Against extra bureaucratic procedures

I refer to the report (''Holes in plan' to plug voting gap', December 20).

I find Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen's comment that submitting the polling card (which under the existing procedure is already posted to a voter's registered address) to polling station officials would be 'too troublesome for voters' totally unfounded and ridiculous.

I actually handed my polling card to these officials in November's district council elections, assuming that it was part of the procedure.

I agree with Roger Emmerton that use of the polling card with a statement incorporated to confirm that the address shown on that card is the correct current abode is a simple and most effective solution to plugging the holes in the voting procedures, and will incur a minimum of administrative costs ('Threat of jail can curb the vote cheats', December 20).

Mr Tam's proposal for address proof and the report of any change of address is heavy-handed and this would definitely be 'too troublesome for voters', and for many would be problematic. His plans will certainly discourage voter registration, which is contrary to the government's objective.

I would not want to give my bank statement as proof, as I consider the information personal and confidential, yet I am unable to supply the other options being offered.

Please keep it simple Mr Tam and be aware that Hong Kong people lead busy lives and the last thing we need is additional bureaucratic procedures.

Frank Lee, Mid-Levels

Beijing's backing all that matters

The only riddle about why chief executive candidates Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying visited the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong earlier this month, is why anyone would consider this a riddle.

The reason is obvious: to garner support for their respective chief executive selection bids.

After all, the only opinion that really counts is the opinion of our Beijing overlords.

Most of the members of the selection committee will simply vote for who their overlords tell them to vote for, regardless of their personal preference.

Winning support from Beijing is, for them, the only thing that really counts.

All other campaign-related activities are just window dressing, and keeping up the appearance that we, the people, have a voice in the selection of the next chief executive.

Wouter van Marle, Tai Po

Green ideas are worth considering

I refer to the report ('Work starts on delta bridge after legal delay', December 15), on the one-year delay to the start of work on the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge.

During this past year, correspondents to these columns recommended that this bridge structure be adapted to support environmentally friendly forms of power generation, such as micro-wind turbines, solar panels and wave motion compressors.

Often, correspondents in their letters give 'out of the box' suggestions that apparently evade the normal bureaucratic and departmental thinking of our civil servants. It is rare that officials reply to this page in response to such letters.

This one-year delay should have allowed the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Eva Cheng, time to address and investigate these suggestions with a view to their incorporation into the project, possibly with the involvement of Power Assets Holdings Limited (Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited until February).

I invite Ms Cheng, who presided over the project launch ceremony, to comment on any progress on incorporating these very worthwhile ideas into the project.

Christian Rogers, Wan Chai

Flexibility key to idling engine ban

I refer to the report ('Breezy start to idling engine ban', December 16).

The new idling engine ban law came into force this month, and there were fewer problems than expected.

As you reported, only seven verbal warnings were issued on the first day of the new law and most drivers have complied with it. However, some of them have raised concerns about how they will deal with conditions in their vehicles during the summer heat.

I support the ban, as it is environmentally friendly. Air pollution is a serious problem in Hong Kong. The air pollution index at roadside stations is always high because of vehicle exhaust emissions. Given the amount of pollution caused by these emissions, it is reasonable to have legislation which controls them.

The ban can also help drivers because when they switch off the engine, rather than letting it idle, they can save fuel.

But drivers face a difficult choice. In the heat of summer, the interior of a vehicle might take longer than three minutes to get cool.

Many executives will not appreciate having to get into a car which is hot and stuffy in the summer months.

However, if they adhere to the legislation, it will be better for pedestrians on our crowded streets as they will experience an improvement of air quality.

I think the government should consider some relaxation of the idling engine ban for taxi and minibus drivers who have to spend long periods in queues waiting for passengers.

Also, environmental inspectors need to be sympathetic and tolerant towards drivers waiting in stationary cars for a long period of time for their bosses.

It is important to strike the right balance between enabling these drivers to earn a living and ensuring that the idling engine ban is obeyed.

Drivers can help themselves by installing fans.

They can also drink more water and keep their car windows open.

Isis Ching See-nga, Tsuen Wan

Reasons for tariff increase are valid

I understand CLP Power is putting in new scrubbers and moving to wider use of natural gas.

I cannot speak for those living on Hong Kong Island, but for those of us in Kowloon and the New Territories, am I really the only one that does not mind paying a slightly higher tariff for a cleaner product?

Obviously our chief executive, let alone (and unbelievably) our secretary for the environment, does not quite grasp this.

Richard Witts, Sheung Shui