PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 April, 2009, 12:00am

Time to draw line under PCCW saga

Despite the High Court's ruling on April 6 that the privatisation of PCCW was legitimate, the Securities and Futures Commission nevertheless decided to appeal against the verdict.

The Court of Appeal hearing takes place today and some people are believed to have initiated behind-the-scenes moves to build up public pressure for the next step, which is to push the commission to seek further clarifications from the Court of Final Appeal should the attempt to derail the buyout deal fail.

We can understand the SFC has no choice but to appeal against the High Court's ruling even though the court has already found the 'vote planting' accusation has no legal basis. However, the litigation should not be allowed to drag on for too long, as this would be unfair to the litigator as well as to many small shareholders who support the privatisation, hoping to reap profits from the buyout.

It should be noted that the privatisation of PCCW requires the completion of loan financing which has a time limit and incurs substantial interest. The privatisation would very likely be aborted if the process is once again stalled, regardless of the court's decision. We should therefore respect the decision of the Court of Appeal as final and end all litigation after that, otherwise it would have negative ramifications for Hong Kong's reputation as a global financial centre.

The views of many minority shareholders who back the deal should in no way be disregarded. Those involved should try to find common ground and strike a balance between the interests of all parties concerned.

Since the SFC is immune from civil litigation in this legal challenge, it has the responsibility to make sure the case is handled with prudence and be impartial to all parties. The issue has already aroused widespread concern in society and laid bare numerous legal and structural loopholes. When the dust has settled, the Legislative Council's panel on financial affairs should look into the matter and make necessary remedies to protect investors' interests and defend Hong Kong's international reputation as a global financial hub.

Abraham Razack, Legislative Councillor

Voting rights for all prisoners

Everyone should have the right to vote in elections, including prisoners. And I believe this ruling should apply to all inmates. Even individuals convicted of election-related offences should be regarded as normal people and be allowed to cast their votes.

Their punishment is to serve a custodial sentence, but that does not mean they cannot take part in social affairs.

Eventually they will be released and return to society. Therefore, they should be allowed to vote for those legislative and district councillors who they feel can best represent them.

As long as the prison authorities ensure an effective monitoring process, there should be no problem with them voting. They are unlikely to cause problems for other voters, as they will be under police surveillance.

Although giving prisoners voting rights may increase costs for the relevant department, it is a sign that Hong Kong is becoming a more democratic society.

June Chan Chung-wai, Tung Chung

Electoral fraud the exception

All prisoners except those individuals who were convicted of election-related offences should have the right to vote.

It is unfair to deprive them of this right just because they committed a crime.

Inmates convicted of election fraud should be banned from voting for a period of two years and then they too should be given a second chance.

Voting is part of the democratic process. Therefore, everybody in society should have the opportunity to vote, including prisoners.

Eirene Chan Chi-yan, Lai Chi Kok

Inmates can go to back of queue

A number of articles and letters have appeared in the South China Morning Post on the subject of prison inmates voting in elections.

I have no problem with allowing prisoners to vote. However, it would come at a cost.

If funds were made available, then I believe procedures and a programme should be implemented to permit residents to vote when they are - in hospital; asked to travel overseas on business trips or on holiday; mariners serving at sea, or convalescing at home or in a facility.

Once these people are able to vote, then move on to enabling prisoner voting.

Craig Sanderson, Lantau

Unfair to point finger at China

I refer to the article by Robert Samuelson ('Flawed, yes, but still the global currency of choice', April 7). I believe most people agree that the global financial crisis stemmed from the US subprime mortgages crisis in 2007. To blame somebody else for one's inability to repay a debt is the wrong attitude to take.

I must take issue with Samuelson's claims that low 'prices of imported goods encouraged overconsumption' and that 'China seems comfortable advancing its economy at others' expense'. In a capitalist economy, 'low prices' are the outcome of full competition, which is how the free market operates.

In my opinion, the current crisis needs the co-operation of all nations. We should strengthen the relationships between countries, which have become rather fragile of late. I do not think it is constructive to lay the blame unfairly on a particular country.

Steve Ma, Causeway Bay

Damaged nation

I am concerned about the chaotic situation in Thailand.

I appreciate that Thai citizens wanted to make their views known to the government.

However, I disagree with the methods they used to show their dissatisfaction. They blocked main streets in Bangkok and there were violent confrontations with the police. Some protesters threw petrol bombs at police [and soldiers] and at buildings. This was unacceptable.

What happened would have been disruptive for tourists and Thailand's international image has suffered.

Many shops had to close during the protests. Thailand depends so much on the income it derives from tourism. What happened on the streets of Bangkok will have an effect on tourist numbers.

I urge Thai people, in future, to carry out their protests in a peaceful manner.

Leo Li Wong-yuk, Tung Chung

Chosen few

Isn't it wonderful that the Americans can carry out daring rescues of their kidnapped nationals? But equally isn't it sad that so many other nationalities have also been taken by Somali pirates and al-Qaeda terrorists and no one lifts a finger to save them?

It all highlights the fact that people from poor countries don't count as much as those from powerful countries which have the wherewithal to hit back at their enemies.

Today's so-called asymmetrical wars obviously mean that those of us from the supposedly backward nations always get relegated to the sidelines. As that old Asian saying goes, when the elephants move, the grass gets trampled underfoot.

Renata Lopez, Wan Chai