Public Eye

Leung must be squeaky clean, not sneaky

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 3:34am

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.