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LegCo to debate a motion for the adjournment of the Council on the collapse of a building in Ma Tau Wai Road

The following is issued on behalf of the Legislative Council Secretariat:

     The Legislative Council will hold a meeting this Wednesday (February 3) at 11am in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building. During the meeting, Member will move a motion for the adjournment of the Council on the collapse of a building in Ma Tau Wai Road on January 29, 2010.

     The motion, to be moved by Hon Starry Lee, states: "That this Council do now adjourn for the purpose of debating the following issue: the collapse of a building in Ma Tau Wai Road on January 29, 2010, and how to enhance the safety of old buildings immediately to prevent the recurrence of similar tragedies."

     Members will debate another motion on the Select Committee to inquire into the interference with the professionalism of social workers on the part of the Secretary for Home Affairs and District Officer (Islands). The motion, to be moved by Hon Cheung Kwok-che, says: "That this Council appoints a select committee to inquire into whether Tsang Tak-sing, Secretary for Home Affairs, and Lam Saint-kit, District Officer (Islands), failed to promote harmony among community organisations during 2008 and 2009, and Secretary Tsang Tak-sing, before understanding the real facts, exerted pressure on the President of the Hong Kong Young Women's Christian Association and interfered with the operation of the profession of social workers, and based on the results of the above inquiry, to make recommendations on preventing government officials from interfering with the professional work of social workers; and that in the performance of its duties the committee be authorised under section 9(2) of the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance (Cap. 382) to exercise the powers conferred by section 9(1) of that Ordinance."

     Meanwhile, Members will also debate a motion on promoting the development of fishing activities. The motion, to be moved by Hon Wong Yung-kan, says: "That, as fishing is both a sport and a leisure activity, which has the characteristics of having diversified ways of participation and being suitable for people of various age groups, it has attracted many enthusiasts; and the rapid development of fishing-related industries has caused governments worldwide to formulate policies to develop local fishing activities; Hong Kong, being surrounded by the sea and with convenient transport, has the advantages for developing fishing activities, and the number of fishing enthusiasts has also continued to increase in recent years, yet due to the lack of appropriate policies, the development of fishing activities in Hong Kong is subject to many restrictions; as such, this Council urges the Government to formulate effective measures to promote the development of fishing activities in Hong Kong, which include:

(a) to relax the existing restrictions on angling at fish rafts and fish ponds, so that the operators can provide more diversified services to cater for the needs of the public;

(b) to relax the existing restrictions on passenger capacity of fishing vessels and, provided that safety standards are met, allow fishermen to operate an additional business of carrying passengers to go angling at sea;

(c) to organise systematic training courses and set up a knowledge bank, so that fishing enthusiasts have the opportunities to acquire the knowledge of fishing skills, safety management and marine conservation, etc.;

(d) to step up publicity on reservoir angling and provide more comprehensive facilities to attract more members of the public as well as tourists to engage in such leisure activity;

(e) to provide additional resources to improve the conservation of marine resources, enhance the environment of the harbourfront, and increase facilities and safety equipment which are conducive to fishing activities, so as to facilitate fishing enthusiasts to enjoy angling on shore;

(f) to encourage and assist in the organisation of local and international fishing competitions to promote fishing activities, and to promote the beautiful coastal environment of Hong Kong to other places;

(g) to study the establishment of a fishing licensing system with a view to striking a balance between the conservation of marine resources and promotion of the sustainable development of fishing activities; and

(h) to study co-operating with the Pearl River Delta region to achieve better development and conservation of the entire waters, so as to facilitate the development of fishing activities."

     Members will debate another motion on alleviating poverty and helping the disadvantage with care and concern. The motion, to be moved by Hon Tam Yiu-chung, says: "That, at the Question and Answer Session of the Legislative Council on January 14 this year, the Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said that improving people's livelihood was the Government's priority task, and that alleviating the difficulties of low-income earners and promoting the economic development of Hong Kong to create more employment opportunities was most important in its policy implementation; as such, this Council urges the Government to take measures to alleviate poverty, help the disadvantaged and relieve the burden of the people, so as to build a more harmonious society, including:

(a) to offer subsidies to needy school children for their participation in extra-curricular activities, and introduce an "extra-curricular activities grant for needy school children";

(b) to provide subsidies on Internet access charges for poor school children to relieve the burden of academic expenses;

(c) for the purposes of encouraging more schools to participate in the voluntary school drug testing scheme in the future and equipping the schools early with the necessary manpower, to allocate additional resources to facilitate the provision of "two school social workers for each school" and employment of more teaching assistants in all secondary schools in Hong Kong;

(d) to provide more career counselling and support for young people, enhance training and attract them to join those industries with competitive edge, including creative, information technology and environmental protection industries, so as to improve their employment situation;

(e) to introduce a long-term territory-wide transport subsidy scheme and simplify the application procedure concerned, so as to reduce the transport costs for low-income earners working across districts;

(f) to abolish the absence limit in respect of application for Old Age Allowance, and allow the elderly to receive Disability Allowance and Old Age Allowance concurrently;

(g) to continue to increase the number of subsidised residential care homes for the elderly, provide more residential and care home support for them, and enhance community care services at the same time;

(h) to improve medical services for the elderly by increasing the value of elderly healthcare vouchers to $1,000 per elderly person per year and lowering the eligible age to 65;

(i) to introduce "recreation and sports vouchers for the elderly", and provide them with free access to facilities under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department such as exhibition halls and public swimming pools, so as to enrich their cultural life;

(j) to set up a "subsidy system for carers of persons with disabilities", and provide a monthly allowance of $1,000 to the family of each person with disabilities;

(k) to introduce additional "chronically ill dependant allowance" and "allowance for private medical insurance contributions", and to raise the ceiling of tax deduction in respect of elderly residential care expenses and various types of salary tax allowances in respect of dependent family members;

(l) to introduce a "training scheme for fishermen during the fish moratorium" to provide training courses for the affected fishermen, and to grant them an appropriate amount of subsidy to cover part of their living expenses during the moratorium period;

(m) to relieve the burden of post-secondary students to repay loans by improving the financial assistance scheme for post-secondary students, replacing the means-tested loans with interest-free loans and lowering the annual interest rate for non-means-tested loans to 2.5%;

(n) to enhance the land supply policy to stabilise property prices, resume the construction of HOS flats on an appropriate scale and extend the home loan interest deduction period, so as to relieve the pressure of housing expenses on the people;

(o) to introduce rates relief measures to reduce the levying rates or to waive the payment;

(p) to freeze various government fees and charges affecting people's livelihood for a year; and

(q) to strictly control increase in charges by public utilities.

     Hon Frederick Fung, Hon Wong Kwok-hing and Hon Wong Sing-chi and Hon Paul Chan will move amendments to Hon Tam Yiu-chung's motion.

     Members will also debate a motion on formulating a comprehensive youth policy. The motion, to be moved by Hon Cheung Kwok-che, says: "That, in the face of persistently high unemployment rate among the youth, shrinking opportunities for social mobility and the increasingly serious inter-generational poverty problem, coupled with the unclear objectives of the youth services provided by various government bureaux, in particular the lack of opportunity for the youth to participate in social development, this Council urges the Government to immediately consult the youth through various channels to formulate a comprehensive and forward-looking youth policy, and coordinate the work of the relevant bureaux and executive departments, so as to consolidate the existing youth services to meet their needs; in addition, the Government should provide a platform for the youth to participate in social affairs, respect and listen to the views and needs of the youth, so as to enable them to actively participate in social development and establish their goals in life.

     Dr Hon Joseph Lee, Hon Ip Wai-ming, Hon Kam Nai-wai, Hon Ronny Tong, Hon Chan Hak-kan and Hon Paul Tse will move amendments to Hon Cheung Kwok-che's motion.

     On bill, Members will resume Second Reading debates on the Inland Revenue (Amendment)(No.2) Bill 2009, the Toys and Children's Products Safety (Amendment) Bill 2009 and the Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 2009. If the Bills are supported by Members and receive their Second readings, they will then go through the Committee Stage and be read the Third time.

     Moreover, the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2010, the Business Registration (Amendment) Bill 2010 and the Buildings (Amendment) Bill 2010 will be introduced into the Council for First and Second Readings. Debate on the Bill will be adjourned.

     During the meeting, Members will also ask the Administration 20 questions on various policy areas, six of which require oral replies.

     The agenda of the above meeting can be obtained via the Legislative Council InfoFax Service (Tel: 2869 9568) or the Legislative Council web site (

     Members of the public are welcome to observe the proceedings of the meeting from the public galleries of the Legislative Council Chamber. They may reserve seats by calling 2869 9399 during office hours. Seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Members of the public can also listen to the meeting via the audio webcast system on the Legislative Council homepage.

Ends/Monday, February 1, 2010
Issued at HKT 19:53


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