LegCo to debate motion on vigorously promoting healthy market competition to counteract the market dominance of Link REIT
The Legislative Council (LegCo) will hold a meeting on Wednesday (November 23) at 11am in the Chamber of the LegCo Complex. During the meeting, Members will debate a motion on vigorously promoting healthy market competition to counteract the market dominance of Link Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).
The motion, moved by Miss Yung Hoi-yan, states: "That The Link Real Estate Investment Trust (now known as Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Link REIT)) was established in 2005 due to unique historical factors and environment and entrusted with the social responsibility of serving hundreds of thousands of public housing households; the Hong Kong Housing Authority divested a large number of its retail and car parking facilities to Link REIT in 2005 under highly controversial conditions, enabling it to arbitrarily renovate shopping arcades and significantly raise shop rentals as well as divest car parks and introduce monthly floating parking spaces, etc in pursuit of return maximisation; however, Link REIT has ignored the affordability and living necessities of grass-roots people, thereby aggravating the burden on their livelihood; while it is the basic responsibility of the Government to provide the public with community facilities, with the estimated market value of Link REIT exceeding $120 billion, if the Government proposes buying back shares of Link REIT, its share prices will inevitably be pushed up, putting in effect taxpayers' money into the pockets of Link REIT and its shareholders; in order to respond to public aspirations on counteracting the market dominance of Link REIT and improving community facilities, this Council urges the Government to:
(1) request the Competition Commission to expeditiously investigate whether Link REIT has violated the requirements of the Competition Ordinance, and to submit an investigation report to the LegCo;
(2) set up temporary bazaars at suitable locations in various districts to provide residents with choices other than those markets and shopping arcades under Link REIT;
(3) introduce district-based pilot schemes for building public markets in districts where community facilities are inadequate, and invite social enterprises to operate under an approach that is innovative and can satisfy the needs of communities, thereby providing grass-roots people with more choices; in the long run, the Government should conduct studies on building new municipal services complexes in various districts and improve the facilities of existing municipal services buildings, so as to provide residents with community facilities such as parking spaces, cultural and recreational facilities and nurseries, etc; and
(4) comprehensively review the existing district administration models to enhance administrative efficiency, and ensure that community facilities can satisfy the needs of residents to improve their standard of living."
Mr Shiu Ka-fai, Mr Andrew Wan, Mr Wilson Or, Dr Fernando Cheung and Dr Kwok Ka-ki will move separate amendments to Miss Yung Hoi-yan's motion.
Mr Lau Kwok-fan will move a motion on strengthening the role and functions of District Councils. The motion states: "That as District Council members have the advantage of grasping first-hand public sentiments, this Council urges the Government to strengthen the role and functions of District Councils, so as to enable District Councils to better serve the public and promote community development; the relevant measures include:
(1) allowing District Council members to have more opportunities to participate in district development and at the stage of formulating various policies;
(2) strengthening the supervision of District Councils over policy implementation and district affairs;
(3) enhancing the support to District Councils and District Council members;
(4) establishing a 'community building fund' to expedite the implementation of community facility works endorsed by District Councils; and
(5) strengthening the role of District Officers in district coordination, so as to enhance the communication of District Councils with various bureaux and departments of the Government."
Dr Fernando Cheung, Mr Wu Chi-wai and Mr Hui Chi-fung will move separate amendments to Mr Lau Kwok-fan's motion.
Meanwhile, Mr Kenneth Leung 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 Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 17E) Notice 2016 laid on the table of the Council on November 2, 2016 to the meeting of January 11, 2017.
On bill, the Private Columbaria Bill will be introduced into the Council for the First Reading and the Second Reading. The Second Reading debate on the Bill will be adjourned.
Members will also ask the Government 21 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 21, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:32
Issued at HKT 18:32