Friday 7th October, 2005

Dear Reader,

It's Friday, so let's do some public policy work before the weekend. But before that, let's all wish a happy 8th listing birthday to H-share Sichuan Expressway Company Limited (0107), listed on 7-Oct-97 at $1.55, and now trading at $1.17. Another GDP-growth story!

Intervention in the Labour Market (7-Oct-05)

We examine HK legislators' calls for a statutory minimum wage and maximum working hours, and the Government's move to put public bodies on this path resulting from a pact between Donald Tsang and the unions during his nomination campaign. He was making promises with your money. We also look at the proposed "1+1" labour importation scheme - a sop to politically-connected textile families, the job-for-life labour contracts of the civil service, statutory Severance and Long Service Payments, and the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund.

CNOOC Censured (6-Oct-05)
Our allegation of Apr-04 against CNOOC Ltd has been proven right. The Listing Committee of the Stock Exchange today issued a public censure of CNOOC for failing to seek shareholders' approval before lending money to its parent's finance company. We look back at the case, and call on the Exchange and SFC to increase transparency over their secret, closed-door disciplinary proceedings.

Disneyland through the Looking Glass (23-Sep-05)
We look at the governance and financial aspects of Hong Kong International Theme Parks Ltd, better known as Hong Kong Disneyland. We call on the Government to publish the company's accounts, the related agreements, and the identities of the independent directors it said would be appointed. And we ask, was this a good use of 280 hectares of land, and why was there no tender for the project?


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David M Webb