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April 25th, 2012:

Hong Kong signs tax treaty with Malaysia wow!

Clear the Air says: Wong’s noodles in Sze Wan Shan welcomes this treaty !
Ma Loi Sai Ah bindo aah ?

Meanwhile how about the filthy air here ?

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, today
(April 25) signed in Kuala Lumpur an agreement with Malaysia for the
avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with
respect to taxes on income on behalf of the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region Government. The Malaysian Minister of Finance II,
Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah, signed on behalf of his

This is the 24th comprehensive agreement for the avoidance of double
taxation (CDTA) concluded by Hong Kong with its trading partners, coming
after those with Belgium, Thailand, the Mainland of China, Luxembourg,
Vietnam, Brunei, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Hungary, Kuwait, Austria,
the United Kingdom, Ireland, Liechtenstein, France, Japan, New Zealand,
Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Malta and Jersey.

Welcoming the agreement, Mr Tsang said it will further strengthen the
bilateral relationship by encouraging the flow of investment and talent
between Hong Kong and Malaysia.

In the absence of a CDTA, the profits of Hong Kong companies doing
business through a permanent establishment, such as a sales outlet, in
Malaysia may be taxed in both places if the income is Hong Kong sourced.
Under the agreement, double taxation will be avoided in that any
Malaysian tax paid by the companies will be allowed as credit against the
tax payable in Hong Kong in respect of the income, subject to the
provisions of the tax laws of Hong Kong.

In the absence of a CDTA, Hong Kong residents receiving interest from
Malaysia are subject to Malaysian withholding tax, which is currently at
15 per cent.

Under the agreement, such withholding tax rate will be capped at 10 per
cent. The interest withholding tax rate will be further reduced to 0 per
cent if the interest is paid or credited to the HKSAR Government, the
Hong Kong Monetary Authority, etc. The Malaysian withholding tax on
royalties, currently at 10 per cent, will be capped at 8 per cent.

The Malaysian withholding tax on fees for technical services, currently
at 10 per cent, will be capped at 5 per cent.

Under the CDTA, Hong Kong airlines operating flights to Malaysia will be
taxed at Hong Kong’s corporation tax rate (which is lower than that of
Malaysia). Profits from international shipping transport earned by Hong
Kong residents that arise in Malaysia, which are currently subject to tax
there, will not be taxed in Malaysia under the agreement.

The Hong Kong/Malaysia CDTA has incorporated the latest Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development standard on exchange of

The Hong Kong/Malaysia CDTA will come into force after the completion of
ratification procedures on both sides. In the case of Hong Kong, an order
is required to be made by the Chief Executive in Council under the Inland
Revenue Ordinance.

The order is subject to negative vetting by the Legislative Council.

Hong Kong is actively seeking to expand its network of CDTAs with major
trading and investment partners. Where CDTA discussions with some
jurisdictions cannot be started for the time being, Hong Kong will seek
to conclude limited double taxation avoidance arrangements for airline
and shipping income with relevant partners. So far, 27 avoidance of
double taxation agreements on airline income, six agreements on shipping
income and two agreements on airline and shipping income have been

Details of the Hong Kong/Malaysia CDTA will be available on the Inland
Revenue Department’s website


Registration and Licensing of Vehicles by Class of Vehicles

table41a Page 3-11 Totals Franchised and Public buses in Hong Kong as at end March 2012

Download PDF : table41a

Explaining Hong Kong’s rising temperatures


Apr 25, 2012

I refer to the article by Wyss Yim (“Hot? Blame the urban heat island”, April 1).

To enable your readers to better understand the issue on the urban heat island effect in Hong Kong and the roles of carbon dioxide and water vapour in global climate change, we would like to provide the following information.

As the Observatory headquarters is situated in the heart of Kowloon, where significant development has taken place over the past half century, the long-term temperature increase over the last 125 years or so can be attributed to both global warming and local urbanisation.

We recently further studied the headquarters’ temperatures utilising, as reference, the long-term data of Macau and air temperature data at higher altitudes above Hong Kong which are less affected by the urbanisation effect.

The results suggest that the two factors mentioned above have roughly contributed equally to the observed warming in the past few decades.

While the higher annual mean temperature at the headquarters, compared with Waglan Island, may be partly attributable to the urbanisation effect, the year-to-year fluctuation in the temperature difference between the two sites is more complicated, being affected by other factors including oceanic effects.

Water vapour is a condensable greenhouse gas which cycles through the atmosphere quickly (the water cycle) and its concentration adjusts to global temperatures.

Generally speaking, a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapour. With warming on a macro scale induced by the increase in the concentration of non-condensing and long-lasting greenhouse gases (for example, carbon dioxide and methane), the atmosphere is able to absorb more water vapour which will further intensify the greenhouse effect, forming a positive feedback loop.

Therefore, although the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is lower than that of the water vapour, carbon dioxide (together with other non-condensing greenhouse gases) is a principal controlling factor affecting the earth’s climate.

Thus, the rapid increase in the concentration of human-induced greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is considered by scientists and policymakers to be one of the most serious problems that mankind has to face, not only now but for generations to come.

T. C. Lee, for director of the Hong Kong Observatory

Dirty buses off the road in four years


Three operators get 10-year franchises in exchange for replacing 700 old vehicles, but action groups call for more fare concessions
Joyce Ng
Apr 25, 2012

Three bus companies are expected to replace 700 polluting buses, offer more fare concessions and make space for foldable bicycles after being granted new 10-year franchises by the government.

But critics say the renewal conditions do not go far enough in demanding cleaner vehicles and more concessions for elderly passengers and long-distance commuters.

The new franchises are for New World First, on Hong Kong Island, some cross-harbour routes and routes from the island to Tseung Kwan O; Long Win, on routes from the airport to the New Territories; and Citybus, for its airport and North Lantau bus network.

They will begin when the existing agreements expire in May and July next year.

“The renewal was made after a public consultation and rounds of discussion,” Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng said yesterday after the Executive Council approved the renewal. “The government’s main consideration was whether the bus companies could provide efficient services.”

The operators agreed to replace a total of 700 buses with buses meeting the latest Euro V emissions standards by 2016. Many buses in the fleets have reached the end of their expected 17-year life cycle.

Cheng said the operators had also committed to letting passengers bring foldable bicycles on board and to incorporating barrier-free access and elderly-friendly features.

They will offer an additional 60 fare concession schemes, ranging from 30 cents to HK$24.90, on top of the existing ones, including 27 new discounts for passengers interchanging between different bus routes and 27 new section fares for people travelling shorter distances on long-distance bus routes. Some Hong Kong buses charge a flat fare regardless of the distance travelled.

At present, 116 interchange discounts are available and there are section fares for 112 routes.

Cheng said the concessions would benefit an extra 8,000 passengers, especially airport workers and residents of Tung Chung, Hong Kong Island and Tseung Kwan O.

But Coalition to Monitor Public Transport and Utilities spokesman Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong said the fare concessions were inadequate.

“Obviously the government did not seize the renewal opportunity to make more demands on bus companies to improve their services,” he said. “At least they should charge the elderly and the disabled a much lower fee.”

At present, elderly passengers are charged half price except on weekends, when they pay a flat HK$2 fare. But Tsoi said they should travel free or be charged one or two dollars like their mainland counterparts.

Helen Choy Shuk-yi, general manager of the Clean Air Network, said the dirty, old buses would be replaced too slowly. “The government lacks the determination to improve roadside air,” she said.

Choy said the three companies had 751 buses that were due to be replaced by 2018, meaning the new replacement requirement would only bring forward the replacement date by two years.

Martin Turner, of the Cycling Alliance, welcomed the provision for folding bicycles. But he urged the operators to allow cyclists to take the folded bikes on board without having to put them in bags or strap them up.

Hung Wing-tat, a transport specialist at Polytechnic University, called for the new administration, which takes office in July, to review the bus fare pricing mechanism and make it more transparent.

The three companies welcomed the arrangements.

Tsang stayed in US$6,900 presidential suite


Joyce Ng
Apr 25, 2012

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has sparked another controversy over his conduct, with his office admitting that he stayed in a US$6,900 hotel presidential suite during an official visit to Brazil this month.

The one-night stay in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, was chosen by the Chief Executive’s Office and paid by taxpayers, the office said last night.

“The so-called presidential suite is just a name, coming in different standards in different hotels,” a spokesman said. He said no rules governed the type of accommodation the Hong Kong chief executive could stay in during official trips.

The office said it was not the usual practice to consult Tsang (pictured) before booking any overseas accommodation. It did not say if it consulted him in this case.

The hotel, Royal Tulip Brasilia Alvorada, was centrally located in a safe area and was experienced in hosting state leaders, the spokesman said. “Other suites in that hotel were too small to meet practical needs, such as holding internal meetings and receiving local representatives.”

The use of the 360-square-metre suite, with private access, a main living room, a balcony and a meeting room, avoided the need to rent a conference room in the hotel, he said.

But according to a government website, Tsang had met local representatives elsewhere in the city.

Premier Wen Jiabao , in his 2003 visit to Hong Kong during Sars, refused to stay in a presidential suite and chose a cheaper room in the Grand Hyatt hotel in Wan Chai.

Since April last year, Tsang has spent HK$4.2 million in nine official visits, excluding Brazil. He has been besieged by a series of conflict-of-interest rows since February over alleged favours from tycoon friends.

The spokesman said that at the next stop, in Sao Paulo, Tsang stayed at Renaissance Sao Paulo Hotel, paying US$1,250 for one night. The office opted for the second most expensive room, the Mayflower Suite, instead of the presidential suite.

Professor Ma Ngok, a political scientist at Chinese University, called the luxurious accommodation “over the top”. “He seems to be ignoring public opinion after all the controversies and in this sensitive period.”

Ruling calls on foundations to come clean

New regulation aims to restore public confidence in charitable bodies after scandals by demanding they declare all donation income and expenses
Zhuang Pinghui
Apr 25, 2012

The mainland plans to make charitable foundations more transparent and credible by forcing them to disclose their income, spending and use of donations, according to a draft regulation released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Released for public consultation until May 3, the ruling seeks to regulate the foundations’ acceptance and use of donations, their business and corporate activities and their disclosure of financial information.

The regulation was drafted amid plummeting public confidence in charity organisations on the mainland after a series of scandals involving the Red Cross Society of China last year, including one involving an expensive lunch paid for by the organisation in Shanghai, and another over a senior official of the Kunming branch using society funds for personal spending. Additionally, a woman known as Guo Meimei , who falsely claimed to be working for the organisation, posted pictures online showing off luxury cars and handbags, sparking a public outcry before she admitted to lying. But investigations did reveal that the Red Cross’ name had been used for commercial gain.

The number of charitable foundations on the mainland has grown by 20 per cent a year for the past six years. There were 2,500 last year, with total assets of more than 60 billion yuan (HK$73.6 billion). They received 33.7 billion yuan in donations last year and spent 25.6 billion yuan, according to the ministry.

It said the foundations were still at the initial stage of development and had many problems, such as substandard internal management, unsound self-discipline, low credibility and a lack of transparency.

“After generalising and studying the major problems, the regulation has been drafted to provide guidelines for the conduct of public interest charity organisations such as foundations and to promote standard operation and transparency,” the ministry said.

Ma Xin , a ministry official in charge of non-government organisations, said the regulation sought to ensure that the public interest was upheld in every link of the chain, with foundations stepping up internal controls and regulation and taking responsibility for public donations.

The draft regulation says foundations should not to use public donations to pay administrative expenses unless previously agreed with the donor, and that operating costs should not exceed 10 per cent of overall spending in any year.

Foundations would be required to regularly publicise details of income and spending after fund-raising for emergencies, including donated income, donated materials and all the costs related to public interest projects. Such details should be made public every three months and announced in full after the project was completed.

The Red Cross Society of China moved to improve its transparency and image by publishing information on donations and expenditure online in August, but that action prompted further questions about the system’s credibility.

The draft regulation would also forbid foundations from using their names or public interest projects for commercial purposes, promoting and selling company products or brands and providing credibility or quality guarantees for companies.