Letters to the Editor, May 20, 2014
Amend law to allow public nominations
It appears that the only common ground between the pan-democratic and the pro-Beijing camps is that Hong Kong people should elect the chief executive starting from 2017 on a "one person, one vote" basis.
The main difference between the two groups lies in how to nominate a candidate to run for the top job.
The democrats argue that the public should be allowed to nominate the candidates whereas Beijing loyalists insist that this is clearly unacceptable to the central government.
The Bar Association and Law Society, in their respective submissions to the government, gave their legal points of view that public nomination is inconsistent with the Basic Law.
While it is understandable that the two legal professional bodies state the law as it is, we Hong Kong people should fight for the law as it ought to be.
Universal suffrage would be frivolous without the fair and equal right of citizens to nominate candidates. If public nomination is inconsistent with the Basic Law, then the necessary amendment should be made.
Genuine universal suffrage is essential to affording the people's political rights, restoring the legitimacy of the government and improving its governance. We should not delay but fight for democracy now.
Michael Ko, Tsing Yi
Optimistic about India's new premier
I refer to your editorial ("Modi's task now is to build trust", May 18).
According to Hindu psyche, life is a constant struggle between good and bad. This conflict goes on at individual, social, national and ultimately international levels.
It may be argued that there are no absolute guidelines to separate good from bad. But a Hindu generally believes that the creation is one family. Each and every effort to live in harmony with the all will be considered "good" and anything contrary to integral living will be "bad".
India's prime minister-elect, Narendra Modi, is well versed with this law and has given more than sufficient evidence to the nation that this selfless living has been his creed and none need distrust him.
The questions, doubts and suggestions pointed out in your editorial are indeed well meaning. Let us all, however, admire the fact that he has been able to touch the soul of India.
Under his leadership and guidance, India shall be a positive power and live up to its spiritual ideals, which are inclusive of material well-being and harmonious living with the rest of our world.
K. P. Daswani, Mid-Levels
Modi's party ran brilliant campaign
Ordinary citizens have once again made their voices heard in the world's largest democracy by voting for change.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies ran a brilliant marketing campaign in selling their leader Narendra Modi, with an agenda of good governance. The Gandhi family in the Congress party took the campaign to a new low, making personal attacks on Mr Modi.
Congress lost power because of rising prices of basic essentials like food, poor execution of infrastructure projects and indifference to the needs of ordinary people. The party's vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, put in a lacklustre performance. If the party is to bounce back, it has to select its leaders on merit, not because they are a member of a dynasty.
The message from the elections to those politicians who won is clear - please do not see your job as a business or a licence to make money; deliver on your promises. The new government needs to install a competent team to address the issues confronting the country.
Mr Modi's administration will have to hit the ground running, for the present euphoria will be short-lived. There is no time to waste. The Indian electorate will not forgive a government that fails to deliver.
Rajendra K. Aneja, Dubai
Environment chief acts like King Canute
I strongly agree with Peter Reid ("Incineration is not sustainable and poses threat to environment", May 7) and Charlie Chan ("Incineration plans are outdated", May 10) that the government has been inert, and is now inept and intransigent in getting to grips with Hong Kong's waste.
Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing appears impervious like a King Canute, facing a rising tide of coherent criticism from an informed civil society on this waste matter.
Incineration is also a hot topic on the mainland, where there have been violent protests against waste incineration sparked by the health concerns of an increasingly well-educated population.
It seems that the mainland can teach our officials some lessons in democracy, as the city government of Yuhang has said it would "shelve incineration plans if it did not have popular support" ("Police hunt for waste plant protesters", May 12).
It is also reported that similar protests have succeeded in getting projects on the mainland shut down.
Our Environment Bureau feigns wide community support but this is only from vested interests, people ignorant of the real issues, and government supporters willing to turn a blind eye to the genuine and informed environmental, financial, and health concerns. Why is the government painting itself into a corner at Shek Kwu Chau?
I. M. Wright, Happy Valley
Closer checks on charities are needed
I think there is a need for greater transparency when it comes to charities in Hong Kong which are collecting donations on the streets.
People may be willing to make a donation, but they may not know enough about a charity or how the donations are distributed. They may be worried that the money might not always get to the intended recipients.
I think this sometimes extends to the volunteers who are seeking donations for a charity they do not know that much about. There may be occasions when background information on the organisation is inadequate.
The government has to look at this issue and come up with legislation to ensure that all organisations which are registered as charities disclose in full how the donations they get from the public are distributed. This could be done through the press or on a website.
The government should also encourage the public to look into a charity to which they wish to make a donation or where they are considering offering to be a volunteer.
Cindy Yuen Wing-sze, Kwun Tong
Stick with maternity ward ban
It has been suggested that the ban on mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong's public hospitals could be lifted, because there is now room for some of them.
I would be strongly opposed to this idea.
After the government introduced the measure stipulating that only pregnant women who are Hong Kong residents are eligible to give birth in public hospitals, the workload on medical staff was eased and waiting times for local pregnant mothers was cut.
The Hospital Authority should not relax this rule just because there has been a slight improvement.
If it did, we would once again see huge numbers of mainland pregnant women in Hong Kong's public hospitals.
My wife and I are Hong Kong residents, and should be entitled to receive medical services without having to face fierce competition from non-residents. The interests of Hong Kong residents should be seen as the No 1 priority in our public hospitals. Non-residents should use the private sector.
Even with the ban, there are still delays. My wife and I went to the department of gynaecology and obstetrics at the Prince of Wales Hospital for pre-natal screening for Down's syndrome last month. The appointment was for 1.30pm. But, because of the large number of patients and limited medical staff and facilities, the screening process did not finish until around 5pm.
If the "Hong Kong residents only" measure were relaxed, I believe residents like me and my wife would face even longer waits.
I have to point out that even though staff were clearly under stress because of the heavy workload, they still provided first-class medical services and remained courteous. The nurses were very patient and answered all the questions regarding the pregnancy, helping to ease the anxieties of a pair of soon-to-be first-time parents. They definitely deserve credit for their professionalism.
Alex Pun Ka-hung, Ma On Shan
Board changes at MTR long overdue
I agree with transport and management experts that the government should decentralise the MTR's decision-making process.
With the rise in the number of breakdowns on the network over the past few years, it is obvious that changes are needed. After, all, so many Hongkongers depend on the MTR every day and need a reliable train service.
Therefore, decentralising the hierarchy will help. Also, railway professionals must be appointed to the board. Whenever there has been a breakdown, the government should be able to intervene and find out what happened.
Kelly Chan, Ma On Shan