Worrying about subdivided-flat dwellers keeps CY Leung from good night's sleep
Housing has been my biggest concern since taking office, chief executive tells public forum
The plight of people living in subdivided flats in industrial estates sometimes keeps Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying from getting a good night's sleep.
That's what he told a town hall meeting in Tin Shui Wai, where he took questions on a wide range of topics, including the extension of landfills, housing, education and pollution.
Most of the questions concerned key livelihood issues.
Leung said of all the issues he had had to deal with, poor housing remained at the forefront of his mind.
"Despite being very busy in the past year, I have been sleeping very well at night," he said. "But whenever I didn't sleep well, it was when I was thinking about the subdivided flats problem."
Leung said his administration had been devoting much time and effort to increasing land and housing supply.
Addressing the recent landfill row, Leung said he felt "apologetic" towards residents living near the three proposed expanded sites - in Tuen Mun, Tseung Kwan O and Ta Kwu Ling.
He said he hoped the Legislative Council would pass funding for the proposals in the next legislative session to allow the government to carry out a comprehensive review of the plans.
On the shortage of university places and the future career paths of Hong Kong youngsters, Leung urged parents to be more open-minded in letting their children look for opportunities outside the city.
Yesterday's forum was attended by hundreds of local residents, most of them district council representatives and government supporters who had queued overnight to grab all the tickets.
They shouted supportive slogans to Leung and booed whenever the handful of democrats sitting in the last two rows of the hall who had managed to secure tickets spoke up against Leung.
Most of the 17 people chosen to ask questions expressed support for the administration. Only one identified as a pan-democrat supporter got to ask a question.
When a few protesters tried to speak over Leung and urge him to resign, the chief executive said: "It is very hard to understand why these people, who advocate democracy and freedom, would disrupt communication between officials and citizens."
The forum was briefly disrupted by the protesters, but resumed after they were ordered out.
After the meeting, Leung said the experience had been productive, allowing him direct contact with residents. He called it "progress, better than before".
On his blog last night, Leung said democracy supporters should not try to stop people expressing their views.