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LegCo to deal with remaining proceedings of motion on abolishing Mandatory Provident Fund offsetting mechanism
The following is issued on behalf of the Legislative Council Secretariat:

     The Legislative Council (LegCo) will hold a meeting on Wednesday (November 16) at 11am in the Chamber of the LegCo Complex.  During the meeting, Members will deal with the remaining proceedings of a motion on abolishing the Mandatory Provident Fund offsetting mechanism.

     The motion, moved by Mr Wong Kwok-kin, states: "That, since the implementation of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme in 2000, its effectiveness has been questioned by society, and the MPF offsetting mechanism (i.e. the use of the accrued benefits derived from employers' MPF contributions to offset severance payments and long service payments) has all along been criticised by society; as at the first quarter of 2016, over $29.2 billion under the MPF scheme was offset, which seriously eroded the hard-earned money of wage earners and directly affected their retirement protection; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to expeditiously abolish the MPF offsetting mechanism and comprehensively review the MPF scheme, so as to ensure that employees' rights and interests will not be undermined and their retirement life be better protected."

     Mr Jimmy Ng, Dr Chiang Lai-wan, Mr Andrew Wan, Dr Fernando Cheung, Dr Lau Siu-lai and Mr Michael Tien will move separate amendments to Mr Wong Kwok-kin's motion.

     On other Members' motions, Mr Jeffrey Lam will move a proposed resolution under section 34(4) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance to extend the period for amending the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes (Amendment) Ordinance 2016 (Commencement) Notice laid on the table of the Council on October 19, 2016 to the meeting of December 7, 2016.

     Mr Cheung Kwok-kwan will move a motion on requiring the teaching of Chinese history as an independent subject at junior secondary level.  The motion states: "That the Government has for many years permitted schools to teach Chinese history and world history or other humanities subjects at junior secondary level as a combined subject, but the contents of the curriculum make scanty mention of Hong Kong history and the interactive relationship between Hong Kong and the Mainland, rendering the younger generation unable to get to know the development process of the Chinese nation in a correct, comprehensive and systematic manner; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to require the teaching of Chinese history as an independent subject at junior secondary level and make the subject compulsory, and to expand the scope of the curriculum concerned to give more coverage to contemporary Chinese history and the interactive relationship between Hong Kong and the Mainland, so as to enable students to get to know the development process of the Chinese nation and China's development in recent years more objectively and rationally from different perspectives."

     Mr Ip Kin-yuen, Mrs Regina Ip, Dr Yiu Chung-yim and Dr Kwok Ka-ki will move separate amendments to Mr Cheung Kwok-kwan's motion.

     Meanwhile, Dr Priscilla Leung will move a motion on urging the Government to amend the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance. The motion states: " That the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance (Ordinance) stipulates that the fire protection of composite and domestic buildings constructed on or before March 1, 1987 must be enhanced to better meet the requirements of the day; information shows that as at end of January 2016, the Administration has issued fire safety directions (directions) to 5 453 buildings in total, among which only 339 buildings have fully complied with the directions or have been exempted from complying with the directions; persons who have received the directions indicated that, in their attempts to comply with the directions, they have encountered financial and engineering problems as well as operational problems of owners' corporations of the buildings, etc., and with very limited support rendered by the Administration, they were fined or prosecuted for failing to comply with the directions; in this connection, this Council urges the Administration to expeditiously amend the Ordinance to empower responsible persons of the Administration to, under urgent circumstances, carry out improvement works on fire service installations of buildings unable to comply with the directions and provide necessary assistance; moreover, as many buildings are 'three-nil buildings' which do not have owners' corporations or residents' organizations or are not managed by property management companies, and most of their owners and/or occupiers (including elderly and low-income persons) lack professional knowledge of property management and engineering techniques, the Administration should adopt the following measures to provide appropriate support to persons who are required to comply with the directions:

(1) given that the existing Building Safety Loan Scheme, Integrated Building Maintenance Assistance Scheme, Building Maintenance Grant Scheme for Elderly Owners and Building Management Professional Advisory Service Scheme provide limited assistance to persons who are required to comply with the directions, the Administration should, by making reference to the Operation Building Bright, launch an 'operation for fire safety improvement' to provide eligible persons with subsidies as well as professional advice and technical support on aspects of engineering techniques, property management, etc.; and

(2) taken into account that the building design of quite a considerable number of old buildings has made it impossible to retrofit modern fire service facilities, such as the installation of standard water tanks for automatic sprinkler systems, and the improvement of fire service installations may involve the issue of ownership, the Administration should adopt a more flexible approach and exercise discretion in handling cases with practical difficulties."

     Mr Chan Han-pan and Dr Yiu Chung-yim will move separate amendments to Dr Priscilla Leung's motion.

     Members will also ask the Administration 22 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 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.  Members of the public can also watch or listen to the meeting via the "Webcast" system on the LegCo Website.
Ends/Monday, November 14, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:25
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