PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2012, 12:00am


Referendum needed on leaving EU

There are an estimated 25 million unemployed people in the European Union, economic growth is invisible, certain countries are deep in recession, business confidence has evaporated, taxation levels are out of control and business development is strangled by legislation from Brussels.

The EU is an economic disaster zone. At the same time, governments around Europe are collapsing amid the shambles, and the EU is in utter disarray. Does this do anything to deter the champions of a federal Europe? Not one bit.

They argue that the solution is 'not less Europe, but more Europe'. It's so ridiculous you couldn't make it up. They are still pushing forward with their agenda to create a European socialist super state with a centralised fiscal policy and budgetary control of nation states, and plan to saddle those countries with even more of their ludicrous economic policies.

Champions of the EU argue that this will bring stability to the euro and the EU. That's what they said at the birth of the union and the euro and are still so wedded to their socialist dream they dare not look facts in the face. When are these people going to get it?

The party is over. The original aims of the EU, no matter how well intentioned, have failed. Member countries must be free from the legislative stranglehold that prevents their economic development.

An example of this is the recent EU air tax - thankfully condemned by many countries. There should be an EU-wide referendum on membership to allow countries that want to leave to do so.

That will restore democracy and give governments the mandate they need to implement policies.

Those that want out can then tear up the EU legislation that prevents economies from developing. Then they can revalue currencies to compete more keenly in the global economy. We should begin the new era by consigning the EU and the euro to the waste basket of history.

Scott Davies, Wan Chai

Quitting euro zone will be suicide

There has been talk among economists, financial experts and correspondents that Greece is about to leave the euro zone and that it would be wise for Greece to do so.

I know little about how an economy should be run but I know enough history to say that, throughout the history of mankind, there has not been a single case in which a government or a country that is on the verge of bankruptcy can issue a new currency that is trusted by its own people, not to mention foreigners. I am sure that the Greek government is aware of this fact, no matter which political party is in power, even though the political party concerned has promised its voters to leave the euro zone.

Leaving the euro zone at this point in time is tantamount to committing suicide.

Lai Shing-kin, Quarry Bay

Paternity leave must be statutory

Last year, we had minimum wage legislation and now employees are calling for statutory paternity leave.

Owners of small and medium-sized enterprises argue that such legislation would add to their costs, but I think it is right that new fathers should be given some time off.

At the moment, if they want to be at home to help their wives, they have to use some of their annual leave. But I think this is an infringement of their basic rights, as this leave is supposed to be allocated as time for them to rest.

Employers should not just focus on making profits. They should show that they care.

If they provide a better working environment, their employees will be more productive. Women already have maternity leave and their husbands should be allowed to share the joy of the arrival of their child and share the responsibility of looking after the baby.

To not allow paternity leave is tantamount to discrimination.

Norway became the first nation to introduce paternity leave 35 years ago and it is now time for the Hong Kong government to bring in the necessary legislation.

A government study found that the extra cost would only account for at most 0.04 per cent of a firm's total wage bill. This additional cost is not a good excuse to oppose paternity leave.

As an advanced city which attaches importance to workers' welfare, Hong Kong should consider making paternity leave statutory to protect civil rights.

The government should come up with a comprehensive proposal and submit it to the Legislative Council.

Joanna Ku Hiu-yi, Tsuen Wan

Very long wait to see consultant

Some time ago I had a heart attack and was treated very well in a big public hospital in the Sai Kung area.

I had to go elsewhere for an operation and was discharged with prescriptions to take for the rest of my life.

No complaints so far. Indeed, I was most grateful to all concerned for the help to return to normal.

I regaled my friends with the wonders of modern medicine and how grateful we should all be for the advances made in recent years.

However, the cost of the medicines I have to take was beginning to take its toll on my peace of mind and my bank balance.

I went to my GP, who wrote a note for me to take to the hospital so that I could make an appointment to see the relevant consultant.

The young woman at the hospital desk filled out the form in record time.

However, the date was not for a fortnight hence, nor even a month. I was scheduled to come back in July, 2013.

I have never had to wait for 13 months for my next medical appointment, even if it was not exactly urgent.

This is probably not a record in the third world, but I had always thought medical facilities in Hong Kong were on a par with those in, for example, Britain and Australia.

Am I perhaps expecting too much of the medical facilities in this city?

Helen Heron, Sai Kung

Tenants of subdivided flats need aid

There are a lot of problems connected with subdivided flats. The quality of the accommodation is poor and the government has pledged a crackdown.

Many people who live in these flats are underprivileged and cannot afford to rent a proper private flat. They cannot afford to get a better quality of accommodation. Children from these families also suffer, because with living in these subdivided flats it is difficult to study and so their school work suffers.

The lives of these families could be improved if they were offered public rental housing.

Making this provision of public housing would also help the economy, as people would feel better about themselves living in this accommodation, rather than subdivided apartments, and would probably be more productive.

Subdivided flats create a bad impression with tourists about Hong Kong.

However, although I think the government should rehouse people who are in this kind of accommodation, I do not think they should jump the queue.

When it comes to rehousing them, as there is already a long waiting list, they should have to join it.

Allocation of flats should be fair and on a first-come, first-served basis.

The government is right to want to crack down on subdivided flats, but it should build more public rental housing units, so that people who have to leave their subdivided units can be given a public rental flat.

I think with the right approach by officials, this social problem can eventually be solved.

Ingrid Lo Choi-yin, Sha Tin

Help needed for ethnic minorities

Young people from ethnic minorities should be given the same opportunities as other young Hongkongers in education. They should not be subjected to discrimination.

Education is so important, as it offers these young people a chance to achieve their potential.

Some youngsters from ethnic minorities are struggling, because their grasp of Chinese is poor. This can make it more difficult for them to get a university place.

The government must ensure that they have the same educational opportunities as other students in the city.

Schools should ensure they are given additional classes in Chinese to enhance their language skills.

We must aim for an equal society in Hong Kong in which all citizens are involved.

Yip Hiu-yi, Tseung Kwan