Officials willing to listen ... to the right people

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 April, 2006, 12:00am

What a world of difference there is in the way the government treats grass-roots groups and those that claim to represent the middle class.

It was perhaps ironic that dozens of irate protesters trapped housing and lands chief Michael Suen Ming-yeung (right) in his car for more than three hours last month, saying he had failed to consult them on a new plan to readjust public housing rents. Mr Suen and his assistant were on their way to a town hall meeting to address their concerns.

The government's willingness to listen to the people is laudatory, but why top housing officials were rolling out the red carpet this week to 'consult' a group of self-professed representatives of the middle class is a bit puzzling. A Post colleague received an e-mail invitation this week from 30SGroup, the group in question. The message said the director of housing and the permanent secretary for housing, planning and lands had invited them for a briefing on the public rental review, which would include a history of public housing, the current situation and proposed reform options.

Transportation to the department's headquarters in Ho Man Tin was provided outside the Legislative Council building.

Most of the above-mentioned protesters live in public housing. We wonder how many members of the 30SGroup have actually set foot in one.