Slow progress

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 July, 2011, 12:00am


It's dangerous to underestimate the government's ineptitude. Just when you think our officials have exhausted their store of bungles, they deliver another.

The toing and froing over the plan to scrap by-elections is the latest in a long list of indecisive manoeuvring. Some examples: the budget (Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah's decision to give HK$6,000 to every eligible Hongkonger after having said handouts would risk increasing inflation), the proposed ban on idling engines (still a proposal a decade after it was suggested) and the plastic-bag levy, which was implemented in 2009 - nine years after green groups first suggested it.

Why can't the government just lay down the law? Aren't they the ones in charge?

With the plastic-bag issue, why couldn't they have followed the lead of countries such as Italy, France and even Bangladesh, and said: 'That's it. No more plastic bags. At all'? Bringing in a half-baked law that slaps a meagre 50-cent levy on plastic bags in only some shops says to Hong Kong people that it's really not that important an issue.

When it comes to something the government really wants done, however, it happens - and fast. For example, the giant door masquerading as a building at the old Tamar site. These shiny new offices are for the government and its army of civil servants, political assistants and ministers. All objections about the 'wall effect' in the area were ignored and Admiralty now feels like the Grand Canyon.

Look at the speed with which that monstrosity shot up and compare that with the snail's pace officials adopt when dealing with issues related to the people they are supposed to serve.

What a basket case!