New rail routes would ease strain
Recently, the quality of the MTR's service has been criticised because of frequent delays and breakdowns of trains. I wish to express my opinion on this issue.
I think the MTR Corporation and the Hong Kong government should take action to reduce the burden on MTR services.
The MTR is already overloaded, which is worsening the problem. Frequencies of trains are increased in order to meet demand, which means that less maintenance and checking of trains can be done.
This increases the risk of delays and train breakdowns, resulting in inconvenience to passengers who are made late for work and school.
The situation in Hong Kong seems to be more serious compared to other places, as people in Hong Kong rely heavily on public transport. In many other cities, having a private car is commonplace and the demand for public transport is lower as a result.
I believe one solution would be for the MTR Corp to expand its services by increasing routes passing through Hong Kong, which could help disperse passengers to other routes. Since the cost of constructing new routes is very high, the government should subsidise the cost of the work, which would not only improve services but also provide jobs.
It is important for the MTR Corp and the administration to co-operate to solve this problem.
Joyce Chung Nga-lok, Kowloon Tong
MTR needs specialist treatment
If Cecilia Li had an engineering background ("Passengers left with no information", May 3) she would understand what constitutes normal wear and tear of the mechanical and electrical parts contained within the huge MTR system.
The many components of the MTR system are just like the organs in a human body, which sometimes ring alarm bells indicating we need to see a doctor. We must then wait for the medic to deliver his or her expertise before we can resume our normal lives. The more we complain, the more we suffer.
Similarly, the mechanical, electrical and information technology systems in the MTR will resume working again when examined by a specialist.
Furthermore, the MTR breakdown news is bad enough for all office bosses to understand that they must accept this reason for staff being late.
Pang Chi-ming, Fanling
Authorities must fight lawlessness
I was surprised and saddened to read the letter by A. Tam ("Colonial flag waving reflects dissatisfaction with government", April 27) to find out that the increasing number of Asian-looking drivers seen on our streets every day are probably illegally employed.
Having returned recently from Canada, where I have lived since my retirement from the civil service, I was disappointed to find that the immigration laws had not changed while I was away.
It seems that the only thing that has changed is the blatant lawlessness and the inability, or maybe lack of will, of the authorities to enforce the law.
No wonder our young people are frustrated and waving the colonial flag as a sign of protest. They do not miss British rule, but the time of British rule when things worked and the laws were strictly enforced.
The government of Leung Chun-ying must try to win back the hearts of Hong Kong people instead of letting the standards of administration slip further. Enforcing the law is not political and will not irk Beijing. In fact Mr Leung is failing in his duty if he does not push the relevant department heads to enforce the law.
Your correspondent wrote of the non-enforcement of the traffic laws on Pedder Street. Try Hennessy Road outside Sogo in the evening where taxi queues form, breaching every law from not stopping on the double yellow lines to refusing passengers going to certain destinations. If there is any policeman in sight, he is apparently not effective, as this queue has been operating for a long time now. Just like the Immigration Department, the police are not effective.
I could mention many more examples, but then it is something of which the 28,000-strong police force is aware.
Come on Mr Leung, let us turn back the clock and get back to being Asia's world city.
H. Poon, Quarry Bay
Retirement age extension ill thought out
I am writing in response to the article ("Plan to extend retirement age 'short-sighted'", April 29).
A Singaporean population expert advised Hong Kong to extend the retirement age from 60 to 65 in stages instead of implementing the plan in one go. A local academic and a government adviser felt that the extension should be carried out as soon as possible as it would help tackle problems associated with an ageing population.
However, Paul Cheung, former director of population planning in Singapore, took the opposing stance, saying that the extension would do more harm than good to Hong Kong.
I agree with Mr Cheung. Extending the retirement age may have a negative impact on Hong Kong's economic development.
First, introducing the plan would increase the city's financial burden. People who are in their 60s or above are regarded as elderly. I personally think that they need more rest than work as they are relatively weaker, no matter what their physical condition or mental fitness, compared to younger workers.
One of the aims of extending the retirement age is to increase productivity. However, older people cannot handle heavy workloads.
Second, the social burden in terms of medical costs would increase. Older people need more rest and medical care. If they have to work until 65, they may not be affordable employees as many health problems would arise. The government would then have to allocate more money and resources to medical services.
Third, the extension would make it harder to promote younger employees who are the pillars of society.
Extending the retirement age is not the right approach to maintain or even enhance competitiveness in Hong Kong. I hope that the government will examine the issue in greater depth before going ahead with such a plan.
Shirley Kwok Wing-shuen, Tsuen Wan
Stop the destruction of historical sites
Public consultation on cultural heritage in Hong Kong is proving to be of little interest as people focus more on issues such as waste charging and electoral reform.
I can understand the government delaying a comprehensive public consultation process. It must choose the right time.
However, while seeking public views on an overall policy may take time, it is up to the administration to halt, as far as possible, the demolition of historical sites, as they are part of the collective memory of the Hong Kong people.
I do not understand why demolition of sites such as Queen's Pier went ahead when officials knew the level of discontent such plans caused. The government still often puts corporate profits first.
Alice Law, Kowloon Tong