Abolish Hong Kong's failing district council system

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 April, 2015, 5:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 April, 2015, 5:31pm

Paul Zimmerman on April 18 sets out proposals to improve district council administration that need no legislative change ("Easy fixes").

Some long-suffering residents have a more efficient proposal - abolish them.

District councils, manipulated by the Home Affairs Bureau, are just another layer of political oppression of the community. Their function is to grease the wheels and ensure that every programme that benefits pro-government bodies and tycoons is given the "the community has been consulted and fully supports it" rubber stamp.

The first time many residents find out about these initiatives is when they are already a done deal and all avenues to object have been closed.

Our hard-earned tax dollars currently supporting more than 500 district councillors could be used to fund a district officer programme with teeth, a team of Rottweilers patrolling each neighbourhood and cracking down immediately on all those practices that residents complain about - rats, mosquitoes, dripping air conditioners, fly-tipping, overflowing bins, construction waste on pavements, obstructions, illegal screens and banners, idling engines, and so on. In other words, those issues that the district councillor is getting paid to resolve but in reality does nothing about.

When was the last time you saw your councillor prowling the back alleys in your district?

Even if these issues are not part of a district councillor's current duties, diligent councillors could take action in their personal capacity as a citizen, so there's no excuse for not tackling the very evident failures in street management.

But, of course, district councillors are far too busy planning how to turn the last few open spaces and recreational grounds in their district into community halls funded by government "sweeteners" to keep them compliant, managed by their cronies and the purpose of which is to gather the gullible together for indoctrination purposes.

The remuneration of district councillors will be increased to HK$25,400 per month next term. This is far more than the family income of many local residents. In addition, their monthly allowance for office space and assistants will be over HK$30,000.

Add in all the costs related to the function of each of the 18 councils and we are talking big sums.

For a fraction of this outlay, supervision of our streets could be contracted out to private-sector companies with no political agenda, but will just get the job done.

Candy Tam, Wan Chai