Minister robbing villagers of rights, says kuk
Angry Heung Yee Kuk leaders yesterday accused the development chief of 'robbing villagers of their fundamental rights' by advocating an end to the small-house policy in the New Territories.
In heated discussions at a kuk meeting, rural representatives said Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (pictured) was creating trouble and damaging 'the villagers' core values'. Some also criticised kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat for not being tough enough.
'Lam is the villagers' nemesis,' said Tsang Shu-wo, a member of the Ping Shan Rural Committee. 'Whatever issues [arise] about the New Territories, she wants to destroy them. Shouldn't we chop her? We shouldn't let her be our chief secretary.'
Lam is widely tipped to be the next chief secretary in the administration of chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying.
Their anger stemmed from a South China Morning Post interview in which Lam called for an end to the policy that grants every male indigenous villager the right to build a three-storey house of 2,100 sq ft close to their ancestral homes.
The conflict between Lam and the kuk has also been fuelled by Lam's strong stance over the removal of illegal structures in village homes.
At yesterday's meeting, members postponed a planned protest for next Wednesday at the central government offices in Admiralty until after the handover anniversary on July 1, so 'the celebrative atmosphere will not be affected'. They did not set a new date.
Tang Tat-sin, also from the Ping Shan committee, said Lam held even more power than President Hu Jintao . 'We must get together to fight against her.'
Shap Pat Heung Rural Committee chairman Leung Fuk-yuen said it was inappropriate for Lam to make the remarks over the small-house policy, especially as she had yet to be named chief secretary.
Hau Chi-keung of the Sheung Shui District Rural Committee said members would convey their views to Leung when they were due to meet him next month.
Lau said the kuk would do its best to fight over issues that affected indigenous villagers' rights. He said when late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping set out the principle of life being unchanged in Hong Kong for 50 years, he meant that it would not be necessary to change after the transitional period expired.
He said Lam's idea of ending the small-house policy in 2029 - meaning that the generation born that year would be the last to benefit before the 50 years expired in 2047 - was a false interpretation of the Basic Law and was impractical.
On the issue of illegal structures, the kuk met barristers yesterday to discuss the limits of different land leases for village homes.