Letters to the Editor, June 17, 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 June, 2015, 5:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 June, 2015, 5:14pm

India has great investment potential

Lang Jia in the article, "India is still a minefield for investors" (June 10), seems to be lost in a minefield of his own imagination, not shared by investors into India.

In the year to March 31, 2015, India received foreign direct investment of US$35 billion, up 40 per cent on the previous year. In addition, foreign institutional investors pumped US$44 billion net into the Indian markets, up 241 per cent on the previous year. Clearly, international investors do not share the same dire view of India's prospects as Lang Jia.

India, like all fast developing markets including China, can be a challenging country in which to do business. Lang Jia lists a number of the issues that all investors, whether Indian or foreign, have faced in India: complex regulations, onerous labour laws, unclear tax rules, clogged courts and corruption.

The government of Narendra Modi has pledged to address these issues and make India a much easier place in which to do business. In his first year in power, he has made an impressive start, and clearly most investors believe in his commitment to change India for the better.

Like all business people, I would dearly love to see more progress faster: more competition, less regulation, better infrastructure, faster court processes and a more skilled workforce.

Lang Jia's article is a jumble of well-known criticisms of India. But, in addition, it has conjured up a wholly fatuous issue out of sections 396 and 397 of the Companies Act 2002, which updates the Companies Act 1956.

These sections are part of the treatment of amalgamations of companies, the principal change being the introduction of a new tribunal assuming the responsibilities earlier with the Companies Law Board.

The powers in section 396 of the government to require a corporate amalgamation "in the public interest" survive unchanged from the 1956 act, while section 397 provides affected parties the right of appeal to the tribunal against any such order. This has been the law since 1956 and has not caused any of the "arbitrary, capricious and politically motivated" consequences for foreign investors anticipated by Lang Jia.

India is widely seen to be an investment destination of great promise. Modi's commitment to transform the ease of doing business in India can only improve the returns and lower the risks for foreign investors.

Alan Rosling, Quarry Bay 

Annual June 4 vigil in city is a noble event

Peter Lok's letter ("Crackdown had become inevitable", June 12) was particularly upsetting.

He described himself as being "sick to the back teeth" of the ongoing annual commemoration of the tragedy of June 4, 1989, in Beijing and around China perpetrated by the central government.

The annual vigil is a noble event by citizens of Hong Kong in solidarity with their compatriots. It's an expression of solidarity as it is of sorrow and compassion for the lives lost and suffering of families of people who perished during the crackdown.

The government which claims to be of the People's Republic of China not only ignored people's grave concerns, but saw fit to use lethal force in an effort to disperse the protesters.

Commemoration of this sad and tragic event is a noble activity.

It is callous and regrettable for Mr Lok to suggest that the crackdown was inevitable.

I have a question for Mr Lok. If the crackdown was, as he states, inevitable, and if it was justified, why is it Beijing never acknowledged the casualties and to this day denies the affected families the right to mourn the loss of their loved ones, as if they never existed?

Marian Schneps, Wan Chai

Urging people to have HIV antibody test

With reference to the report of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection from the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health in the first quarter of 2015, the Hong Kong Aids Foundation expressed concern over the cumulative total reaching over 7,000 infections since 1984.

A three-month survey was conducted by the foundation with the interview of 1,160 Hong Kong residents who visited hangouts and entertainment hotspots in Shenzhen from July to September 2014. Among the respondents, 42 per cent were under or aged 29, 10 per cent higher compared with the age group of 30 to 39 and reflecting an upward trend for young people to look for entertainment in neighbouring cities.

The trend may have to do with more choices, lower prices and better facilities. It is understood that some of these travellers may undertake sexual activities across the border.

In the absence of safer sex, the risk of contracting HIV infection or other sexually transmitted diseases will increase.

Since 2006, we have had a project, titled "Set Out Happy, Go Home Healthy", on HIV prevention in a few nearby cities, through working closely with counterparts like NGOs and the centres for disease control and prevention.

There are outreach visits and educational activities by peer educators, with the distribution of educational material in popular hangouts frequently visited by Hong Kong cross-border travellers, to promote the importance of safe sex and HIV prevention.

We urge those with a history of unsafe sex to come forward for an HIV antibody test.

They can call our helpline 2513 0513, or search for "Hong Kong AIDS Foundation" through Facebook, for more information on the foundation's services and can make appointments for anonymous testing HIV and syphilis.

Maple Lau, deputy director (programmes),Hong Kong Aids Foundation

Project shows vibrant heritage policy

I refer to the letter by Ben L. P. Tsang ("We miss so much of city's heritage", June 13).

He complained that Hong Kong lacked an up-to-date heritage policy, and that the government was unwilling to take more action to ensure heritage preservation.

But, I would refer him to the revitalisation of Central Police Station project being undertaken by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. It is working with the renowned architectural firm Herzog and de Meuron. They designed Beijing's "Bird's Nest" stadium and converted the former Bankside power station into a museum.

Also involved is architectural practice Purcell, and local firm Rocco Design Architects. The project involves the conservation of 16 buildings of historical or architectural significance.

Who says we lack an up-to-date heritage policy?

Pang Chi-ming, Fanling

McDonald's wastes so much paper

I realise when I am eating at McDonald's how wasteful the restaurants are given the volumes of paper bags, cups and boxes you see in refuse bins.

A lot of trees are felled to make these products for diners. Also, a lot of plastic utensils are thrown out.

Some green groups have raised this issue before and I urge the fast-food chain to start having reusable utensils for those dining in.

I do not think it will be that costly. It could be introduced as a pilot scheme at the McCafés that use china cups and plates and they have the necessary washing-up facilities in place.

A policy of reusable utensils will cost less in the long term as purchasing disposable utensils involves substantial capital outlay.

McDonald's should realise that such a policy will benefit it as a company and society as a whole.

Mok Sze-lam, Yau Yat Chuen