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CommentLetters

Letters to the Editor, July 4, 2014

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 4:33am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 4:33am

White paper defence erodes confidence

I was disappointed by the groundless defence by Law Society president Ambrose Lam San-keung of Beijing's white paper on the practice of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong.

The white paper stated that judges are administrators and as such have a basic political requirement to love the country.

Mr Lam, in defending the white paper, stretched the meaning of "administration" to include the executive branch, the legislature and the judiciary.

However, one has to look into the meaning of words in context. It is crystal clear that what Beijing wanted to express in the white paper is that judges in Hong Kong should work together with the executive branch and serve the political needs of the country. Anyone with a basic understanding of China's legal system will know that judges on the mainland decide cases by order of the ruling Communist Party, not by law.

The white paper is thus a blatant attempt to undermine judicial independence in Hong Kong, which is essential to the city's rule of law.

The Law Society is expected to be a custodian of the city's rule of law.

Its president, as the head of the society, is in particular tasked with the duty to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and uphold the integrity of the legal profession. In this respect, it is disappointing to see Mr Lam fail to actively defend our city's judicial independence.

No matter what his intention was, his remarks would be seen to please Beijing and affect citizens' confidence in the resolve of the society to protect judicial independence from erosion.

Michael Ko, Tsing Yi

 

Occupy referendum was biased

The Occupy Central referendum conducted by the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme was gravely biased. There was no provision for registering votes against all of the options.

There were options only to vote for various proposals favouring civil nomination of candidates. One further option allowed participants to mark their submissions with an "abstention".

An abstention does not mean one is against all the proposals. It merely means one is neutral on the issue or does not wish to vote for a particular unspecified reason. Quite apart from the debate on whether this referendum has any legal basis, which it clearly does not have under our Basic Law, if a referendum is to have any merit at all as an indicator of public opinion, participants should have been given the option to vote against all of the options presented.

Those who were vehemently opposed to the suggestions of the Alliance for True Democracy, People Power or a joint one by Scholarism and the Hong Kong Federation of Students, were denied the opportunity to register their objections.

This referendum was, therefore, flawed and clearly biased in favour of those advocating civil nomination.

In my view, it was inappropriate that these staged political pantomimes by HKU should be funded from the public purse.

P. A. Crush, Sha Tin

 

Peaceful march a credit to Hong Kong

Once again hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens showed on Tuesday that they can demonstrate and march for a cause without rioting, looting, acts of vandalism or mayhem.

Bravo to Hong Kong.

Christine Wong, Mid-Levels

 

Abe showing nationalist ambitions

I am writing about the man who set himself ablaze in protest against steps to overturn Japan's anti-war constitution. ("Pacifist protester sets himself on fire in Tokyo", June 30).

Limited coverage of the incident by mainstream media in Japan seems to reflect the determination of the country's leadership to reset the balance of power in Asia.

There is a difference between an assertive internationalist and an ambitious nationalist.

Japan's prime minster, Shinzo Abe, is proving to be the latter, as he is moving to boost his country's military power and transform Japan into a regional pivot against China.

It is not difficult to portray China as a menace. And it is not the first time; it was evident in Western media following China's naval defeat in the first Sino-Japanese war 120 years ago. But to create a security dilemma and lay the seeds for a potential arms race makes Abe's peace pledges all the more unconvincing and questionable.

The veil of collective self-defence does not hide the offensive nature of military power.

Rex T. C. Wang, Tsim Sha Tsui

 

Third runway pros outweigh cost concerns

I refer to the report ("Third runway sparks cost concerns", June 24).

It is clear that Hong Kong International Airport cannot rely on nearby airports, for example, in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, to handle increased passenger demand.

They are already crowded and are not as efficient as Chek Lap Kok. Flights are sometimes delayed and this is a problem that is not being addressed.

People have expressed concern about the cost of building a third runway.

In the years before the handover, there were delays over the construction of Chek Lap Kok. Concerns were expressed about the cost of such a massive project, including from Beijing.

Again, people talked of the possibility of using nearby airports.

These delays raised the cost of the project, with inflation and other contributory factors.

Because bureaucracy and objections delayed the completion of the present airport, the last governor, Chris Patten, had to leave by boat.

Even today, all these years after it opened to the public, it is still one of the best airports in the world. It has won numerous awards and we should be proud of it.

Without it, the city would have lagged behind in the aviation sector. Sometimes, it is better to take on the critics, even mainland officials, and look at the bigger, long-term picture.

In the last two decades, China has seen rapid economic development and opened up to the world. In the future, passenger volumes from and to China will increase.

We have to recognise this and realise that as Asia's world city, we are heavily dependent on the tourist sector.

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui

 

Authority working to recruit nurses

I refer to the letter from Lawrence Choi ("Reopen schools to train more nurses", June 28).

The Hospital Authority has reactivated seven nursing schools since 2008 to provide registered nurse (RN) training programmes and enrolled nurse (EN) training programmes in order to increase the supply of nurses in Hong Kong.

The authority also conducts reviews on nursing manpower requirements annually to assess the student intake number.

In 2014/15, the authority will continue to provide such training programmes, with an intake of 300 and 100 students respectively, to cope with the service demand.

The authority has recruited additional nurses in the past five years.

The overall nursing manpower has increased from 19,866 to 22,759, representing a net growth of 2,893 in number and an increase of 14.6 per cent.

Also, this year (2014/15), the authority will recruit 1,680 nurses to make up for staff turnover and relieve the work pressure of frontline nurses.

Subject to market availability, the authority also plans to recruit another 300 nurses to address the winter surge in demand.

Jane Liu, chief manager (nursing), Hospital Authority

 

Bus companies should receive support

I am sure most Hong Kong commuters have experienced delays because of breakdowns on parts of the MTR network.

I think the reason that we are seeing more of these technical problems, and therefore more delays, is because the MTR Corporation is struggling to cope with the huge increase in the volume of passengers.

It is therefore important passengers continue to have viable alternatives to the MTR, in particular, regular and widespread bus routes provided by companies such as KMB.

These bus firms can help take some passengers from the MTR and make it easier to deal with crowding at stations and on trains. Serious overcrowding can put passengers at risk.

However, some bus companies have complained about financial problems; if necessary, the government should act to ensure bus firms like KMB remain in business.

If need be, the government should be willing to invest in bus companies as a shareholder. The other options would be a financial subsidy or a tax break.

Our administration should not always take a laissez-faire approach and sit on the sidelines.

Sometimes, it should be willing to help out a sector that is important for Hong Kong. This is certainly the case with buses and with other sectors, such as, for example, the recycling industry.

Sally Chung, Yau Yat Chuen

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This article is now closed to comments

impala
@A.L. Nanik

You have no clue what you are talking about.

Nobody disputes that we need an efficient airport. It is indeed vital for the economy, including for tourism. The question is - do we need an airport that is so big that it has three runways, and is that worth the HKD 130 billion (and no doubt some more) price tag.

Under the airport's own Master Plan 2030 Option 1: Two Runway System, the airport, with upgrades, would be able to handle up to 74 million passengers per year in 420,000 flight movements.

Option 2: Three Runway System, allows for 720,000 flight movements and 97 million passengers.

The question is therefore: do we as a city want to pay up HKD 130 bn of public money to be able to handle an extra 23 million passengers pa?

What percentage of these passengers will just be transfer passengers, which is nice for Cathay but does not help the rest of the economy at all?

Are we happy with the environmental and livelihood effects of having one flight take off or arrive every 36 seconds (920k flights movements per year)?

At what point will be -finally- start incorporating some of the tangible and intangible costs into the pricing of (the use of) the airport? If we do, won't this stabilise the number of passengers at or below 74 million?

In a very dense city of 7 million, why would we want to have an airport with with over 70 million, let alone over 90 million passengers?

None of these questions have been answered yet.
captam
@"Bus companies should receive support"
Precisely! But our Government is working against them (and the general public) by punishing them. They are not even allowed to increase the size of their bus fleets to provide more comfortable alternatives and options to over-crowded MTR trains. The Government prefers to listen to selfish private car owners complaining about "only half full buses" ...... which, by the way, are still carrying an average 50 plus passengers compared to the private cars with their (on average) two passengers.
We should all start writing letters to this paper complaining about "half full private cars".
impala
@Crush Sha Tin

The poll was meant for OC supporters to select the best proposal (out of three) that the movement should focus on. It was not meant for OC opponents or people who favour alternative, non-OC electoral reform proposals. If either one of those groups would like to collect signatures or organise their own poll, they can get started right away. Please do.

The fact that there was no option to oppose all three options is entirely logical, and does not mean that the poll was biased.

When a political party in a parliamentary democracy invites its members to elect its leader, or when a candidate for an election is chosen through an (open or closed) primary, there is also no 'oppose all' option.

Lastly, the option to abstain from voting for either one of the two questions in the OC poll was meant simply to allow some voters to only vote for one of the two questions and remain neutral on the other.

The only thing that is flawed here is your understanding of polls and voting processes.
r6b
To A L Nanik
your statement "Because bureaucracy and objections delayed the completion of the present airport, the last governor, Chris Patten, had to leave by boat." ... Is totally inaccurate.
The "boat" you refer to was the UK's Royal Yacht Britannia, and it as specifically brought to HK for the pomp and ceremony of the handover/departure, carrying both the Patten Family and Prince Charles out of HK, at the stroke of midnight June 30th.
Further - on any midnight in 1997, there was never an issue of departure congestion at Kai Tak.
Fabricating history as you have done, only serves to diminish the quality of your remaining arguments.
chaz_hen
And Nanik gets a red card for using "Asia's World City" with a straight face in a letter to the editor.
kctony
Gunzy, why are you still mired into such flawed logic?
That's why I support a poll and a march for the White Paper. Then you will have your answer.
impala
@gunzy
[Does it mean that only 800,000 people support the OC out of millions of HKers?]

Yes, in principle I would agree with that statement, although you would have to scrap 'only' in favour of 'at least.' Nobody was forced to vote. There will be plenty of people who might agree with OC yet didn't vote for some reason.

Furthermore, the poll was (unfortunately) on the radical side of things. Had it allowed more moderate proposals, more yet people would probably have voted. There are lots of people in Hong Kong who might disagree with public nomination and/or the threat of OC, but still do want real electoral reform that will entail an open election for the CE post, including candidates that might not have the approval of Beijing.

Lastly, as I have stated elsewhere, even 'only 800,000' is more electoral support the DAB&Co received in the last LegCo election. Our government's majority in LegCo is based on 'only' 772,487 votes.

And please don't tell me that because the OC poll ran for 10-days it is an unfair comparison. The pro-Dems received over 1m votes in the same 2012 LegCo election, so really it is clear that there is a very large group of voters in Hong Kong who favour electoral reform in favour of genuine democracy.

If we had a simple proportionately representative system like so so many (other?) civilised places in the world, this whole OC discussion would not even exist and there would be a 2/3 pro-Dem majority in LegCo that would pass the reform
chaz_hen
Mandatory carpooling!
virokick
Great Points Impala.
The outlay doesn't justify the returns. And the profits accrue to crony/ lobbying airlines like CX.
Besides this is creating low yielding airport jobs. It's also time our economy diversifies from this silly thing called - tourism.
gunzy
"The poll was meant for OC supporters to select the best proposal (out of three) that the movement should focus on"
.
Does this mean that only 800,000 people support the OC out of millions of HKers?

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