LegCo Affairs - Reports
W K LO's LegCo Express
1. Passage of funding application for second round Anti-epidemic Fund by LegCo
At the Finance Committee meeting on 18 April, the funding application of $137.5B for the second round of the Anti-epidemic Fund was passed following about 20 hours of discussion. This round of relief measures includes an $81 billion Employment Support Scheme, financing guarantee scheme to help ease the cash flow of businesses, relaxed eligibility requirements for the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance to support the unemployed and the implementation of an MTR fare concession, etc. There is approximately HK$4.3 billion allocated to support frontline workers and companies in the construction industry. I urged the government to launch more new public works projects, and to encourage quasi-government corporations and private organizations to push out more projects too. I also pointed out that it is necessary for the Government to provide more employment opportunities for fresh graduates this year and to encourage companies to continue their Scheme A training for graduate engineers.
2. MTR fare concession
In early March, together with some other LegCo members from the Business and Professionals Alliance from Hong Kong, I urged the MTR to offer fare concession to help the citizens ride out the tough time. On 8 April, the MTR Corporation announced new relief initiatives that benefit all MTR passengers. As the Government just announced in its second round Anti-epidemic Fund, the measures include “20% Rebate for Every Octopus Trip” for six months from 1 July 2020 to 1 January 2021, and all monthly pass passengers will enjoy a flat reduction of $100 off their purchases.
3. Tung Chung Line (TCL) extension project
On 7 April, the Government submitted to LegCo a document on “Tung Chung Line Extension”, stating that it has invited MTR to carry out detailed planning and design of the extension. The Government announced seven new railway projects in 2014, with the original goal to complete by 2031. However, I found it unacceptable to take almost six years to launch the first project. In the meantime, the reclamation project in Tung Chung is in progress, targeting at providing first batch of residential units in the year 2024. Now that the extension of the Tung Chung Line is expected to complete by 2029, I urged the Government to ensure appropriate transportation services will be provided to the residents of the Tung Chung new area during the transition period, and at the same time, to target at an earlier completion of the extension. In response to my query on the delay of the other new railway projects, the Secretary for Transport and Housing said that the Northern Link and the Tuen South Extension are also in the planning stage.
4. Seize opportunities for the engineering industry and revitalize Hong Kong's economy
On 22 April, together with some engineering industry leaders, I met the Chairman and officials of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to discuss how to grasp the business opportunities under current situation, and how the HKTDC can help promote Hong Kong's professional services, especially the engineering profession to seize the opportunities of the "Belt and Road" and the "Greater Bay Area", so as to revitalize Hong Kong’s economy after the epidemic.
5. Visited the construction site of quarantine camp at Penny’s Bay
I visited the construction site of the quarantine camp at Penny’s Bay again in early April, four weeks after my first visit. There has been a lot of progress during these four weeks. 100 quarantine units made by Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) method have been installed. Another 10 units are provided for the medical staff on duty there. Each MiC unit is a one person living unit with interior fit out including bed, wardrobe, table and chair, toilet, shower, air conditioner, and other living facilities, meeting the basic requirement for quarantine. The construction of this quarantine camp is a challenging task, and demands great teamwork among the contractors, consultants and the government departments. The Penny's Bay construction site is of 7 hectres. Another 700 units can be built on this site.
6. Public work projects approved in the Finance Committee (FC)
On 24 April, the FC endorsed a funding of HK$ 112.1 million for the construction of a Flight Simulator Training Centre of the Government Flying Service.