Letters to the Editor, February 6, 2018

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 5:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 5:30pm

Focus on fewer cars, not more tax waivers

I refer to Cannix Yau’s article on registration tax waivers for private electric cars (“Electric cars hit roadblock”, February 5).

Ms Yau correctly pointed out that the capping of the first registration tax break for private electric vehicles failed to deliver any slowdown in new car registration and, actually, shifted the purchase pattern to petrol-powered vehicles.

The data from the government website is clear: 2017 has seen more private vehicles being sold than 2016. And, if you compare the 2016 to 2017 May to September periods,Tesla sold 1,287 fewer cars and BMW sold 1,352 more new ones.

The first priority for Hong Kong should be reducing the number of cars on the road. To do this, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po would just have to increase first registration taxes by a factor of two or three, and modulate rebates on tailpipe emission.

Hong Kong is one of the rare cities where owning a private car is not absolutely necessary. Let’s leverage this to reduce roadside pollution and congestion.

J.C. Clement, Jordan

Policy on small water bottles may miss mark

From later this month, vending machines at Hong Kong government premises – including all government-run sports complexes, performance venues, offices, ­urban parks, car parks, transport interchanges and ferry piers – are expected to stop selling water in bottles of one litre or less.

The purpose of this new measure is to encourage citizens to carry their own water or use the drinking fountains, and so reduce the plastic waste created in the city, seeing as more than 5 million polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles go into our landfills every day. But while this new measure is well-intentioned, it might create some problems for the public.

Using drinking fountains is not always hygienic, as everyone shares the same tap and may need to press a button for the water to flow. Such contact may leave people with a higher chance of catching a virus and getting sick, especially during flu season.

Moreover, with the vending machines no longer selling smaller water bottles, some people may choose unhealthy sugary beverages ­instead, which is bad for public health. Also, for the sake of convenience, some may even buy the larger bottles of water, even if they do not need that much.

More water will be wasted this way and the problem of excessive plastic waste will continue to plague the city.

Suki Lee, Hang Hau

Hospital said sorry to family of upset patient

I refer to the letter from Maggie Li of Hurstville, Australia, regarding her father’s experience during his stay at Kowloon Hospital (“Dad, 90, left depressed by hospital staff”, February 2).

The hospital is very concerned about the case and the patient ­relations officer of Kowloon Hospital has met with one of the relatives of the patient to fully explain the case.

She has also extended apologies on behalf of the hospital for the uncomfortable experience of the patient and his relatives.

Furthermore, we will continue to communicate with the patient and his relatives for all the support and assistance that is deemed necessary.

Helen Tang, community relations officer, Kowloon Hospital

New levy in Indian budget will hit elderly

The Indian finance minister last week presented the 2019 election manifesto of the ruling BJP party, in the guise of the union budget.

The new 10 per cent tax on long-term equity gains is utterly regressive and will stifle stock market growth. India is keen to draw foreign investors: the new levy will be a dampener.

The middle classes in India are also extremely indignant. Many salaried citizens invest in stocks to provide for their later years. Now their old-age funds stand depleted by 10 per cent. The stock market in ­India plunged by 800 points as a result of this bizarre tax. This proposal should be withdrawn.

The finance minister has also promised health care for 500 million rural Indians, without saying how these vote-getting promotions are going to be funded.

Prime Minister Narendra ­Modi, who came to power in 2014 with his flowery oratory, had promised to create millions of jobs. This promise, too, has yet to be fulfilled, along with the assurance of creating 100 smart cities.

Rajendra Aneja, Mumbai

SPCA deserves all the support that it can get

I refer to your recent article on the need to better protect animals in our city (“Are Hong Kong’s laws on animal abuse and neglect outdated?” February 4).

Animal abuse is a social problem that is often ignored in our city. People enjoy keeping pets but sometimes lose interest or find them difficult to handle, and mistreat or even abandon them.

Despite scores of abuse cases reported to police each year, not a single prosecution was initiated in the past three years.

Animal charities like the SPCA are finding homes for ­neglected and abused pets, and training legal professionals in dealing with abuse cases. But it had to put down 1,400 animals last year due to a lack of resources. The government should provide more land and money to such organisations.

Chan Wing-yiu, Lam Tin