Letters to the Editor, October 27, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 5:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 5:20pm

Separation of powers must be preserved

The controversy over oath ­taking by two new legislative ­councillors continues.

Some of the language used by localist lawmakers Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching could be seen as an effort to humiliate China.

Pro-establishment lawmakers have tried to ensure they are not allowed to take the oath again. I see this as their effort to have Leung and Yau kicked out of Legco for good and this will consolidate the position of the pro-establishment camp. I ­disagree with those who have ­argued that these two members of Youngspiration should not be given a second chance to take the oath. This would be unfair to the thousands of people who voted for them at last month’s Legco election.

Part of the heated debate on this matter has centred on whether the separation of powers is still being maintained in Hong Kong. Such a separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary does still exist and this must remain the case. This ­ensures an effective checks and balances system in Hong Kong.

I hope our lawmakers will try their best for Hong Kong and strive to improve the welfare of citizens, instead of acting out in the Legco chamber.

Simon Chung, Kwun Tong

Localists’ oaths were insulting to all ­Chinese

The oath-taking ceremony when all new legislative councillors are sworn in should be ­regarded as a solemn occasion.

The two localist lawmakers, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, should make a public apology for their behaviour during the ceremony.

Article 104 of the Basic Law requires lawmakers to swear ­allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR government of the People’s ­Republic of China. The correct wording in the oath-taking must be used. Failure to do that means you are not qualified to be a legislative councillor.

The two localists should have appreciated how insulting it was to pronounce China as “Chee-na”, given that it was similar to the word used by the Japanese for China during the Sino-Japanese wars. This was ­therefore insulting to all ­Chinese.

When you have a political objective, in their case, independence for Hong Kong, you need to come up with the best way to achieve that. Nothing will be gained by using abusive language. An apology is necessary because if they are disqualified they will have let down the ­people who voted for them.

Cathy Yuen Tsz-wai, Po Lam

Pets definitely welcome in West Kowloon

I should like to respond to the letter by Dennis Li (“Dog bans on promenades make no sense”, October 14).

Mr Li states dogs are banned from entry to the promenade (located within the Nursery Park) in the West Kowloon ­Cultural District. This is ­incorrect. Members of the ­public are welcome to bring pets to the West Kowloon Cultural District Nursery Park – including the waterfront promenade.

We adopt a pet-friendly ­policy and encourage visitors to bring their pets to relax in the open space and meet with fellow pet owners. The only thing we ask of our visitors is to ensure all pets are kept leashed and under control at all times.

I would like to stress that all pets, not just dogs, are welcome in the pet zone areas of the Nursery Park in West Kowloon Cultural District where owners can let their pets play freely and unleashed in a green environment. The pet zone areas are fenced with double-gated entrances, and are equipped with pet waste bins and fresh water taps. There are two pet zones in the Nursery Park.

As a clear indication of our love of pets, we have already promoted several pet-related activities, in particular the pet day held during our own “Freespace Happening” in March and the recent “Dances with Woofs Carnival” hosted by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals earlier this month. More pet-friendly activities are being planned.

Looking ahead, we are now actively building the permanent park, to be called the Art Park. It is designed for shared enjoyment by the public of Hong Kong. We have already stated that pet owners and their canine and other friends will continue to be welcome in the Art Park.

Duncan Pescod, chief executive officer, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

Better checks will protect the vulnerable

The government has neglected the importance of regulating nursing homes.

This is unacceptable given that the people living in these homes, such as those with ­mental disabilities, are among the most vulnerable members of society.

They are not capable of standing up for their own rights. Even if they do speak out they are ignored.

Without a tight regulatory system, they are at risk of abuse. There may be many more ­nursing homes like the ones ­recently highlighted in press ­reports for alleged abuses.

If the government imposes much stricter regulations of these homes and ensures they are properly monitored, more of them will improve their ­performance record.

One problem these homes face is finding staff. Few young people want to work in them for long hours and on low pay. There are other careers that offer far more attractive prospects.

The government needs to promote the sector as an attractive career option. It should ­subsidise diploma and degree programmes. With more well-trained young people being ­recruited, the quality of care for people staying in these homes will improve.

Rachel Ma, Yau Yat Chuen

Monitoring of nursing homes not sufficient

I fully supported Sunday’s demonstration which slammed the government for not doing enough to protect people with special needs (“Protesters demand reform of care homes”, October 24).

There has been no strict monitoring of nursing homes. The government has said 251 homes will have three years to meet new licensing requirements, but this is too long a grace period.

It means that special needs residents who are being abused will continue to suffer.

In my opinion, the government should shorten the period of time for the homes to meet the requirements to 12 months at the most. And it must increase the frequency of inspections of care homes.

Candy Kong Lok-son, Tseung Kwan O

Air filters won’t fix our city’s poor air quality

I understand parents who have called for tougher action in schools to protect their children from the city’s air pollution, such as installing air purifiers and testing air quality.

While these are sound measures, they are short-term and won’t lead to an actual improvement in the city’s bad air quality.

In the long term, education in schools is crucial so that the younger generation appreciates the importance of solving the air pollution problem.

They need to understand the causes and be encouraged to get into the habit of using public transport. Hopefully then many of them when they grow up will decide they do not need to buy a car and we will have fewer ­polluting vehicles on our roads. With a drop in emissions, there will be less roadside pollution.

Protecting our children now from the effects of air pollution matters, but teaching them to be responsible adults will bear fruit in the long term.

Ariel Kong Man-ching, Kwai Chung