LegCo to debate a motion for the adjournment of the Council

The following is issued on behalf of Legislative Council Secretariat:

     The Legislative Council (LegCo) will hold a meeting on Wednesday (November 28) at 11am in the Chamber of the LegCo Complex. During the meeting, Members will debate a motion for the adjournment of the Council under Rule 16(4) of the Rules of Procedure.

     The motion, to be moved by Mr Alan Leong, states: "That this Council do now adjourn for the purpose of debating the following issue: the arrangement for leave of absence of Mr Franklin Lam Fan-keung, Member of the Executive Council."

     Members will debate a motion on domestic free television programme service licence applications. The motion, to be moved by Ms Claudia Mo, states: "That the progress of vetting the three applications for domestic free television programme service licences (free TV licences) has always been of major concern to the society, but the Government has all along been indecisive about the applications, suggesting that there are unspeakable reasons which make people worry that political factors are involved; in this connection, this Council puts forward the following views and recommendations, and urges the relevant authorities to respond positively, including:

(a) given that the Government has been promoting a pluralistic and open society and the Chief Executive has emphasized time and again his intention of doing real work, but on the applications for free TV licences, the Government has adopted a stalling tactic and has not made a decision after almost three years, this Council therefore requests the Government to undertake to issue additional free TV licences before the end of this year;

(b) given that in Hong Kong a considerable number of young people enroll in courses relating to television production, but due to the limited size of the free television market, they can hardly pursue their ambitions after graduation, and the granting of additional free TV licences can increase employment opportunities for these young people and facilitate the development of creative media, the Government should proactively dovetail with the relevant policies and measures; and

(c) given that a free television broadcaster which has kept airing reruns to fill up air time allegedly contravenes its undertaking on producing local programmes, the Government should make the vetting process of free TV licence applications open and transparent to dispel public misgivings, and keep pace with the times by updating the relevant broadcasting ordinances and codes of practice."

     Dr Lo Wai-kwok, Mr Sin Chung-kai, Mr Gary Fan and Ms Emily Lau will move separate amendments to Ms Claudia Mo's motion.

     Members will also debate a motion on caring about the education, employment, housing, home acquisition and business start-up problems faced by young people. The motion, to be moved by Mr Chan Hak-kan, states: "That young people are the future pillars of society, but in the face of globalization and the rapid development of neighbouring regions, Hong Kong young people not only face many challenges during their growth, but also lack upward mobility opportunities, and their aspirations are particularly salient in respect of education, employment, housing, home acquisition and business start-up; however, the Government currently does not formulate any comprehensive support measures mainly targeted at young people to assist them in concentrating on education, establishing career, and resolving the problems of housing and business start-up, thus causing problems such as mismatch of manpower resources, high youth unemployment rate and accumulation of social grievances, which are not conducive to the long-term development of Hong Kong society; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to care about young people's needs; the specific measures should include:

Education -

(a) to increase the places for publicly-funded bachelor's degree programmes and various types of diploma programmes, and enhance the qualification recognition of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination, sub-degrees and the Yi Jin Diploma in Hong Kong, the Mainland and the international community, so as to widen young people's pathways of further studies;

(b) to comprehensively review the assistance as well as loans and repayment arrangements under the various existing student finance schemes, abolish the risk rate, set an interest rate ceiling for the Non-means Tested Loan Scheme at 2.5%, and replace the means-tested loans with interest-free loans;

(c) to comprehensively review the Continuing Education Fund Scheme, raise the cap on the amount of subsidy receivable by each applicant to $20,000, and extend the period of four years within which applicants must submit all claims as required by the scheme, etc., so as to encourage young people to pursue continuous education;

Employment -

(d) to review the employment training support services for young people, enhance the existing Youth Pre-employment Training Programme and Youth Work Experience and Training Scheme, and raise the level of the relevant subsidies to $3,000, so as to attract the participation of more employers to provide more employment and training opportunities suitable for young people in the market;

(e) to set up more 'Youth Employment Start' (Y.E.S.) resource centres throughout Hong Kong, strengthen the training targeted at young people, enhance their employment skills, and provide one-stop employment counselling;

(f) to promote the commencement of 'career planning' at the stage of secondary education, so as to enable secondary students to make better planning for their future career development;

(g) to motivate employers to provide employees with 'training leave', including offering tax concessions to such employers, so as to facilitate working young people to pursue studies and acquire professional qualifications by examination;

(h) to co-operate with public and private organizations and enterprises to encourage the employment of young people with less working experience and share with them the relevant salary payments, so as to increase young people's chances of securing employment;

Housing and home acquisition -  

(i) to build more public rental housing (PRH) flats, and review the existing eligibility criteria for applying for PRH, so as to formulate a more reasonable and fairer method for waiting for and allocation of PRH for young people;

(j) to construct at least 5 000 Home Ownership Scheme flats each year, re-launch the Sandwich Class Housing Scheme, and ensure the annual provision of 20 000 private residential flats, so as to build an integrated housing ladder for people;

(k) on the premise of having an adequate supply of private housing, to conduct a study on re-launching the Home Starter Loan Scheme focusing on young people with relatively stable financial income;

Business start-up -  

(l) to establish a start-up fund for young people, so as to provide loans to young people who have business start-up plans but lack the capital; and

(m) to offer 'business start-up training programmes' for the provision of the necessary business start-up knowledge, so as to assist young people in devising and implementing their business start-up plans."

     Mr Kwok Wai-keung, Mr Cheung Kwok-che, Ms Chan Yuen-han, Dr Kenneth Chan, Dr Helena Wong, Mr Jeffrey Lam, Mr Charles Mok and Mr Ip Kin-yuen will move separate amendments to Mr Chan Hak-kan's motion.

     Meanwhile, Mr Ronny Tong will move a motion under Rule 49E(2) of the Rules of Procedure. The motion, states: "That this Council takes note of Report No. 5/12-13 of the House Committee laid on the table of the Council on November 28, 2012 in relation to the Legal Aid (Amendment) Regulation 2012, the Legal Aid (Assessment of Resources and Contributions) (Amendment) Regulation 2012 and the Legal Aid Ordinance - Resolution of the Legislative Council (Commencement) Notice."

     In addition, the Chief Secretary for Administration will move a proposed resolution under the Criminal Procedure Ordinance to seek the Council's approval to the Criminal Procedure (Witnesses' Allowances) (Amendment) Rules 2012, made by the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee on October 26, 2012.

     The Chief Secretary for Administration will also move a proposed resolution under the Coroners Ordinance to seek the Council's approval to the Coroners (Witnesses' Allowances) (Amendment) Rules 2012, made by the Chief Justice on October 25, 2012.

     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 LegCo website (www.legco.gov.hk). Please note that the agenda is subject to change, and the latest information about the agenda could be found in the LegCo website.

     Members of the public are welcome to observe the proceedings of the meeting from the public galleries of the Chamber of the LegCo Complex. They may reserve seats by calling 3919 3399 during office hours. Seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Members of the public can also watch or listen the meeting via the web broadcast system on the LegCo website.

Ends/Monday, November 26, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:23