest of his term
– Leung’s unfulfilled election pledges included abolishing the MPF offset mechanism, legislation on standard working hours, and measures to improve the business environment for SMEs
– Leung stressed that whether his promises could be achieved will depend on the attitudes of both the employer side and the employee side
– Leung also refused to answer questions about the HKD50m payments he allegedly received from Australian corporation UGL
– Leung Kwok-hung (‘Long Hair’) of the League of Social Democrats and Albert Chan and Raymond Chan of People Power were ordered to leave the chamber after protesting against Leung’s dodgy attitude
– Independent lawmaker Wong Yuk-man asked CY Leung when he will die, ruled valid by President Jasper Tsang, and Lenug sidestepped the question by citing a line of Mao Zedong’s poetry – “Having too many grumbles is detrimental to health” – and wished Wong longevity
– Typical stuff so far – until Dr Joseph Lee Kok-long asked Leung a question on ‘decolonialisation’ of mailboxes, saying that he was inspired in a conversation with a six-year-old girl

Travel Industry Council probes ‘forced’ shopping tours amid death of Chinese tourist
– The Travel Industry Council is investigating whether a mainland tour agency and agency Tian Ma International (Hong Kong) Travel Limited charged excessively low fees to a mainland Chinese tour group joined by a tourist who died after beaten up when trying to mediate a row between another tourist and the tour guide
– Council chairman Michael Wu Siu-ieng said the tour agency could have breached mainland tourism laws for charging fees lower than the costs of the tour and will refer to National Tourism Administration to follow-up if found so
– Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So said the Government will work with the Mainland authority to examine possible measures to tackle forced shopping by tour groups

HKTV licence ruling put on hold as until court concludes government’s appeal
– Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung put on hold his earlier order for the ExCo to reconsider HKTV’s application for a free-to-air television licence after agreeing to the Government’s case that it could be a waste of public resources if the Government’s appeal, scheduled for Feb 17, was successful
– Au previously ruled based on a 1998 pro-competition policy that there should be no limit on the number of free-to-air licences issued and ordered the ExCo to reconsider the application in accordance

Police commemorate Force Remembrance Day 
– Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung led a commemoration at the Force Remembrance Day to pay tribute to officers gave their lives while on duty
– “[W]e honour the memory of those who, whilst performing their sworn duty, have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in the service of the people of Hong Kong, including those who perished during the riots in 1967,” Lo said when delivering a speech

Politics (General)

More rumours over King Arthur as next HKU Council chairman
– There were more rumours over ExCo member Arthur Li being appointed by CY Leung as the HKU Council’s chairman (ch) after the incumbent Edward Leong resigned in Nov 6 as the DBC, of which Li is a director, sent out messages confirming the appointment
– HKU students will hold a referendum next week urging that the chairman candidate must be accepted by the university’s teaching staff and students
– 152 teaching staff responded to an earlier survey, among which 87% had no confidence in Li should he be the next chairman

Localist dc elections candidate ‘willing to withdraw’ after being revealed that he joined pro-CY group
– District Council elections candidate Ho Wai-cheung, representing the localist the Tuen Mun Community Concern Group to run in Fu Tai constituency in Tuen Mun, said he would withdraw from the election, as it has been revealed that he joined a pro-CY Leung group which attacked anti-CY Leung protesters back in 2013
– Ho, in a statement, said he “was instigated by friends to start conflicts with protesters in the 2013 protest” but “did not attempt, nor have the intention, to harm anybody”, stressing that he changed his stance after joining a student organisation last December to learn more about politics
– “To show my sincerity, I am willing to withdraw from district council election activities, and resign from the Tuen Mun Community Concern Group,” Ho wrote
– The Tuen Mun Community Concern Group apologised for not being able to investigate the background of some of its candidates due to insufficient election preparation time
– As HKFP reported, however, withdrawal from the elections will not be accepted after the closing of the nomination period on Oct 15