• Thu
  • Jul 24, 2014
  • Updated: 12:12am
CY Leung policy address 2014
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong lawmakers snub debate on city's hottest issue: housing

Only four housing committee officials turn up, delaying important discussions on HK's housing supply policies

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 January, 2014, 11:31am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 5:19am

Housing may be Hongkongers' No 1 priority - but only four of the 27 lawmakers serving on a Legislative Council panel managed to make it to a discussion on the hottest issue in town.

The housing panel was due to discuss measures announced in the chief executive's policy address last week. But chairman Wong Kwok-hing called off the meeting after 15 minutes yesterday when the quorum of eight members had not been met, as required by its rules.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung and director of housing Duncan Pescod were among officials present to take questions in the scheduled 1½ hour debate. It was the first Legco meeting called off this year.

"I'm very disappointed and upset. Housing and land issues are of the greatest public concern. It is an area the chief executive has given top priority," Wong said. "They [the absent lawmakers] have wasted public money and they didn't deliver on their obligations."

A Legco spokeswoman said that at least 15 members had earlier indicated they would be able to attend the discussion, which began at 8.30am.

Democrat James To Kun-sun said a radio interview and traffic congestion delayed his arrival at the Legco complex in Admiralty. Labour's Lee Cheuk-yan said he had been discussing political reform with concern groups, but had planned to arrive later and raise questions about the problem of subdivided flats.

Wong has asked the panel's secretary to arrange another meeting as soon as possible.

Legco President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing called the postponement "regrettable" as officials had spent time preparing to brief the lawmakers.

"Once the time of the meeting is decided, I think it is the duty of every member to attend," he said.

Some 35 per cent of Hongkongers polled by the University of Hong Kong in December said housing was their top priority for the new year, more than any other topic.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced several housing measures in his policy address, including freeing up more land.


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This article is now closed to comments

Housing is not quite in the mind of most people in Hong Kong; at least among the regular reader commentators in SCMP – only three so far here who care to post. I guess they probably own property(s) in Hong Kong and find there is no housing shortage for them. For them, perhaps it is time to lie low when CY Leung is to build housing. They are worry that new housing in quantity will depreciate in monetary value of their own property. If my observation is any close to reality, I see political turmoil could happen again with property developers taking a lead to ouster CY Leung like ousting Tung. Snub Leung, they all must.
But I am not sure that the central government would give a similar blessing. Mainland learns a good lesson -- how deliberating property development disproportionally as investment can be for the general well-being to a society.
Why would anybody bother to vote in the current form of LegCo elections which produces, in my own case in NT E, NINE members! Which one of these can be held accountable for the state of affairs in any particular District?
I hope the media remember to publish these members' ridiculous behaviour come Legco election time. The media always dig out old dirt about our leaders, but the media should remind the Hong Kong public about these absent legislators come election time. Very quiet and not much response from these absent legislators - they don't care about Hong Kong people livelihood issues, for which housing is probably No 1. Please publish the names of these absent legislators so that the public know who works for the people, who don't.
What do we expect from these members? They are in the legislation to work behave of property developers. They can't be at the meeting to bite the hands that give them a job and livelihood.
This is utterly ugly how Hong Kong is governed by property developers even in broad daylight in the open. These absentees should be suit if possible for being delinquent in duty.


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