Over last 10 years government has lost touch with ordinary Hong Kong citizens

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2012, 12:00am


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Philip Bowring's Back Page article ('The financial chief we need', June 17) struck some right notes.

However, I cannot blame Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah for the malaise which has settled on the government during the past 10 years nor blame him for not using the squillions of dollars we have salted away to remedy the causes of our discontent.

Something went wrong with the system which transfers the messages of growing discontent to the highest echelon of government. The judicial inquiry which looked into the reasons for the Star Ferry riots in 1966 found that one of the reasons was a communication gap between government and people. Now in 2012 over the past 10 years that gap has grown and widened.

After 1966 to close the gap city district offices were opened on to the pavement of city streets. Gradually over the next few years there was a democratic progression. District councils were elected, although the urban council was abolished, the Legislative Council became an elected body, more committees and commissions were formed, the information department, the mouthpiece and eyes and ears of government, expanded remorselessly. There was even, believe it or not in the midst of these quarrels about secretaries, a secretary for information - and still, the malaise has grown.

Much else has been done but not enough to settle growing discontent.

The chief executive in about 2002 pledged the building of 50,000 housing units a year, every year. Our housing shortage was going to be met by fiscal means not by government, housing policies were shredded.

Stubbornly the government held on course even though housing production steadily declined. It was said we had no land now, like a conjuror's rabbit out of a hat, there is plenty but it comes too late to relieve the sufferings. Sit Pui-yu, a 'retiree who lives on CSSA at Wong Tai Sin public housing estate' says it all ('SCMP Debate', June 18).

Wisely chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying before he takes office is spending his days and nights meeting and talking to people, almost a one-man show, closing the communication gap, a leader not an ever-burgeoning bureaucracy. Let us give him the tools to do the job and then, as King Richard III said, hopefully our winter of discontent will be 'made glorious summer'.

David Akers-Jones, former chief secretary, Yau Ma Tei