Letters to the Editor, December 14, 2016
Pan-democrats must now come together
The demise of the pan-democratic camp seems to be inevitable if they do not make the effort to unite.
All the pan-democratic lawmakers, without exception, must make the effort to come together. They must also behave sensibly and not give the proestablishment side any reason to move against them. Some of them acted unwisely and in an immature way, without realising the consequences of their actions until it was too late.
Some of these same proestablishment figures objected to Britain’s divide-and-rule policy during the colonial period. And yet they and the central government are happy to employ the same tactics today.
They might try to tempt some pan-democrats to senior positions in the administration or other organisations, hoping to create friction in the prodemocracy camp and sow the seeds of disunity.
Also, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee was determined to act hastily before the High Court could rule on the oath-taking issue and I believe this tied the hands of local judges. This has eventually led to the disqualification of two young localist lawmakers, even though they had been democratically elected.
What happened to them should serve as a warning to young people wanting to enter politics. They must realise that the government wants to eliminate the opposition camp to please Beijing and will not miss any opportunity to target pan-democratic lawmakers.
The next chief executive will do all he or she can to curry favour with Beijing and this is very bad for Hong Kong’s future.
A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui
Occupancy rate is high at fresh markets
I refer to the report (“Link Reit markets lack day-to-day necessities”, November 26) which requires clarification. Our fresh markets’ primary goal is to meet customers’ needs for daily necessities. Over 90 per cent of the Link’s fresh markets are selling the five basic fresh market commodities, namely fruit, vegetables, fish, pork and Chinese roasted meat.
The occupancy rate for our fresh markets and cooked food stalls now stands at 89.4 per cent, compared with 81 per cent in 2012.
The tally underlines our efforts in turning our markets into popular fresh food shopping destinations by widening retail choices.
Meanwhile, the Link is further expanding its array of retail offerings by enhancing its market services and facilities. Our survey has ascertained that customer satisfaction with the renovated fresh markets is as high as 80 per cent.
We, therefore, cannot accept the erroneous conclusion made by the concern group regarding our fresh market service.
B. C. Lo, director (corporate communications and external relations), Link Asset Management Limited
Construction sector can be more tempting
The construction industry has introduced a number of measures to try to deal with the shortage of workers in the sector.
For instance, it has raised wages to try and make these jobs more attractive.
The Hong Kong government has also made efforts to boost recruitment numbers.
However, it is important to bring in young people who will make their careers in the construction sector, and not many youngsters are showing sufficient interest.
They look on these jobs as being difficult, exhausting and sometimes hazardous, with the risk of injury on a construction site being greater than in an office.
This manpower shortage must be addressed and solved as quickly as possible.
If not, planned development of the city could be adversely affected with delays to infrastructure and new housing projects.
The government is trying to ease the shortage of housing, but if there are not enough construction workers, then some public estate developments could be put on hold and it will fail to meet its targets.
It is not enough to just increase wages. For young people, the risk factor is still uppermost in their minds and cancels out the attraction of a higher salary. Also, they may think that, in terms of job security, the sector is not stable. They must be assured that, in the event of injury, there will be a structured medical insurance system in place, so they know they will be compensated and get all the medical care they need.
Teenagers are influenced by parents who see some jobs as better and some as inferior. They often look down on jobs in the construction industry.
There must be more promotion and education to emphasise that working in this sector can offer young people a rewarding career.
Angela Chan, Tiu Keng Leng
Underground flats could lead to cleaner air
I refer to the article by Agnes Tai (“Hong Kong can discover a whole new way of life, below ground”, December 2).
There is the potential to use underground spaces for a number of things, including homes.
We would then have the opportunity to diversify what we do at street level and, I believe, enjoy a cleaner environment. We would be able to plant a lot more trees, for instance, which would help clean up the air.
There would also be more room for additional entertainment facilities if more people were living underground.
Poon Ho-yin, Tseung Kwan O
Long-term solution to housing crisis
The waiting lists for a public housing flat have been getting longer. This means that the government is now unable to keep its pledge to ensure that an applicant gets a unit within three years.
It is trying to deal with the housing shortage.
However, the difficulties it has had in rezoning a green belt site in Wang Chau, which would only provide 4,000 apartments, illustrates the problems it is experiencing in its efforts to deal effectively with the city’s serious lack of affordable housing.
I believe that the best remedy, in the long term, is to create underground spaces and fully develop them.
Right now, there is a shortage of available land.
If the proposal to develop underground spaces in designated urban areas got the go-ahead, more land would then be available for many more flats and for community use, such as new sports facilities.
It would, of course, be essential to develop these underground spaces to their full potential.
This has been achieved in a number of countries, including Japan, which in certain places has what are known as underground “cities”.
Shirley Lee, Tseung Kwan O
E-car owners are still facing obstacles
One way to ease Hong Kong’s air pollution problem is to have more electric cars on our roads, replacing conventional vehicles using fossil fuels.
There are no emissions and they would also help to lower noise pollution levels. And their batteries can be recycled. However, there is a downside as there will be greater demand for electricity from our coal-fired power stations.
Also, there are still not that many electric cars in Hong Kong and there is only a limited supply of charging stations. This can make it difficult for drivers to find somewhere to recharge the battery and can put off potential buyers.
The government has to have more campaigns promoting the benefits of owning an electric car. It also has to offer more subsidies to people if they buy one of these vehicles.
Alice Wu, Sha Tin