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    十一月 2010

    週二 30 十一月 2010

    30 Nov 2010 列印 Email

    Category

       Social Security Policy

    Issue

    • The Tenth Anniversary of the Mandatory Provident Fund

    News Content

    • On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the Mandatory Provident Fund, the MPF head Anna Wu Hung-yuk said yesterday the MPF is failing to provide full retirement security, and a debate is needed on how it can be improved.
    • Wu said there was an urgent need to address the fund in view of the plight of elderly people living in poverty, and the aging population. She also noted that fund was not for all, as it only cares the working population. Family housewives’ contribution is totally neglected, thus not recognized.
    • She added it was time to look at the World Bank’s two extra pillars to retirement protection published in 2005 – a non-contributory social pension and support in health care, housing and individual assets.

    Questions

    • Retirement benefits comprised! Even Wu admitted said retirement benefits were also being reduced by an arrangement that allows severance and long-service payments to be offset against MPF benefits when an employee retires. In the first six months of the year, about HK$1.1 billion of MPF-accrued benefits were used in this way!
    • An extremely high administrative cost! The yearly administrative cost is reported to be as high as 6.5 billion.
    • The MPF fails to address the immediate retirement needs. Elderly people are frequently seen on the street, collecting paper boxes or newspaper to make a dollar or two. It is unacceptable for a prosperous city like Hong Kong to turn a blind eye to the plight of the elderly people.
    • The MPF also fails to provide a pension for all. The housewives who have been contributing to the development of prosperous Hong Kong are rejected and recognized.
    • The pension should be designed for all, and cared for all, but the tiny proportion of the population, such as the finance and banking industry. Is it a business? No, it is not a business. It should be socially run, and socially beneficial.


    週一 29 十一月 2010

    29 Nov 2010 列印 Email

    Category

       Land Policies

    Issue

    • Hong Kong-Guangzhou high speed rail line

    News Content

    • SCMP reports today that a 85,000 sq. metre site in Lung Kwun Tan, Tuen Mun, which is partly owned by executive councilor and Heung Yee Kuk chief Lau Wong-fat , was cleared and leveled for future dumping of waste soil from construction of the Hong Kong-Guangzhou high-speed rail link.
    • The site was rented by Lung Kwu Tan village chief Lau Wai-ping two months ago. Village chief Lau said the waste would be stored at the site for two years and then handed back to Lau Wong-fat, whom he thought had always wanted to develop it for housing. But Lau Wong-fat declined to comment.
    • But the land clearance has sparked concern from green activists, as the site which they say was a butterfly hot spot. Dr. Cheng Luk-ki, the research head of Green Power, said the site had been damaged over the past decade. Cheng suspected damage was done to pre-empt any attempt by the government to impose a zoning control.

    Questions

    • Is the work at the site authorized?
    • As there are examples of damage being done on ecologically sensitive sites before a zoning plan comes into force, green activists are worried the site at Lung Kwun Tan may fall into same path. How does the government protect the site?
    • Is there any possible conflict of interest?


    週五 26 十一月 2010

    26 Nov 2010 列印 Email

    Category

       Economic Policy

    Issue

    • Competition Law

    News Content

    • The Court of Final Appeal has rejected a government appeal against the Court of Appeal’s acquittal of 17 stallholders charged with conspiracy to defraud for agreeing not to bid against each other at a restricted food stall auction at Tai Po in 2004.
    • The Court of Final Appeal will give the written reasons later.
    • Deputy director of public prosecutions Kevin Zervos told the court the stall holders know they were engaging in dishonest conduct and were deceiving the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. But Martin Lee Chu-ming SC, who represented some of the stallholders said they had only agreed not to bid against each other. There was no dishonesty involved, and therefore their conduct did not amount to an indictable offence.

    Questions

    • Democratic party legislator James To expressed concern on the impact of the ruling. He is worried if the property developers agree not to bid against each other at land auction, it is difficult for the government to regulate it under the current laws.
    • Civic party legislator Ronny Tong told SCMP that Hong Kong’s laws had little application in regulating anti-competitive activities. He added that’s why Hong Kong needs to pass the fair competition law as soon as possible.


    週四 25 十一月 2010

    25 Nov 2010 列印 Email

    Category

       One Country Two Systems Principle

    Issue

    • Organizations of the Central Government in Hong Kong

    News Content

    • A government site on Borrett Road, will be granted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the central government at a nominal premium of $1,000 to meet additional accommodation needs of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong.
    • The site, measuring about 2,100 square meters and zoned for Government, is adjacent to the OCMFA's staff quarters block on Borrett Road and will be granted as an extension to the existing two MFA blocks in Mid-levels. It is estimated the site is worth 1.3 billoin.
    • A government spokesman said the additional premises will further enhance the capacity of OCMFA in discharging its functions and responsibilities under the Basic Law.

    Questions

    • Democratic Party lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing urged the government to clarify the land claim policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ‘Is it because it is representing Beijing so whenever it asks for land, we have to give it for free?’
    • It is noted that the additional premises will include a new official residence for the Commissioner of OCMFA, who currently lives on the top floor of the OCMFA office block in Kennedy Road. The government said the commissioner’s new official residence will be more comparable to those MFA missions of the PRC abroad. However, people may wonder if the Commissioner of OCMFA has the similar duty and functions of the other MFA missions, and thus is entitle to enjoy similar residence.


    週三 24 十一月 2010

    24 Nov 2010 列印 Email

    Category

       Heritage Conservation Policies

    Issue

    • Former Marine Police headquarters (1881 Heritage)

    News Content

    • Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday at the Legislative Council’s development panel meeting that the government did not survey the exact size of the former Marine Police headquarters when it was sold to property developer Cheung Kong (Holdings).
    • She said, according to SCMP, the planning brief and tender document for the project was based on a floor-plan estimate.
    • It was reported by SCMP yesterday that the discrepancy between the estimated (4,300 sq.metres) and actual floor space (5,610 sq. metres), i.e. the area not counted in the planning brief, amounts to 1,310 square metres, estimated current value over 1.3 billion.

    Questions

    • Several lawmakers from the pan-democratic camp, according to SCMP, expressed disbelief that the government did not conduct a survey before the tender.
    • Conservationist cited it as an example of what could go wrong with the government’s plan to auction the West Wing of the Central Government Offices for commercial development.

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