Public Eye

Listen to public views on mainland immigration

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 September, 2013, 5:03am

Listen to public views on mainland immigration

What makes the 150-a-day quota for mainland immigrants so sensitive that the government treats it like a taboo topic? Every time the issue comes up the government puts a lid on it. Security Secretary Lai Tung-kwok did it again this week by dismissing calls to reduce or scrap the quota. Why can't the government have a face-to-face with the people about this unpopular policy that swells our population by more than 50,000 a year? Is it because it's the central government, not us, that calls all the shots on the quota? It is a family reunion policy, but critics say the so-called one-way permit holders are adding to our housing pressure. More than 700,000 have settled here since the handover. Public Eye is all for families reuniting. But surely our government should at least have a say on who can come. In our case, the mainland issues the permits with no Hong Kong input. Yes, we need new immigrants, but the right ones who can enhance our society. Our leaders should have the courage to tell the central government that public resentment could be lowered if we were allowed an input on who qualifies to settle here.


Time to bring some order to tourist chaos

Is Public Eye just imagining it or did our policymakers finally talk some sense regarding the swelling numbers of mainland tourists? Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said at a Hong Kong-Guangdong co-operation function that we must expand our facilities to accommodate the flood. What took him so long to realise that? Speaking at the same function, Guangdong Governor Zhu Xiaoden insisted mainland tourists helped our economy, but admitted the visitor flood had to be healthy and orderly. Damn right. It has been anything but orderly. The city is swarming with mainlanders since we opened the floodgates, but our policymakers have done nothing about overcrowded trains and streets, rising prices and the local resentment this has sparked.


Tycoon all talk on housing for young

Do it already, for goodness sake. Spare us all this talk. How long has it been since property tycoon Lee Shau-kee of Henderson Land first boasted about donating land to build affordable flats for ordinary Hongkongers? It was so many moons ago, we have lost count. And he is still talking and getting media coverage. What a great way to promote yourself as a rich guy who cares about ordinary people. First, he talked about donating farmland. He imposed conditions and didn't want to pay the land premium. Sceptics suspected his true motive was to have the government build infrastructure that would lift the value of his other nearby farmland. The government said thanks, but no thanks. He then peddled his offer to the Housing Society. That's going nowhere either. Now he says he wants to build subsidised flats for young buyers. What's this guy playing at? If he's for real, he can start right away with all the billions he has amassed off the backs of ordinary Hongkongers. Bill Gates doesn't just talk about helping the needy. He does it.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and broadcaster.