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LegCo continues to consider amendments to the Appropriation Bill 2014

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

     The Legislative Council (LegCo) will hold a meeting on Wednesday (May 21) at 11am in the Chamber of the LegCo Complex.  During the meeting, Members will continue to consider the amendments to the Appropriation Bill 2014.  Mr Albert Chan, Mr Leung Kwok-hung, Mr Chan Chi-chuen, Ms Claudia Mo, Mr Wong Yuk-man, Mr Sin Chung-kai, Mr James To, Dr Helena Wong, Mr Gary Fan, Mr Wu Chi-wai, Mr Lee Cheuk-yan, Dr Fernando Cheung, Mr Cheung Kwok-che and Ms Cyd Ho will move a total of 1 192 amendments to the Bill at the Committee stage.

     Meanwhile, Members will resume Second Reading debate on the Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2014. If this Bill is supported by Members and receives its Second Reading, it will go to the Committee Stage and be read the third time.

     On Members' motions, Mr James To will move a proposed resolution under section 34(4) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance to extend the period for amending the Inland Revenue (Exchange of Information relating to Taxes) (United States of America) Order laid on the table of LegCo on April 30, 2014, to the meeting of June 18, 2014.
     Mr Gary Fan will move a motion under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.  The motion states: "That this Council appoints a select committee to inquire into whether the MTR Corporation Limited (MTR Corporation) has covered up the progress and causes of delay in the construction of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL), and whether there are any problems with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the MTR Corporation in supervising and co-ordinating the construction of the Hong Kong section of XRL; 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."

     Ms Claudia Mo will move an amendment to Mr Gary Fan's motion.

     Mr Tang Ka-piu will move a motion on formulating a comprehensive elderly care policy to deal with population ageing.  The motion states: "That, with the rapid ageing of Hong Kong's population, the demand for elderly care services in society continues to increase, but the policy strategies to deal with demographic challenges proposed earlier by the Steering Committee on Population Policy make no mention of elderly care services in the future; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to immediately formulate a comprehensive elderly care policy, make detailed planning for elderly care services in the future and promote collaboration between the medical and welfare sectors; the contents should include:

     Service planning:

(1) based on projections on the proportion and growth of elderly population in the future, to formulate medium- and long-term planning for elderly care services in the next 10 and 20 years, and on this basis, to reserve lands for developing elderly care services and train manpower, so as to ensure that social demand for community care services and residential care services for the elderly can be met every year;

(2) to make stronger efforts to implement projects on redeveloping residential care homes for the elderly and constructing new ones, and reserve lands in more public and private development projects for building residential care homes for the elderly, so as to shorten elderly persons' waiting time for residential care homes and reduce the number of elderly persons who have yet to be allocated a place in residential care homes when they passed away;

(3) based on the proportions of the elderly population in various districts, to enhance community care services, including allocating additional resources to expand the existing integrated home care services and day respite service for elders, and providing a certain number of places for emergency support services in various districts to deal with cases of serious nature and requiring immediate assistance;

     Policy reform:

(4) to set up an inter-departmental office of long-term care services to co-ordinate the work of various departments which are responsible for elderly welfare, elderly care and elderly services;

(5) to immediately rename the Chinese rendition of dementia from 'ѤHèbg' to '{êg', adopt the recommendations of the World Health Organization to formulate a comprehensive priority strategy to deal with dementia, and allocate resources to set up a dedicated service unit;

(6) to review the standardised assessment mechanism for elderly services, and triage elderly persons based on their actual care needs to enable them to receive suitable services as early as possible, and in turn effectively alleviate the problem of unduly long waiting time for services;

(7) to review the requirement on the area of floor space for each resident in newly constructed residential care homes and day service centres for the elderly, so as to progressively enhance the care standard of elderly services;

(8) focusing on the segregation of the medical and welfare sectors in elderly care services at present, to strengthen health-care and home care services in the community to support the care needs of elderly persons who are unable to get a place in residential care homes for the elderly, and in the three major directions of training, support and accreditation, formulate a dedicated policy on carers of the elderly, thereby perfecting the existing long-term care policy based on 'ageing in place';

     Manpower resources:

(9) based on the medium- and long-term planning for elderly care services, to project the manpower demand for the services, comprehensively assess afresh the existing policy of manpower resources development for elderly and care services, including reviewing the training, remuneration packages and career prospects for frontline carers in elderly services, and, apart from considering how to enhance the standard of the relevant services on the whole, also raise the social status of the industry, so as to attract more new entrants; and

(10) to review the bidding system for elderly service contracts to reduce cyclical wastage of manpower."

     Mr Albert Ho, Mr Frankie Yick, Dr Fernando Cheung, Mr Cheung Kwok-che and Dr Kwok Ka-ki will move separate amendments to Mr Tang Ka-piu's motion.

     Mr Ip Kin-yuen will move a motion on improving the implementation of the education policy and allocating additional funding for education.  The motion states: "That, as education is an important policy area, many countries and regions attach great importance to education and strive to allocate resources in education improvement, so as to upgrade their people's overall quality and enhance their societies' competitiveness in the future; yet, the SAR Government's funding allocation in education has been shrinking continuously in recent years, and the Education Bureau has also neither listened seriously to the views of the sector nor taken forward many measures on which the society has reached consensus, showing its ineptitude and belated awareness when faced with new problems and challenges, and failing to respond to people's needs and allay their concerns, such as its erroneous planning for kindergarten and primary school places, delay in implementing 15-year free education, disregard for the views of the sector and reluctance to adopt effective measures to stabilise the teaching and learning environment of secondary schools, turning a blind eye to young teachers' difficulty in joining the profession, and turning a deaf ear to the demands for improving the teaching establishment in public-sector schools and increasing the number of publicly-funded university places; the education sector considers that since the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, took office, parents have worried about a shortage of places for their children's education, teachers' job satisfaction has declined, and students have been tormented by the education policy, rendering people to rock their confidence in the local education system and be greatly disappointed at the education policy led by Mr Ng, considering that he lacks work competence and enterprise, and that while he cannot effectively lead the officials of the Education Bureau to properly implement the education policy, he still frequently pays overseas duty visits, causing widespread grievances about the education policy in society in general; in this connection, this Council expresses dissatisfaction with the work performance of Mr Ng, requests him to reflect deeply on himself, and hopes that the SAR Government can improve the implementation of the education policy, allocate additional funding for education, and extensively solicit public opinions, so as to rebuild the public confidence in the education system."

     Dr Kenneth Chan, Dr Helena Wong and Dr Fernando Cheung will move separate amendments to Mr Ip Kin-yuen's motion.

     Mr Frederick Fung will move a motion on the Report of the delegation of the Subcommittee on Poverty to study the experience of poverty alleviation in Taiwan and Japan.  The motion states: "That this Council notes the Report of the delegation of the Subcommittee on Poverty to study the experience of poverty alleviation in Taiwan and Japan."

     Mr James Tien will move a motion on ensuring the completion of public housing and infrastructure projects on schedule.  The motion states: "That, as the construction industry is facing manpower shortage, this Council urges the Government to adopt corresponding measures, including establishing a special labour importation scheme for public housing and infrastructure projects by making reference to the arrangements adopted during the construction of Chek Lap Kok Airport, so as to ensure the completion of the various public housing and infrastructure projects in Hong Kong on schedule or even ahead of schedule to meet the housing need of grass-roots people as early as possible, and sustain the economic and social development of Hong Kong."

     Mr Lee Cheuk-yan, Mr Kwok Wai-keung, Mr Wu Chi-wai and Mr Poon Siu-ping will move separate amendments to Mr James Tien's motion.

     Mr Lee Cheuk-yan will move a motion on the June 4 incident.  The motion states: "That this Council urges that: the June 4 incident be not forgotten and the 1989 pro-democracy movement be vindicated."

     Mr Wong Kwok-kin will move a motion on setting up a "Future Fund" for establishing an integrated retirement protection system.  The motion states: "That, as the Working Group on Long-Term Fiscal Planning recommends the Government to set up a 'Future Fund', this Council urges the Government to use the Fund for establishing an integrated retirement protection system based on the people-oriented principle, so as to enable the elderly to have financial support in their twilight years, thereby alleviating the various social problems arising from population ageing."

     Dr Fernando Cheung will move an amendment to Mr Wong Kwok-kin's motion.

     Mr Michael Tien will move a motion on returning a happy childhood to students.  The motion states: "That the majority view of society has all along held that 'pressure leads to progress'; nowadays, there are many books and discussions available at the market about 'tiger moms and dads', 'helicopter parents' and 'monster parents', etc. for boosting children's learning, but excessive boosting may likely increase pressure on children and dampen their learning interests; the results of a survey conducted by the Programme for International Student Assessment show that some Hong Kong parents excessively intervene in children's learning and drill them by being over-anxious for results, rendering a decline of children's motivation to learn and a negative impact on their academic results; quite a number of media reports have also pointed out that some Hong Kong students have emotional problems because of heavy study pressure, and they become easily anxious and have symptoms such as insomnia, loss of appetite and irritability, etc.; all these problems are attributable to the education system which emphasises solely on examination results; at the stage of kindergarten education, parents have already enrolled their children in many types of interest classes and request them to do dictation and spelling exercises, etc.; at the stage of primary education, students need to participate in the Territory-wide System Assessment, the Internal Assessments for Secondary School Places Allocation purpose that take place at the end of Primary Five and both in mid-year and at the end of Primary Six, and the Pre-Secondary One Hong Kong Attainment Test; at the stage of secondary education, students are faced with a shortage of university places and the 'die or live' pressure from the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination; in contrast, the education systems and teaching modes in many advanced places are better able to provide students with room for exploring their interests to enhance their creativity development; in this connection, this Council urges the Administration to:

(1) assess afresh the pressure and psychological impact of the existing education system on students, and comprehensively review the examination system, the curriculum contents and the mechanism for progression in education;

(2) enhance parental education to avoid parents from excessively boosting children's learning; and

(3) enhance the support for school social workers and teachers to facilitate them to early identify whether or not students are under excessive pressure."

     Dr Helena Wong, Ms Alice Mak, Mr Ip Kin-yuen, Dr Priscilla Leung and Mr Charles Peter Mok will move separate amendments to Mr Michael Tien's motion.

     Mr Kenneth Leung will move a motion on reorganising the Government's structure to improve its policy implementation.  The motion states: "That the current-term Government has repeatedly committed blunders in its policy implementation, and the policies as implemented are not in place and unable to respond to people's demands, coupled with the situations where a number of officials successively committed scandals and serious dereliction of duty, resulting in serious doubts about the Government's ability to govern and implement policies; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to examine afresh its operating structure, and after consulting the LegCo and the public, to effect improvement, adjustment and division of labour in respect of the functions, objectives and policy portfolios of various policy bureaux, and to conduct structural reorganisation on a need basis for enhancing the quality and competence of various policy bureaux and the departments under their purview in policy formulation and execution, making the Government's policy implementation more open, closely follow public opinions, integrated and consistent."

     Ms Emily Lau, Dr Elizabeth Quat and Mr Charles Peter Mok will move separate amendments to Mr Kenneth Leung's motion.

     Mr Andrew Leung will move a motion under Rule 49E(2) of the Rules of Procedure. The motion, states: "That this Council takes note of Report No. 16/13-14 of the House Committee laid on the Table of the Council on April 16, 2014 in relation to the Rating (Exemption) Order 2014."

     Moreover, Members will also ask the Government 16 questions on various policy areas, all of which require written 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 on 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, May 19, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:56


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