Letters to the Editor, April 27, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 April, 2015, 11:31pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 April, 2015, 11:31pm

Passing reform plan won't solve deadlock

I disagree with your editorial on April 23.

Passing the 2017 election plan is not a step forward to resolve the political deadlock we face but would only tear our society further apart.

Ever since the handover, without a popular mandate, chief executives are constantly under siege as the public and legislators question their legitimacy. The 2017 election plan is supposed to be a remedy, by enfranchising citizens to elect the chief executive who can then be more confident to deal with opposition.

Unfortunately, the election plan is too flawed to achieve this goal.

The major defect is that the composition of the nominating committee will continue to be filled by the pro-Beijing vested interests, as the current Election Committee is. Citizens can only vote for the candidates handpicked from the vested interests and approved by Beijing.

Therefore, the election plan does not render a genuine democratic choice to the electorate.

According to Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the election plan has realised Beijing's promise of "one person, one vote" in the Basic Law. However, passing the 2017 election plan will not put the dispute over democratic reform to rest.

First, the pan-democratic camp and its supporters will still deny that a chief executive elected in a "birdcage democracy" has a popular mandate.

Second, since Beijing will claim to have fulfilled its constitutional responsibility, people will see little hope to initiate further reforms within the existing framework. The dissatisfied public may turn to more radical means.

The divided Hong Kong we experienced during the Occupy movement may become a "new normal".

I do not know which sources the editorial refers to when claiming that "over 50 per cent of the public accept Beijing's framework". According to studies conducted by credible institutes like the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University, which publish their raw data and polling methods, I would conclude that neither side can claim to have a majority.

Anyway, when the election plan designed to end our political confrontation has become a source of more intensified hostilities, it may be wiser to let the unsolvable dispute be shelved until the time is ripe.

Patrick Cheng, Tai Po


Pan-dems should heed public interest

As the pan-democrats squirm and wiggle in their opposition to any electoral reform other than their own agenda ("Public support on 2017 'will not sway pan-dems'", April 24), perhaps they should glance at the abandonment of the Federation of Students and realise how quickly popular support can turn, as yet another university votes to withdraw ("Shaky times ahead as third pull-out hits federation", April 24).

Unlike the pan-democrats, the federation's mature new secretary general, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, seemingly understands that it may have to change.

He said: "We have to face the question: Is the federation still representative? What does it stand for?"

This is a question the pan-democrats should be asking themselves as they risk Hong Kong's future stability based upon their own selfish interests. Rather than seek harmony and a way to move forward that will benefit everyone, all they offer is continued disruption, along with their resident mob superstar Joshua Wong Chi-fung, who said his group planned more protests.

Democracy works both ways and those who seek to exploit it for their own vanity are soon brought to heel.

Mark Peaker, The Peak


UK air traffic system not useful here

I refer to the article, "UK system could boost airport" (April 20).

In our reply dated April 1, to an enquiry by South China Morning Post about the Time Based Separation system and its applicability at the Hong Kong International Airport to increase runway capacity, we clearly stated that the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has already advised that the implementation of the system at London Heathrow Airport essentially aims to minimise the impact of flight delays and cancelled flights on airport operations during certain strong headwind situations.

It is not intended to be used for increasing runway capacity or conducting seasonal capacity planning.

The declared runway capacity will not increase as a result of the Time Based Separation implementation.

In fact, the consultant's study completed in 2008 concluded the runway capacity of the Hong Kong International Airport was a maximum of 68 movements per hour, taking into account factors including the advancement of technology, surrounding terrain, the operating environment, the infrastructure and the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

At the moment, the two runways at the Hong Kong International Airport are operating at 67 aircraft movements per hour and it is expected that the maximum hourly movements of 68 will be reached by the end of this year.

There is a pressing need for the implementation of the three-runway system to address the capacity constraint at the airport and to cater for long-term air traffic need.

Raymond Li, assistant director general of civil aviation (air traffic management), Civil Aviation Department


More hands needed to clear beach litter

I was reminded of an article published in 2011 naming St Stephen's Beach one of the top 10 beaches in Hong Kong. I was appalled a week ago while on a walk to find that the beach was covered with plastic bags and litter.

Why were the many staff employed on the beaches not picking up the litter, especially when there were no swimmers? I wished I had a plastic bag, it would have taken me half an hour to clear the mess. We need to make every effort to protect our environment.

Sally Lo, founder, Hong Kong Cancer Fund


Media should not add to confusion

The media in Hong Kong should be neutral and objective. I subscribe to a newspaper and online news, and find that they are not reporting the truth. Instead, extreme wording is used to draw people's attention.

It is understandable that reporters have their own perspectives. However, the media should avoid adding their own judgment into facts.

I follow Apple Daily on Facebook. What I see are headlines formed by subjective wording, and articles filled with extreme sentences. It creates a very strong first impression, which I think is not fair to the persons involved.

The world is already full of confusion. The media should put more effort into helping to clarify the chaos.

Sabrina Ho Man Yau, Ma On Shan


A hi-tech way for CY to meet the people

When reading about Leung Chun-ying's failed "meet the public" attempt, a thought occurred to me. Why not use technology, specifically a webinar, to speak and interact with the people? In case too many people sign onto the webinar and crash the system, ask people to pre-register and later give them the URL and password to participate.

This way, people can ask their questions and raise their issues in a productive way and the government can respond without being drowned out by calls for resignation.

Sophia Chan-Combrink, head of education and society, British Council Hong Kong


Anti-foreigner frustration needs easing

Johannesburg was recently hit by anti-immigrant violence. Unemployment is a severe problem in South Africa, with some experts putting the jobless rate at higher than the official figure of 24 per cent. Some locals blame the immigrants for having snatched their job opportunities.

In the long term, the South African government should provide training for the low-skilled workers so that they might find a job more easily and the conflict between locals and immigrants could be eased.

The anti-immigrant violence of South Africa is in a way similar to the anti-parallel trading protests in Hong Kong recently. Both groups of protesters were dissatisfied with the foreigners who affected their daily life. Maybe such action will scare off the foreigners and they will leave, but this will work only for a short while. We should look for a long-term solution, even if it takes time.

Lee Mei Kwan, Kowloon Tong