Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 3:46am

Guilty or not, Franklin Lam really ought to resign


Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts TVB’s Straight Talk show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.

Public Eye has just one word for Franklin Lam Fan-keung - resign. A leave of absence won't do. We're not saying he is guilty of wrongdoing. An ICAC investigation is still ongoing. But for now, his guilt lies in his own idiocy. It no longer matters if he used insider information as an executive councillor to boost profits from the sale of two flats before new anti-speculation measures kicked in. Nor does it matter if he illegally offered part of the sale price to his property agent. What matters is he is now a tainted man - guilty or not. And Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's administration is already top-heavy with political baggage. Lam could have easily wriggled out of accusations he abused insider information. Top officials had taken turns to publicly vow he didn't receive such information. But in pleading innocence, Lam overshot his mouth. He said one stupid thing after another - including the now all too familiar excuse of blaming his wife. And when it all didn't add up, he changed his story. It was like a page taken out of the book of stupidity used by development secretary Paul Chan Mo-po in handling his subdivided flats. Too many officials have been caught with skeletons in their cupboards. Heads need to roll.

Lam affair shows exactly why Exco is such a joke

Our top leaders - from C. Y. Leung down - all insist Franklin Lam knew nothing of the property speculation crackdown. We have to take at face value what our leaders say. They said executive councillors were only told of the new measures just hours before they took effect. If true, it exonerates Lam of illegally making millions. But it confirms that Exco - the top advisory body which meets behind closed doors to advise the government on key policies - is just a joke. It is not seeking advice when you tell your top advisers of a far-reaching policy hours before it takes effect. It is asking them to rubber-stamp the policy. Why are we paying Exco members over HK$64,000 a month when all they do is rubber-stamp government policies?

Not just Westerners who are key to HK's survival

Public Eye is fed up with all this nonsense that Hong Kong cannot survive - or will become "just another Chinese city" - without expats. It's racist talk and the people doing it are, of course, mostly expats. And when they say expats they don't mean Singaporeans, Japanese, Koreans, Indians, or foreign-born Chinese, who all play a role in internationalising Hong Kong. They mean just Westerners. Every time the issue of funding for ESF schools arises, they warn that Hong Kong will sink if taxpayers don't serve their needs by pumping money into these schools. How about pumping money into schools for ethnic minorities who have long been shamefully ignored by the government? Or do they not matter in the city's survival? There are plenty examples of "just another Chinese city" on the mainland doing fine without expats. In fact, expats are pouring into them for a piece of the action. Hong Kong's survival does not depend on any one group. We all play a part. So let's stop all this racist talk.


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