League lawmakers oppose proposal for Sichuan funding Some pan-democratic lawmakers have yet to pledge support for an extra HK$3 billion in funding for reconstruction projects in quake-stricken Sichuan . While the Civic Party and Democratic Party have reservations about supporting the new funding - on top of the HK$6 billion granted - the League of Social Democrats is determined to vote against the proposal, which it criticised as 'ridiculous'. On July 3 the government will seek funding approval for a number of projects - including a highway, six medical and health facilities, and 25 rehabilitation projects - from the Legislative Council's Finance Committee. Legco is expected to pass the proposal with the support of the Beijing-friendly camp, despite opposition from some pan-democrat members. Sort out wage survey before cutting pay, union says The city's largest civil service union has criticised the government for announcing its pay-cut scheme before solving disputes sparked by the pay trend survey results. The chairman of the Chinese Civil Servants' Association, Peter Wong Hyo, has said many civil servants did not mean to oppose the 5.38 per cent pay cut for those in the upper income bands, but stressed the figure had been extracted from a controversial survey. 'Nobody from the administration has ever tried to understand the dispute surrounding the pay trend survey,' Mr Wong said. The unions were required to reply to the government's pay offer by Wednesday, but the association has yet to submit its response. KMT members in HK rally for Ma Hong Kong members of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang are collecting nominations for Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou to run for the chairmanship. Spencer Tai Cheuk-yin, convenor of the Ma Ying-jeou Fan Club Hong Kong, said the club had obtained about 50 signatures by yesterday and hoped to gather more than 100. Mr Ma declared his candidacy on June 10 and is expected to be the only contender. The KMT has about 1,700 members in Hong Kong and Macau. Support rises for Taiwan's UN bid Support from Hong Kong people for Taiwan rejoining the United Nations has risen to a record high since August 1994, the latest survey by the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme found. But the poll of 1,002 people this month found that Hongkongers opposition to the independence of Taiwan remained high, at 75 per cent. Business better, say 20pc of firms About a fifth of the companies in Hong Kong said their businesses had performed better than expected in the first quarter, while more than half said business performance had been within expectations, recruitment firm Ambition said. It interviewed 660 Hong Kong-based hiring managers and human-resources professionals across eight industry sectors. However, the survey showed that nearly 40 per cent predicted their business would contract during the rest of the year. 65pc happy with media freedom The latest poll by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies has found that nearly 65 per cent of Hong Kong people think local media enjoy sufficient freedom of speech, compared with 13 per cent who believe it is insufficient. The survey of 1,504 respondents also found that most thought local media should have more coverage of the mainland, followed by international and local news. 'Act quicker on Octave Notes' Democratic Party lawmakers James To Kun-sun and Kam Nai-wai met Monetary Authority executive director Raymond Li Ling-cheung to urge the authority to speed up investigations into complaints relating to Morgan Stanley Octave Notes financial products. The authority told them it would investigate banks that sold the products and meet clients in the next two weeks.