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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 12:00am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 September, 2013, 3:05am

Abraham Razack is not standing up for the common man on stamp duty

It's amusing to watch Abraham Razack, our much-maligned tycoons' man in Legco, threatening fire and brimstone in hell for the government unless it reverses course on property cooling measures.

The measures, he claims, penalise locals. Really? The guy who has devoted his entire career to defending the rights and privileges of the rich and powerful has suddenly taken an interest in the common man. That sounds almost like a religious conversion. Well, not quite.

What really irks him, other pro-business lawmakers and even one or two democrats, is a new anti-speculation measure that taxes local corporate property buyers more than private buyers. The new buyer's stamp duty, introduced last October, requires overseas or corporate buyers of local properties to pay 15 per cent of the price as tax on top of the existing stamp duty and a special stamp duty.

Razack and the rest of the Legco gang want local corporate buyers to be exempted from the new stamp duty.

But the whole point of the rule is that it closes a previous loophole which significantly contributed to speculation and the property bubble.

Instead of buying and selling flats, the loophole allowed speculators to buy and sell companies, with the flats as the assets, usually the only assets. They thereby avoid paying any stamp duty at all.

The new measure should have been introduced years ago to close this glaring loophole even if there had not been a property bubble.

For obvious reason, this has angered the property cartels, real estate agents and their bosses, and those lawmakers who are in their pockets.

One way they are fighting the government is to engage in scare tactics, warning that property prices will crash under the new measures. They understand that if prices start to fall drastically, many middle-class flat owners will join their cause. However, so far, only sales volumes have gone down, while prices have not fallen. This means the government is actually in a sweet spot.

Its anti-bubble measures are needed. Don't let those property lackeys fool you. So long as prices hold up or fall only gradually, the government has popular backing.


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This article is now closed to comments

Abraham Razack, former head of Land Development Corporation a foot soldier then for the property cartel in Hong Kong and still is one now as a legislator. He failed then to remove cage-living except exhibiting it in an installation at the Corporation’s headquarter at the Central Building. He should be removed from the legislation for public good or at least forbid him from voting. Sure it is not possible for an imbalance political system inherited from the colonial day. Reform to make Hong Kong a modern city.
Hong Kong is in need of a REFORM. People who love and care without their selfish agenda for Hong Kong, please start brainstorming and lets contribute to make Hong Kong a fair society, no more cartels as mentioned in this article. Lets start by thinking we are living in an unique city with a Chinese touch under China (this is real), so...... ???? First get rid of this guy mentioned here!
Exactly what I wrote in a few other comments. Great article, Alex!
'Good' trumps 'right', says Abraham Razack of property fight
Abraham Razack, the real estate moguls' man in Legco, is gearing up for a battle over the government's market cooling rules
Monday, 23 September, 2013, 4:41am
Joshua Butjoshua.but@scmp.com
Today’s article above disappeared after a short appearance. I responded to Razack’s self-defense with a comment below:
Razack says that in recent years the government has departed from the "traditional values that we were brought up with". So what were the traditional values? All good and right? In fact, don’t choose between good and right. Just listen to reason and you will take them both. It is both good and right for CY Leung and his administration to clamp down on property speculation just as all concerned governments would have done.
You can always resign from representing the property sector and concentrate on your charity work.
May God be with you always.


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