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  • Nov 27, 2014
  • Updated: 5:24pm
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 3:34am

Leung must be squeaky clean, not sneaky


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 ATV’s Newsline 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.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying wants us all to get past the scandal of his illegal structures so he can turn to the business of governing Hong Kong. His top aides are likewise urging everyone to let the chief executive do his job. Public Eye has no problem with that. But for the people to get past the many scandals that have plagued Leung's administration, he himself must first put the scandals behind him. He hasn't done that. For starters, instead of facing the people he issued a 14-page statement about his illegal structures late Friday afternoon, just ahead of the weekend break. It was an underhanded move to limit the fallout. Television stations had little time to do proper coverage for that evening's newscasts. Popular radio phone-in shows are not on air on Saturday mornings. And the widely read free newspapers don't publish on weekends. Not only did he fail to shake off an old scandal, he created a new one. Why can't Leung understand he cannot come clean by being sneaky? A written statement, even if packed with details, just won't cut it, because Leung allowed the scandal to drag on for too long. It created a public mindset that he is hiding something. What is worse, his statement has raised even more questions. He needs to look the people in the eye, not hide behind written statements. He needs to face lawmakers and the media to answer all questions honestly for as long as it takes without fudging. But even that is not enough. For Leung to really get down to the business of governing, he needs to cleanse the administration of other festering scandals. He needs to fire the secretary for development, Paul Chan Mo-po, who is so tainted by the scandal over subdivided flats that he will be an easy target for Leung's critics for as long as he stays. Leung also needs to dump executive councillor Franklin Lam Fan-keung, who is suspected of having profited from insider information in the sale of two flats. Only then can Leung have the moral authority to truly start with a clean slate.

Parking slot prices are barking mad

It is lunacy gone berserk. Public Eye cannot think of any other way to describe it. Speculators are turning to parking spaces, driving prices beyond HK$1 million each, after the government slapped cooling measures on residential property. Surely it is obscene greed when property developers rush to put parking spaces on the market to fan this lunacy. Why not just turn Hong Kong into one big casino? Then we can gamble on not just property and parking spaces but every-thing else as well. We're already doing it for taxi licences. How about columbarium niches? Gamble on the dead. Public Eye is sure we'll have no qualms about doing that, too. Money talks in this town. Forget morals.

Profits put before the health of the workers

What disgusted Public Eye about the government's report on standardised working hours was the exclusive focus on how much the move would cost bosses. The report warned that the business sector would have to fork out an extra HK$55 billion a year if workers had a 40-hour work week. It said nothing about the health damage to people who worked long hours without overtime compensation. Bosses now force 90 per cent of our workforce to work more than 40 hours a week. More than half of those who work overtime are not paid extra. But who cares about the health of our workers? The government's report made clear that the profit margins of bosses is far more important than the well-being of our workforce.


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This article is now closed to comments

CY seems to know so little, I wonder if he ever watches TV or listens to Carrie. For a leader of the people, in touch with the people, he seems to do nothing that normal people do. For someone with enough money to own a property on the Peak it seems he is being an extreme skinflint in simply not employing professional people to advise him in the first place or in submitting applications to make changes to his property at the time. I'm sick and tired of his apologists holding up other illegal acts as some justification for his. Two wrongs don't make a right. A simple planning application at the time would have solved the problem. Let's face it we have been conned again.
What we most need is not perfection (there's no such person or thing), but a SENSE OF PROPORTION. Some things are just not serious enough to merit making a mountain out of a molehill, though it feeds the media frenzy and political/moral grandstanding. Frankly, I couldn't care less what CY (or anyone) did about his home improvement (as long as it's with his own money). If it's illegal then go ahead and fine him and get it removed, but it would be hard to think of anything more trivial (more trivial than drink driving, and certainly insider trading), and more pointless to get so obsessed about. I'm not a supporter of CY, but his critics are always complaining that he hasn't done enough to solve HK's problems, and yet try their best to make sure he can't focus on doing that. Please, enough already - we all have far more important things to do.
"Leung must be squeaky clean", WHY? Afterall, hardly anyone is. Certainly the CEOs of all big companies here which ahs as much, if not more, influence on HKers' life. Certainly, we should just settle for the best man, under restricted bias circumstances!! BTW, which world leader, country's head, is "squeaky clean" - our motherland isn't doing great on that score!
I second. _Nobody_ in this world, not even aliens are perfect. If anyone can name one goody-goody, let me know. Shouldn't we be looking at the bigger picture, instead of battering someone and make a hoo-hah out of it ? If he remove it or is never doing it again, then why stress over it ? From Yoshihiko Noda, to Angela Merkel to Barack Obama ; who doesn't make mistakes ?
Well said magafun
"Television stations had little time to do proper coverage for that evening's newscasts. Popular radio phone-in shows are not on air on Saturday mornings. And the widely read free newspapers don't publish on weekends."
This is really getting old. Stop already. Nobody cares if it's not convenient for the media. Stop blowing this up like it's a big deal. It's CY's private property.
CY should consider legalizing all safe illegal structures and be done with this.
yes! just like other crony states led by a dictator! when the laws get in the way, just change them! moron.
There's no need to use personal insults. I'm not going to use the report button because I think calling me a moron makes you look like the bigger idiot.
The law covering illegal structures is lousy and needs to be amended. The law is too cumbersome and pretty much everyone is ignoring it. The bureaucracy needs to buzz off and not concern themselves with what people do to their private property as long as the changes are structurally safe.
Your "just like other crony states led by a dictator! when the laws get in the way, just change them!" is a very lame strawman attack. Obviously there would be a consultation process and scrutiny by the legislative branch before the law can be amended. Dictators would simply issue a decree and be done with it. So who's the moron now?
I bet you're going to be a huge coward and not even respond to this comment.
so if i own a roof unit, under your proposed new legislation, if i cover it and double my square footage, as long as it is safe then its ok? is it that hard just to have a law where buildings need to be in accordance with plan, and any changes need approval? is that so unreasonable? do you realize your proposal that any changes to a building as long as they are safe will create a ton of adverse side effects? do you realize how aggressively developers will work this loophole? a whole new form of speculation will emerge where you can create larger spaces out of units as long as its "safe". i would like to be in charge of the government bureau that determines whether an illegal structure is safe! great way to take down some bribes too. so yes, i responded, and i still think you are a moron.
Do you realize that in most parts of the developed world, people can make minor changes to their PRIVATE property without requesting permission from some bureaucrat? The UK for example. The current law isn't just as simple as applying for approval. It's very costly to apply for approval and the process takes months before you can go ahead and make a change. Reform is necessary and the law needs to be streamlined. Also your claims of loopholes are once again huge exaggerations. As long as the law is carefully drafted, such loopholes can be minimized. Is the status quo really that much better? Nobody is respecting the current law as is, not even the colonial government before 97 respected this law!
You're not going to win arguments by calling people who disagree with you morons. Can you maybe grow up please? I'm embarrassed for you William. Is this your idea of democracy? It's also ironic that for a guy that hates Mao and the Communist Party so much, you seem to love the idea of having your freedom throttled by a bunch of bureaucrats.


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