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LegCo to consider a proposed resolution on appointing a select committee

The following is issued on behalf of Legislative Council Secretariat:

     The Legislative Council (LegCo) will hold a meeting on Wednesday (December 19) at 11am in the Chamber of the LegCo Complex. During the meeting, Members will consider a proposed resolution on appointing a select committee to inquire into the unauthorized building works in House Nos. 4 and 5 of the Chief Executive, Mr Leung Chun-ying, at No. 4 Peel Rise on the Peak and related issues.

     The proposed resolution, to be moved by Mr Lee Cheuk-yan under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance, states: "That this Council appoints a select committee to inquire into the unauthorized building works in House Nos. 4 and 5 of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Mr Leung Chun-ying at No. 4 Peel Rise on the Peak and related issues; and that in the performance of its duties the committee be authorized 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 debate a motion on the Small and Medium Enterprises Financing Guarantee Scheme. The motion, to be moved by Mr Chung Kwok-pan states: "That, with the uncertain external economy and the slowdown in the Mainland's economic growth, the Hong Kong economy may have downside risks in the future, making the prospects for the operation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) difficult; the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited, with the support of the SAR Government, introduced the Special Concessionary Measures under the Small and Medium Enterprises Financing Guarantee Scheme (the Scheme) in late May this year to provide 80% guarantee coverage to SMEs at a concessionary level of guarantee fee, with the application period of nine months; under the Scheme, banks only need to bear 20% of the risks, but the interest rates levied are on a par with the interest rates of ordinary commercial loans, being as high as 5% to 6%; under the quantitative easing policy of the United States, the Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate for a period of one year is as low as 0.86%, and banks' property mortgage rates are also as low as some 2%, reflecting that the interest rates under the Scheme are unreasonable, and the Scheme is unable to really help SMEs tide over financing difficulties; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to:

(1) negotiate with banks to lower the interest rates under the Scheme, so as to alleviate the loan burden on SMEs;

(2) extend the application period of the Scheme, relax the application restrictions and lower the approval threshold; and

(3) make assessments having regard to the future economic development, and regularly review the needs of implementing the Scheme and its adequacy, so as to assist SMEs in resolving capital flow problems."

     Mr Jeffrey Lam and Mr Tang Ka-piu will move separate amendments to Mr Chung Kwok-pan's motion.

     Members will also debate a motion on reviving the quality of local education and stopping the blind industrialization of education. The motion, to be moved by Mrs Regina Ip, states: "That, as the former Chief Executive proposed in 2009 to develop education services, profit-making has consequently become the objective of quite a number of tertiary institutions; for example, the successive uncovering of the over-enrollment and inadequate facilities of the community colleges affiliated to the Lingnan University and to the University of Hong Kong has reflected that in recent years, local post-secondary colleges have, for the sake of chasing profits, concentrated their resources on offering a lot of self-financing degree and associate degree programmes with high tuition fees but recognition of their qualifications in doubt, thus causing local students holding such qualifications upon graduation to face the quandary of having their academic qualifications questioned by employers, and to bear huge amounts of debt due to high tuition fees; besides, since some private universities and the community colleges affiliated to various major institutions have concentrated their limited resources on programmes which aim at attracting mainland students to study in Hong Kong, many local students face the difficult problem of being unable to receive appropriate tertiary education owing to insufficient places despite their fulfillment of the entry requirements; worse still, the Government's sale of precious land resources to international school groups at nominal prices and its permission for such schools to charge overseas students high tuition fees for profiteering not only cannot help attract foreign investment but also dilute local students' share of educational resources; the aforesaid practices actually cannot help students to devote themselves to society, are not conducive to upgrading the academic standards of local tertiary institutions, and undermine Hong Kong's long-term development; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to adopt the following measures:

(1) to reiterate to society that education is for upgrading students' quality in the five areas of personality, intellectuality, physicality, sociability and aesthetics, increasing upward mobility opportunities for the middle class and the grassroots, narrowing the rich-poor gap and fostering social progress, and is not a profit-making tool for the highest bidder;

(2) to draw up a policy for regulating tertiary institutions on programme offers and student admission to ensure that the academic standards of the degree programmes offered are recognized by the Government's Qualifications Framework; and, all things being equal, to accord admission priority to local students who meet the required entry requirements, so as to satisfy local people's keen demand for education as far as possible;

(3) to ensure that public money is used for upgrading the qualifications of teachers, scientific research capability and campus facilities of local publicly-funded universities, assisting local poor students who meet entry requirements, and financing local outstanding students' participation in exchange programmes at overseas universities, so as to uphold the principle of public resources for public use; and, to further equip Hong Kong people to meet the ever-growing challenges in the international community, promote Hong Kong's global competitiveness and maintain Hong Kong's status as a first-class world city;

(4) to adopt appropriate policies to encourage universities to concentrate their resources on upgrading their scientific research capability and academic standards, and to assist local universities in inviting first-class academics from outside Hong Kong to conduct exchanges and even engage in teaching in Hong Kong; and

(5) by drawing on the experience of advanced countries, to allocate more resources for facilitating research co-operation between the academia and the industries, and to assist universities in obtaining more technological research funding through high technology industrialization to form a value-added 'technological research industry chain', so as to enable Hong Kong tertiary institutions to add value to themselves and facilitate the upgrading and transformation of Hong Kong industries."

     Dr Fernando Cheung, Ms Claudia Mo, Ms Starry Lee, Mr Gary Fan, Dr Helena Wong, Mr Ip Kin-yuen, Mr Ma Fung-kwok, Mr Charles Mok and Mr Paul Tse will move separate amendments to Mrs Regina Ip's motion.

     In addition, Mr Andrew Leung will also move a proposed resolution under section 34(4) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance to extend the period for amending the Competition Ordinance (Commencement) Notice 2012 laid on the table of the LegCo on November 28, 2012 to the meeting of January 16, 2013.

     Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development will also move a proposed resolution under the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation Ordinance to resolve that the contingent liability of the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation under contracts of insurance must not at any time exceed the sum of 40,000 million dollars.

     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 ( 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, December 17, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:16


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