Thursday, December 01, 2016

Speech on motion on "Combating 'Bogus Refugees'"

Today, the title of the motion we are debating is “combating ‘bogus refugees’”. I find that wording to be disturbing. We are not talking about combating the problem — if any — of the people that are referred to as ‘bogus refugees’, but combating these people themselves. Well, I like to refer to them in a more humane and respectable way, by calling them as they are, that is, asylum-seekers. 

Of course, our colleagues in the pro-establishment camp who are in support of these draconian measures targeting the refugees will say that it is only the ‘bogus’ ones that they are targeting, not the real asylum-seekers. Thank you very much. But it is clear to us that many of the measures that they talk about, such as encampment, would be applied to all asylum-seekers. 

Such is the hypocrisy and the discrimination in disguise. When our pro-establishment colleagues gleefully talk about Indian and Pakistani people gathering and scaring away local folks, they have not presented any proof that these people are asylum-seekers, so there is no basis at all of making the connection to their worries to the refugee problem. In other words, are some of these local folks simply scared when they see non-Chinese or colored people gathering in their neighborhood? How much of those concerns are justified? How much of that would be cultural misunderstanding, or plain racial discrimination? 

While many of our local media seem so eager to cover news linking asylum-seekers to crime, official figures never quite gel. Asylum-seekers committing crimes represent a very small portion of the overall statistics. Some local folks may also think that asylum-seekers are taking away jobs, and many of the pro-establishment political parties like to play up on that. But official figures show that protection claimants represented only 3.4% of the over 6,700 illegal workers arrested last year. 

Are there abuse of the system? Absolutely. But how much of these abuses are caused by the system itself? According to human rights workers and lawyers, a big part of the reason of these abuses is due to the government’s delay and lack of training for its personnel in dealing with such bogus claims, which in turn cause more delay in handling the cases, which results in effectively inviting or attracting more bogus claims to come in. 

Between March 2014 and December 2015, 3,165 non-refoulement claims have been screened, and only 18 of them were substantiated, including three on appeal. According to reports, the acceptance rate in Hong Kong — which stands at 0.56% since unified screening was introduced, is one of the lowest in the developed world. The global acceptance rate is around 43%. 

In contrast, Germany last year screened 60% of 965,000 asylum claims within five months. 

The United Nations Committee Against Torture stated that, by denying asylum-seekers the rights to work, Hong Kong forced them to “live on in-kind assistance below the poverty line for long periods of time,” which rights advocates convincingly point to as the cause of more illegal wok and criminal activities. 

Many protection claimants have formed a bitter impression that Hong Kong is doing everything possible to get rid of them — and certainly many of our colleagues have reinforced that impression by what they have said in this debate. The constant reports on ‘bogus refugees’ and the kind of messages delivered by some of our esteemed colleagues in this chamber must have made an impact on the morales of the protection claimants in Hong Kong, and made them more distressed about potentially receiving a negative decision. 

A couple months ago, after the movie “Snowden” came out, and Edward Snowden of course is the NSA whistleblower who himself sought asylum in Hong Kong in 2013, well, the actor who played Edward Snowden in the movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt made a YouTube video appeal, and Edward Snowden also made his own appeal on Twitter, for four people they called “Snowden’s Guardian Angels”. Apparently, for two weeks in Hong Kong before he left, Edward Snowden stayed with two refugee couples from Sri Lanka and the Philippines in Hong Kong.

Edward Snowden said: ”These people have gotten up every morning in the face of tragedy and persecution, and go to sleep each night with whole families in a single bed. And though they have nothing, they risked everything to do what is right. Everything that I thought I knew about bravery was nothing compared to what I saw in Hong Kong.” They are not given enough resources to get by, but they are also not allowed to work. If they do work, they face 22 months of prison.

Asylum-seekers are people too. They came here to escape from the horrors back home. While they may be safe from physical danger here, but they fear day and night about being sent back. According to volunteers working with asylum-seekers, many of them said in Hong Kong they live, but they have no life.

This is why I find the original motion and the amendments by our pro-establishment colleagues to be so deplorable with its ignorance of the real root cause of the problem, and the exaggeration in its nature and the fearmongering in its tone. If we dare call ourselves an international city, let’s act like one, and take up our international responsibility and show the world the kindness we offer.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Letter to Hong Kong -- What do you know about my hashtag?

Something is wrong about the upcoming elections in Hong Kong in 2016 and 2017, before they even have started. Our election watchdog, the Electoral Affairs Commission, apparently is telling all of us in Hong Kong to stay off the Internet and social media, or you may be breaking the law.

That may sound incredible in this day and age, when people’s lives revolve around social media, and all the messages they share among friends and strangers. 

But, just as more and more people in Hong Kong, as in other parts of the world, are beginning to engage in more and more sharing and discussing about politics and elections on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or popular local online services such as Hong Kong Golden, as well as messaging platforms such as Whatsapp, the EAC is telling us that such messages may be considered as advertising under the law, and unless these messages are previously approved by the candidates or their agents, those who post or share these messages may be liable to the offence of incurring costs to candidates without their consent, under election laws. 

In fact, earlier this month, the ICAC launched an investigation of a supporter of one of the candidates in the February Legco by-election for New Territories East, who reportedly shared support messages on Facebook to other users. 

According to the EAC, expressing support for a candidate to enhance his or her chances to be elected, or criticizing a candidate to lessen his or her chances to be elected, can both satisfy the definition for an election advertisement. It doesn’t matter whether you are sharing or writing a text message, creating your own graphics or videos to share, changing your profile pictures, or even adding a particular hashtag to express your view for or against a candidate, you may already be breaking the law, said the EAC. 

I’m sorry, but do any of the three members of the EAC use any of these social media platforms? Do they know what they’re talking about? Do they know that the Internet has become a critical or even deciding factor in many recent elections, from Taiwan to London, as well as the U.S. presidential election. Researchers are actively analysing between the social media engagement scores of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, measuring the effects of the likes they get, the mentions they receive, and the sharing and retweets they get with their posts. Yet in Hong Kong, our election watchdog is effectively telling us to shut up online. In terms of the threat against freedom of expression, I don’t know if threatening to sue us is worse or better than Iran shutting down social media altogether during elections, but, this still virtually guarantees Hong Kong will end up as a laughing stock of the free world. 

What’s even more laughable, but not funny, is that, our EAC also told us in their press briefing earlier in the month that while a simple “please support so-and-so” message could be deemed election advertising, if you have stated any of the candidate’s merit or demerit as reasons, that would possibly constitute a commentary, and you might be off the hook. So, don’t just say I support Mr X. But you can instead say, I support Mr X because he is handsome. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry over something so stupid.

What happens here is so common in Hong Kong these days, where we have outdated laws, rules and regulations, and instead of changing the rigid rules that can no longer apply to new conditions, our bureaucrats would still force new stuffs into their old cans. To them, the less they do, the fewer risks they would have to take. What they don’t know, they try not to learn.

Sadly, this is the government that is talking about encouraging innovation and developing technology day and night, but they don’t admit that in fact, from the Uber incident to election advertisements, our government stands right in the path of innovation, blocking progress. The government is our problem, not our solution. 


So, with two of my fellow legislators, Dennis Kwok and Alvin Yeung, we launched a Facebook campaign that we called “What do you know about my hashtag”, to highlight this gross stupidity looming over our upcoming elections. We have written to Facebook, as well as the Secretary for Justice and the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, to see if they can enlighten us about the costs of various social media actions, such as changing a profile picture, posting a status or a graphic, making a comment, tagging a user or a page, streaming a live video, or putting up a hashtag. So far, Facebook has officially replied to us that they do not consider that there would be any cost involved. 

Let’s see if our government secretaries or the EAC can shed light on any hidden costs that even Facebook doesn't know about. In the meantime, I hope each of you will submit your views and questions over this matter to the EAC during its public consultation, before June 9.  Tell them what they don't know about your hashtags. 


-- "Letter to Hong Kong," May 29, 2016

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Letter to Hong Kong -- The End of ATV

Just when many of us in Hong Kong are happily preparing for the coming of the Year of the Monkey, 300 workers of Asia Television are facing an uncertain future, with the station trimming down its broadcast to a minimal level, even ending its news broadcast altogether since Saturday. The oldest television station in Hong Kong, with almost 59 years of history in Hong Kong, may go off the air any minute now.

To many of us who to certain extent over the years grew up with ATV, or Rediffusion Television from 1957 to 1982, it is a sad moment of the passage of a part of Hong Kong’s history. But to the employees of ATV, it is much more than that. Many of them had been working unpaid since December, doing all they could to keep the station on the air, while watching the company’s owner and investors fidgeting around with a laid-back attitude as if to say it is “none of their business”, and at the same time watching our government and broadcast regulator sitting there paying lip services as if to say “there is nothing that they can do.”

Certainly, ATV by cutting its news programs or even going off the air before the end of its license period on April 1, 2016, is going to be a breach of its licensing obligation and ATV will be still subject to fines and punishment by the regulator, the Office of the Communications Authority, but that is not the most important matter now. After all, ATV’s major creditor, Wang Zheng, has made a court application to liquidate the company’s asset. With that, a likely scenario would be that the unpaid salaries of its staff might remain unpaid by the company’s investors.

We should of course condemn these deplorable and very possibly illegal acts of irresponsibility, but under layers of corporate ownership shielding and protection, the bosses may very likely get away with it completely. How much more bizarre can it get when the supposed major investors of ATV is identified as its major creditor instead, and becoming the first in line to liquidate the company? Then we must ask, why wasn’t there anything that our government and its regulator could do to prevent this almost inevitable outcome to ATV’s employees and their families?

Earlier this week, when asked about the plight of these ATV workers, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development urged other players in the TV industry to help offer them jobs. When I heard that cold and insensitive comment, I felt my anger swelling. How did these hundreds of ATV workers end up like this? What did the government do since it announced that ATV’s free TV broadcast license would not be renewed back in April 1, 2015? Nothing. What did this Administration do to prevent new TV competition from getting their licenses so that they can invest and hire people? Well, everything.

Indeed, this Administration has done all it could on great lengths to change the previously existing “open sky” television broadcast policy, overriding the decision of the professional regulator to bar Hong Kong Television from getting its license, and continued to fight the judicial review HKTV raised, and even after the court ruled in favor of HKTV, this Administration felt it was necessary to appeal the judgment to make sure we do not get a new TV station online soon. And now, the Secretary in charge of broadcast policy is telling those “other stations” to offer jobs to ATV employees? What a shameless thing to say!

As a matter of fact, what we are witnessing is the perfect case of misguided public policy that has killed not just a few companies or their aspirations like ATV and HKTV, but a whole industry. Even after the long-overdue decision not to extend ATV’s license, what did the government do to prepare for the contingency of ATV not being able to last itself until April 1 of this year? Well, too little, too late, like, for the transfer of ATV’s analog spectrum to RTHK, so that the remaining up to 400,000 households still watching analog TV only will not be left with only TVB, the government and RTHK are still just going through a tender process now to identify a service provider to help build the transmission network, with less than two months to go before April 1. Why such procrastination?

But even more importantly, what about the digital spectrum held by ATV? One third of that has been assigned to Hong Kong Television Entertainment, which will start its broadcast service supposedly on April 1, but both that company or our government has not offered us any idea of what the initial coverage will be or how users will be able to access its programming over the fiber network. There’s still no word as to when that one-third of ATV’s digital spectrum assigned to it will be up and ready for broadcast.

And what about the other two-thirds of ATV’s current digital spectrum? We will have to wait for the next one or two TV stations to get their licenses, and although we have at least three such companies waiting in the pipeline – including Fantastic TV, Forever Top, and the second application of HKTV. Yet considering the pace of such licensing processes in recent years, it will probably take at least two to three years to get these precious public assets back in use again by anyone.

Such is the sad state of our TV industry for Hong Kong, a total disgrace for an international city with certainly the commercial, financial, technical and creative capacities, but stopped by government inaptitude and the hostility this Administration holds against the media and any more outlets for speech and news contents that it feels it can’t control.

So what can we do? In the coming years, the government will launch a once again long-delayed and overdue consultation on the merging of our broadcasting and telecommunications regulations. It will be both an opportunity to right the wrong by eliminating the overriding power held by the Chief Executive to single-handedly dictate our broadcast policies, as well as a threat that more powers will be consolidated in the hands of the Chief Executive, which we must oppose.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Speech for the motion of “strengthening the combat against the crime of wildlife smuggling”

Speech for the motion of “strengthening the combat against the crime of wildlife smuggling”

Mr President, I thank the Honorable Elizabeth Quat for moving the motion on “strengthening the combat against the crime of wildlife smuggling” to bring the attention of our society to this grave matter.

As a global citizen, for each of us, and for Hong Kong as a whole, we bear a responsibility for the earth, our environment, our fellow inhabitants of this earth, and for the future of our planet, and those we will continue to share this planet with, in a balanced and sustainable ecology. This applies to the global climate change talks happening in Paris right now, as much as it applies to the subject of our motion today, the ivory trade that is killing African elephants, and the bear gall bladder trade that is torturing and killing bears in the Mainland and other countries, as in the motion amended by the Honorable Claudia Mo.

On September 25, President Xi Jinping of China and US President Barack Obama jointly pledged to take “significant and timely steps” to halt commercial ivory trade. Today, we are calling for our government to take at least some “significant and timely steps.”

Indeed, after President Xi’s words, he followed with action on October 15 – China announced a one-year ban on the import of ivory hunting trophies from Africa, closing what was considered to be a big loophole.

From past experience in conservation, permitting sales actually always became a cover for illegal trade. In 1999 and 2008, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species allowed the sale of stockpiles of ivory from southern Africa to China. The countries claimed that the money earned would go toward conservation causes. Oh sure. The numbers in fact are telling us that such concession would fuel more smuggling and more killing of elephants. This is exactly what is happening in Hong Kong.

So, in 2010-12, about 100,000 elephants were slain. In Mozambique and Tanzania, just within the last five years, half of their elephants were killed.

As many of the members of this council who have spoken today have expressed, much of the ivory sale and trade is going to mainland buyers who buy the tusks and ivory products in Hong Kong, and then smuggle them back in to China. A survey by WildAid in May this year found that over 75% of Hong Kong’s local residents disapproved ivory sales. An investigation by a Tanzanian conservation group Save The Elephants further found that 90% of ivory buyers in Hong Kong were bought and smuggled back to China by Mainlanders.

For Hong Kong not to totally ban all ivory trading and retail sale, it is simply causing a loophole for the Mainland, and going against the stated policy for the People’s Republic of China, and fueling further corruption in China, something that our nation’s leaders have been furiously trying to stamp out. There is simply no excuse. To put it more directly, government bureaucracy is no excuse.

The Honorable Claudia Mo’s amendment put further focus on the trading of bear gall bladders and their extracts. There is a subtle difference between the trading of this and ivory. While ivory trade has to do with a small number of traders and sellers here making a lot of money from primarily buyers in China, bear gall bladder extracts are bought by Hong Kong people, imported from China. In that sense, it is even more critical for the Hong Kong government to take action for a demand generated and mistakenly allowed to continue in Hong Kong.

So, I believe it is absolutely correct and totally justified for the Honorable Claudia Mo to demand actions from our chief executive due to his empty words before he took office and his subsequent inaction. CY Leung is responsible for both stopping Hong Kong as a haven for ivory trade in to China, which is totally opposite to the policy set out by President Xi Jinping, as well as ending Hong Kong as a buyer for bear gall bladder extract, which continues to damage China’s reputation.

Saying anything otherwise is simply politicizing the issue on hand, and overprotecting our chief executive. You might as well save that loving care for the elephants, bears, rhinos, and other more lovely wildlife animals.

To close, I like to draw your attention to this picture on the cover of a Save The Elephants report – an ivory figure of the Chinese god of longevity. It is so ironic that this supposedly figure of good wishes is made from blood, gore and killing of an innocent, free animal. Let us remind ourselves, and I recap a caption I saw from a recent Economist article on the same subject, “it looks better on an elephant.” Let’s keep it there.

Thank you Mr President.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

就《經濟發展,改善民生》議案的發言稿

主席,多謝陳克勤議員提出這個議案,不過我有個感覺,陳議員可能諗住這個議案可以啱啱好排在區議會選舉日之前,點知大會流過會,議員議案推遲了上到大會討論,上到大會時區議會已經選完了!

『發展經濟和改善民生的深層次問題』係咪『放下政治爭拗』就可以解決?這個論述其實有兩問題,首先,香港現在的經濟和民生面對的最大問題,究竟是否政治爭拗?第二,如果政治爭拗真是其中一個問題,無論是否最大的問題,是誰製造出這個政治爭拗的狀況?

我先講香港的經濟和民生面對最大問題是什麼,我認為始終係政府自己。在香港行政主導的政制下,政府自己無法為香港經濟未來作出規劃和執行,無法實施有效的政策改善民生,怎能輕易地把責任推向立法會,和無權無勢的政黨?

就以創新科技政策為例,創科局局長上任時候列出了九個重點工作,這些大路方向問題不大,達不達到成效還看執行能力,和是否能夠定出指標自我評核,但問題是,近年當政府提出要點發展經濟時候,總是喜歡好大喜功,做這樣做那樣,卻從來不行承認,政府自己其實往往係問題嘅一部分,甚至最大的部分。

我仲記得七月時,在行政長官答問大會上,我就政府自己傷害業界,窒礙經濟發展的做法,例如帶頭外判,令政府IT人之中,透過外判公司請的合約員工,相比政府公務員人數,已經係2400對2000之比,外判多於長工,同工不同酬,帶頭壓低行業人工,再加上政府採購價低者得,不買香港貨,搞到年輕人不肯入行,完全離地!

不過,都唔夠行政長官離地。佢當時叫我幫手成立創科局,然後問局長喎。到現在看到楊局長九點,雖然有提到「推動使用本地的創科產品和服務」,但對於政府外判同工不同酬這些問題,就無提過。我唔會咁快話局長無視這些問題,但就未見到政府重視這些問題。

類似這樣的政府自製問題,不利經濟和民生發展的政策,數之不盡,這些問題原因是政治爭拗嗎?如果政府肯改革,肯改變越來越厲害的官僚主義,肯拆牆鬆綁,就必然解決到政治爭拗,全港市民熱烈地彈琴熱烈地唱!

講窒礙經濟發展,兩年前,因政府搬龍門及黑箱作業,一男子判香港電視死刑,是誰製造政治爭拗?立法會的角色本來是監察政府,我兩年前動議用特權法調查港視發牌事件,被政府聯同建制派否決,到接下來梁振英嘅UGL事件、高鐵工程延誤、鉛水事件等等,一件一件政府自己製造出來的經濟、民生、誠信的問題,都係政府聯同建制派一一打低,放下政治爭拗,就是這種不分青紅皂白的護主行爲?我相信,政府自己的行為,正是製造政治爭拗的源頭,然後就叫我們放下爭拗,玩咩呀?

所以,陳克勤議員所講嘅「本會呼籲各界放下政治爭拗」,包括不包括梁振英,包括不包括政府自己?就算我假定是包括,但講得清楚一些的只有梁家傑議員和李卓人議員的修正案,始終,作為一區之首,甚至自以為處於「超然」地位的特首,自己不帶頭放下政治爭拗,問題不能解決。

主席,也許,陳克勤議員的議案拖到今天才到大會辯論,真的是「整定」。選前特首多番話"vote them out",當時個"them"係講明包括所有泛民議員㗎,現在見到vote唔out,又改口話只講拉布嘅議員。

區議會選舉結果,大家可以有很多不同的解讀,今天我亦無時間深入去討論,不過,選民肯定表達了他們對政治的關注,利用他們手上的一票,爭取一種政治的表態,首投族和傘後新人固然係咁,就算建制派口講區議會為的是地區事務,實情係他們自己加上中方勢力大力動員去箍票,都係為咗政治啫!

主席,政治是眾人之事,政治,又豈是負面到非放下所謂爭拗才能面對呢?如果一出現不想面對的問題,就賴件事政治化,只是逃避,而建制派一味護航,政治爭拗勢必延續下去。我希望政府能改變其思想和處事方法,官員可以為了香港整體利益,多點聆聽,多點讓公眾參與,多點開放及提高透明度。我謹此陳詞。

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

就《保障香港不受'大陸化'》議案發言稿

主席,星期一晚我欣賞了一套在香港亞洲電影節放映的香港電影《十年》,是由五位年輕獨立導演,各自拍出想像香港十年之後會是怎樣的短片組成,香港到時可以有幾荒謬?價值觀會變成點?我推介今日發言嘅各位同事無論泛民或者建制都看一看,了解一下這一代年輕人所關心、擔心、痛心的是什麼。電影十二月會在戲院放映 。

五套短片裡面的題材都富有想像力而有前瞻性,主題大膽甚至有挑釁性,包括普通話打壓廣東話、學校要學生穿軍服參加活動、當權者自製恐怖活動以達致國安法立法、自焚者爭取獨立等等 。看完之後,有觀眾與導演的分享,很多觀眾的心情都很沉重,我相信這顯示出年輕人無論是觀眾或者導演們的無力感,很大程度上來自他們對香港未來、中國操控,即是「大陸化」的焦慮和不安。

不過,我又唔係覺得咁灰。年輕人特別是在雨傘運動之後,面對高牆而感到的無力感,是可以理解的,不過,可能大家現在看到中國之強,相對世界上其他地區面對的經濟和政治困難,但十年後甚至更長一點的時間之後的中國經濟、政治環境如何,仲係唔係咁勁呢?對香港會有怎樣的影響,都是未知之數。

反而,我們香港有這一代的年輕人,他們對香港有深厚的本土感情,我相信他們是不會輕易放棄香港這個主場。

講到這裡不可不提昨晚的香港隊零比零再次守和中國隊。雖說是「守和」,但事實上這是非常有主動意志和團體策略性的踢法,而且,昨晚有個朋友同我在一個晚宴時一齊在手機app睇波時講,唔只香港隊踢出超水準,其實中國隊都唔係大家睇得咁強。

嗱,主席, 香港人可以向香港隊學習,就是「沒有不可能的事」,另一點很重要,就係中國係唔係在每一方面都真係咁強,隊波都唔係好得之嘛,打咗兩場波都係咁高咁大。相反,問題是部分香港的政經界都已經被政治化,不理中國掂唔掂,乜都要"China first"!

我舉另一個例子,昨天是滬港通實施一周年,但事實上滬港通啟動後,使用率並不活躍,至今總額度用了不足一半。經濟學者關焯照昨天在電台節目中指出,我引述:「滬港通整體方向正確,但內地未有足夠配套及軟實力,監管未達國際水平,在未有足夠條件下,推得太快,變成好心做壞事,令滬港通只出現一剎那的光輝。」

教授並不否定滬港通對香港、中國長遠都有利,但我相信他對現況的批評,正正指出了在香港的政經政策上面,在多個行業中,過分和過快大陸化的問題,影響了香港發展的正確方向,過分或者過早地催谷依賴內地。

昨天剛好在一個IT業界活動中與一些來自新加坡的朋友討論,他們都異口同聲說,十多年前甚至再早時,新加坡視香港為學習對象,今天,他們都感覺香港已經落後了,但他們並非為此感到沾沾自喜,反而是分析出來,香港的最大問題之一,是過分大陸化,什麼都"China first",是自己忽視了自己最大的競爭優勢反而是國際化,是香港自己錯誤評估中國的能力,是香港放棄了全球市場的機遇。他們說,新加坡看香港,要引以為鑑。

在資訊科技界,我亦擔心這現象會否進一步惡化。創科局還有幾天才成立,但近期聽政府和部分業界人士的言論,開口埋口就與中國市場結合,但對八萬多從業人員來說,真的幫到他們嗎?帶頭外判、壓低工資的,帶頭不買香港產品服務的,帶頭向本地公司壓價的,咪又係香港政府!我們絕對不應該盲目排斥中國,但同樣盲目地"China first",這種「大陸化」,肯定不是香港IT界的出路。

更重要的是,香港的IT界最重要的優勢之一,是我們的資訊及網絡自由,反觀中國的防火長城,近年成立「網信辦」,以高層次統籌,表面上保障網絡安全,實際上審查和控制網上言論,在這些方面,香港肯定不能「大陸化」,否則必定得不償失,自毀我們的自由優勢。

主席,講返《十年》電影,他們提出一條問題,香港現在的狀況,是「為時已晚」,還是「為時未晚」?我相信,答案是那一個,掌握在你我手中。主席,我很希望有一天中國擁有自由、民主,我們香港可以擁抱大陸化。

Thursday, November 12, 2015

就《強化職業教育》議案發言稿

主席,職業教育之所以重要,是因為它是傳統、基本教育和市場上各行各業的人才供應之間的橋樑。不過,好可惜,今天香港的傳統的基本教育有病,各行各業的人才供應亦都很有問題。

香港的教育制度點樣有病?由TSA令到小三就要通宵溫書,至到DSE和三三四學制,真的令香港的學生和家長,真係十幾年嘅讀書生涯都係永無寧日。再加上香港出生人口持續下降,今年入中一的小朋友嘅人數,比較去年考DSE嘅本地考生的數目,少了約四分之一,得返五萬人左右。咁樣落去,我們香港各行各業去那裡請人呢?

不過,有些人又會話,雖然香港的失業率低到近乎全民就業,但實情就係有工無人做,有人無工做,有個錯配的情況,並且,大量社會上的人力缺乏專業甚至專門的知識和能力,這正是職業教育的重要之處。

讓職業教育與學術教育本應互相配合,並行發展,不過,香港嘅事實並非如此。香港中學採用DSE學制之後,中英數通識佔用了大部分課堂的時間,局限了不少學生以興趣選科的可能性,因為他們只可能選兩科,最多教育建議將來可以增加都三科咁大把,相比以前我們讀會考可以考中英數、物理、化學、生物、附加數,再讀多科文科將歷史或地理,再讀埋聖經。今天考DSE的學生只揀兩科連物理、化學、生物都未讀得哂,電腦即係ICT科更加諗都唔使諗了。

現行制度下,學生中三便要選擇未來大學的主修科的路,一來他們都未清楚自己志向和興趣,二來是學校老師為了讓學生以後選大學科目有較大彈性,都會鼓勵他們去讀最傳統的學科,很多與職業技能比較接近的科目,都無學生有時間肯去讀,結果很多中學都要連這些科都殺埋。

因為這類結構性原因,在2010年有17,005名學生報考中學會考的電腦與資訊科技科,在今年2015年報考資訊及通訊科技文憑試的學生人數只剩下6,319人,5年間少左一萬名學生考ICT,跌幅非常驚人。有些學生話,他們在大學選科時會因為自己不了解將來工作是什麼,而不選一些科目。

根據VTC資訊科技發展委員會的2014年度人力資源調報告書,過去10年香港的IT人力需求增加30%,未來4年估計每年需要4800名新人入行,以本地培養的IT專才人數來看,即使全部大學IT畢業生入行亦無法填補所有空缺。

所以,我套用IT界的例子,過去多年很多公司都要依賴職訓局嘅IVE學生,事實上,他們不少都只是在我們的基本教育制度下,因為中文或英文成績出了問題,影響他們不能順利入大學,職業教育成為他們的出路。

從令一個角度,過去幾年我和IT業界亦與VTCIVE有了很多的合作,由對課程容的建議,到協助IVE成立針對業界新技術和市場需要的專科,例如數據中心、雲計算、流動應用開發等,甚至合作安排企業實習等等,所以,業界時常向我反映,認為 IVE提供的資訊科技課程,由於實用性強,畢業生的工作能力高,不遜於大學生,因為讀職業教育的學生更擅長實際應用,在工作環境中可以更快上手,而受到僱主歡迎。

當然,職業教育不止於職訓局的工作,尤其在日新月異的資訊科技行業,很多IT業界朋友都會去修讀專業課程,或者考取專業資格,但香港不似一些其他國家或城市,市民在這方面得到政府的支持係好少嘅,持續進修基金係一生人一萬元,好多人講,真係肯進修的,兩三年都用完啦!除了錢,持續進修基金的資助課程範圍也是令人模不著頭腦,很多最新的IT課程不包括在,但學品紅酒就可以。

除了持續進修基金,當年嘅中小企教育培訓基金,一畢撥款用完了就不獲注資,但中小企基金的其他部分就長用長有。政府有幾重視職業教育,咁就睇得清清楚楚啦。

新加坡嘅Skillsfuture計劃,由初入職場的年輕人到中年以上,有不同的計劃幫助他們,最基本的計分(Credit)計劃,每位25的新加坡人會獲得500坡元的資助,用了政府會不定期地top up加俾他們,至到例如一個學習獎勵計劃(Study Awards),每年計劃給2000新加坡人每人5000坡元去深化他們的專業知識。除這兩個例子,還有廿多個不同資助計劃,多數直接給市民,少數係支援企業提供培訓機會給他們的員工。

可惜,香港政府政策缺乏鼓勵職業教育進修,加上工時長,工作壓力大,香港的人力資源,以往係香港成功的重要因素,今天變成了我們發展的最大樽頸。

主席,我支持加強職業教育,希望當局增加持續的資源,多與業界合作設計課程,令容切合實際需要,而且可以與顧主合作提供更多實習機會,令學生可以從實際工作環境掌握必要技能,提高職業教育的認受性。主席,我謹此致辭



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