Leung Chun-ying

Chief executive has responded to calls for more lifts

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 September, 2012, 1:44am


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I disagree with critics of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's plan for more outdoor lifts, who say he is trying to boost his own and his government's "flagging popularity" ("Leung unveils plan for a 'city of lifts'", August 22).

They point to the scandals that have plagued the new administration beginning with the discovery of unauthorised structures at Leung's home shortly after his election victory.

Creating a barrier-free city has always been a long-term goal of Hong Kong governments. Leung is simply trying to accelerate this policy. Although there is a general consensus that accessibility has improved for people with disability and the elderly, improvements have been piecemeal and inadequate.

The pace of progress has been painfully slow, so it is high time the government came with a universal design concept so we can have an obstacle-free city.

The fact is that Hong Kong is still not disabled-friendly or elderly-friendly enough.

There are some paths or ramps complying with obligatory requirements for persons with disabilities, but they continue to face a myriad of physical and operational barriers to gaining access to premises, services and facilities such as handrails which are at the wrong height.

I think that what Leung has done is to put himself into the shoes of people with disabilities and enhance the barrier-free environment for them. Building 230 outdoor lifts brings the city closer to that goal and enhances its reputation.

During visits to Hong Kong's districts made by Leung and his political team, many senior citizens told him they needed more lifts and escalators to help them get around.

The chief executive has listened to the public's views and has acted swiftly.

The lifts will be installed in all districts where they are needed and I have no doubt that they will benefit people.

I don't think there is any attempt by the chief executive to divert attention from the problems he and his government have experienced.

He has said that "no livelihood issue is too trivial", so he is keen to listen to all citizens.

I am not denying Leung was at fault over the illegal structures in his home. However, he has apologised and he should be given a chance to prove himself.

I believe he stood in the election because he wanted to serve the people of Hong Kong.

We should trust his motives and give him the chance to make this a better city.

Vivienne Leung Wai-ting, Ma On Shan