Letters to the Editor, July 27, 2016
Small hike in profits tax will help the poor
There is an ongoing debate about whether the government should raise profits tax in Hong Kong.
I would support this tax being increased, because I think companies should accept corporate social responsibility.
The government has adopted policies which many companies benefit from, with regard to land leasing and hiring labour.
Our society helps private enterprise and so it is time for these companies to reciprocate. The revenue raised by a higher tax can be used to help those groups in greatest need, such as the poor and elderly.
With additional resources, the government can more effectively address livelihood issues including health care, education and wealth inequality.
I do not agree with those who argue that raising profits tax would make Hong Kong less attractive to potential and current investors.
The city has so many features that make companies want to come here (that many cities don’t have), such as convenient public transport, a stable society, and transparent commercial laws.
Besides, supporters of a higher rate are only talking about an increase of 2 per cent. Such a moderate hike is unlikely to eat into the profits of companies and investors.
If it can improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of society, a small increase in profits tax would be justified.
The government should agree to implement this proposal.
Angela Cheng Tsz-ki, Sham Shui Po
Slain model deserves top awards
The model and social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch (real name Fouzia Azeem), who was murdered, should be posthumously awarded the same honours that have been given to her fellow Pakistani, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.
She deserves these international awards because she defied tradition and propounded liberal views.
Baloch wanted to break down social taboos which for more than 60 years have downgraded women’s rights in Pakistan.
Her brother has confessed to murdering her, saying it was an honour killing.
These honour killings damage the reputation of Pakistan in the eyes of the world.
K. M. Nasir, Mid-Levels
Millions of Muslims back Islamic State
Siddiq Bazarwala claims to speak “on behalf of ordinary Muslims” (“Vast majority of Muslims are peaceful”, July 17).
He also claims to speak on behalf of “Hong Kong people” who, he says, “broadly understand that recent events in the West are a consequence of its failed foreign policies in Muslim countries”.
Well, excuse me, but Bazarwala does not speak on behalf of this Hong Kong person.
I do not accept that Islamic terrorist barbarities are the result of failed foreign policies. But that’s a question for another day.
I’ll also pass by Bazarwala’s comparisons of Islamic terrorist acts with drunk driving accidents or getting a speeding ticket. These clearly trivialise terrorism.
Rather, I’ll focus on his assertion that “the vast majority (more than 99.9 per cent) of the world’s Muslim population cannot be held responsible for the heinous actions of fringe groups like” Islamic State (IS).
Harvard professor Niall Ferguson wrote that IS has “a minimum of 63 million supporters – and that is based on opinion polls in just 11 countries” (“Terrorist networks cannot be defeated in isolation”, April 4).
That number may well be 130 plus million if extrapolated. (1,000 times more than Bazarwala claims). So, 10 per cent of the world’s Muslims support the most extreme, most barbaric, most cruel and most aggressive manifestation of Islam.
Other polls of Muslims around the world show shockingly high levels of bigotry – 70 per cent of Muslim countries criminalise apostasy; 82 per cent of Egyptian Muslims favour stoning to death for adultery, and 84 per cent want death for apostasy. Pluralities of Muslims in the West want sharia law imposed.
Yet Bazarwala says “peace and harmony will prevail”, if we just “understand” that Muslim leaders condemn terrorist attacks. Sure, but that’s not nearly enough. A more intellectually honest young Muslim, Omar Mahmood, from the US, wrote in June that the statement from Islamic leaders about the jihadi attack, in Orlando, Florida, “condemns the massacre, distances it from Muslims, and stresses that we must all live in harmony. That much is predictable, and commendable. But the statement fails to give American Islam what it needs most, and what is missing from the political and social media response: intellectual honesty.”
If Bazarwala believes he speaks on “behalf of ordinary Muslims”, intellectual honesty demands they face these serious issues in Islamic ideology, beliefs which many millions of “ordinary Muslims” hold.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay
Captive marine animals are really suffering
I am concerned about marine animals captured and then kept in captivity in aquariums around the world.
In 2010, an orca whale killed its trainer at an aquarium in the US. It was believed this was due to the physical and mental problems these animals suffer from in captivity, confined as they are to tanks when in their natural environment they cover large areas of the ocean every day. In a tank they simply do not have the freedom they would enjoy in the wild and they are forced to swim in monotonous circles.
Having to endure such a vile environment, it is hardly surprising marine animals suffer from stress-related diseases. Some dolphins scrape their heads along the glass tanks and hurt themselves.
People talk about human rights, which of course should be respected, but what about the rights of animals? Animals should be allowed to live in their natural environment.
When animals are captured they are victims of exploitation. Because they have been in captivity they cannot be released into the ocean as they have lost their ability to survive in the wild.
Therefore, any theme park operators who talk about releasing some animals into the ocean are being disingenuous as this is simply not feasible. They simply cannot return to the ocean. Also, the risk to trainers will always be there as these are, after all, wild animals and they can sometimes attack.
Given this ever-present threat and the fact that it is so cruel, it is time to end the practice of keeping marine animals in captivity in aquariums purely for entertainment.
Chiu Hoi-lam, Yau Yat Chuen
Hard-pressed citizens resort to junk food
Many Hongkongers are so busy at work that they neglect important things such as ensuring they have a balanced diet.
They have so little spare time that they will just grab what they can at lunch and dinner and this often means eating at a fast-food restaurant.
If they are not eating a nutritious diet they could eventually end up with serious health problems and perhaps chronic conditions.
With fast food the emphasis is on convenience and speed and not health. Often it contains a lot of oil and people who eat fast food regularly can become overweight. Students will often buy fast food because it is cheap and so they get into bad eating habits early.
All citizens need to be more conscious of health issues. And they must cut back on their consumption of junk food and try to ensure they have a healthier diet.
Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O