Society formed to save harbour did not have political agenda

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2008, 12:00am

I refer to the statement in the letter of S. W. Lau ('Taking issue with definition of judicial independence,' July 30).

Your correspondent said: 'Trying to save Hong Kong's harbour is a political issue and people with such a political interest went to court to challenge the executive.'

The statement is mistaken because saving Hong Kong's harbour has never been a political issue but an environmental one and is completely above politics.

In proposing the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance, Society for Protection of the Harbour was supported by all the political parties at that time.

Three motions condemning harbour reclamation were unanimously passed by the Legislative Council.

The voting was 31 to 0, 35 to 0 and 45 to 0 with the government not getting a single vote on three occasions which was unprecedented. This resulted in the ordinance being enacted on June 27, 1997.

No politics was involved because it was unanimously accepted by all the honourable Legco members that the harbour needed protection from the massive reclamation projects proposed by the government which would have destroyed the harbour.

The objects for which our society was founded are to give Hong Kong a better environment and the people of Hong Kong a better quality of life through protection of the harbour.

This is what the Hong Kong community needs and wants, and is completely above politics.

Our society had to take the government to court only in order to pursue these objectives and to ensure that the ordinance was observed and the rule of law upheld.

Therefore what our society stands for and has achieved have never been political.

After the court actions, even the government has conceded that our society was right.

Hopefully the harbour is now safe from destruction through excessive reclamation and its preservation can remain above local politics.

Winston Chu Ka-sun, adviser, Society for Protection of the Harbour