Letters to the Editor, February 24, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 February, 2017, 5:21pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 February, 2017, 5:21pm

Put stricter sales controls on pet shops

I note that Los Angeles is the ­latest of those cities and states in the US and Canada which have banned pet shops from selling any animals other than ­“rescues”. Given the number of stray dogs and cats being rescued by charities in Hong Kong, is it not time the government ­enacted a similar ban here?

While some professional breeders care about their ­animals and let buyers see the breeding conditions, the high price of pedigree dogs also supports the existence of horrific puppy mills, many of which are unregulated and keep breeding mothers in the most appalling conditions. Buyers of pedigree animals from pet shops are not able to check the origin of the animals or the conditions in which breeding took place.

This legislation would ­permit those who preferred a pedigree animal to buy direct from the breeder and check out the conditions. Large numbers of stray dogs and cats, many abandoned by previous owners, are euthanised on a daily basis.

This move will help force ­unethical breeders to close up shop and provide hope for many strays to find a loving home.

W. Robertson, Mong Kok

Why Carrie Lam will make a good leader

As a former legislator, I want to explain why I think Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor deserves the support of the Election Committee to be the next chief executive.

She was born into a humble home and blessed with caring parents. She studied diligently and, after joining the civil ­service, received a wide range of public administration experience before reaching the top post of chief secretary.

In the years I knew her, I found her to be a good listener. When our views differed, she spoke ­rationally and politely.

She has an independent mind, but is also sensitive to changing social and political trends. While she was development secretary, she was surprised by the strong opposition to moving Queen’s Pier from its waterfront site. Realising there was a growing community trend towards heritage preservation and a sense of “collective ­memory”, she made sure the ­incident was peacefully resolved and she was converted to ­heritage preservation.

She led the government team that worked with Legco to get urgent finance items, ­including livelihood issues, to move forward despite unending ­obstructionist tactics from the ­opposition camp.

After becoming chief secretary in 2012, she worked tirelessly on livelihood issues, including the alleviation of poverty.

Because of her good relations with business groups, as chief executive, she will be able to strengthen economic ties with the mainland and further develop Hong Kong’s unique role as China’s bridge to the ­global community, and a staunch beacon of free trade.

Hong Kong needs a transformative campaign to motivate our young people to learn more about the mainland and have more training programmes for higher quality jobs on the ­mainland.

What has so far been made public concerning her election manifesto seems well-balanced and not populist.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan

Budget harms efforts to curb air pollution

Capping the first registration tax ­exemption for electric private vehicles at HK$97,500 (in the budget), will make the only ­e-vehicles that are selling in any significant quantity now nearly twice as ­expensive.

Until more affordable and compelling EVs come onto the market from traditional automakers, which is not expected for another three years, most car buyers will now have to buy a polluting petrol or hybrid car. Think of the roadside pollution each of these cars will produce on the streets of Hong Kong in their 10-years-plus lifetime. Therefore, Wednesday’s budget policy should be a huge disappointment to anyone who wants cleaner air on our streets and less smog.

It harms public health and hinders progress in EV development. It’s a win for oil companies and for traditional auto­makers.

Derek Tom, Pok Fu Lam

Get more flats with faster urban renewal

I agree with the letter by Jennifer Li (“More must be done to ease housing woes”, February 20).

Citizens have deep-seated and long-standing concerns about Hong Kong’s housing problems. Your correspondent listed several options the government could adopt to ­improve matters. Apart from these ideas, the government should also speed up its urban renewal programmes, aiming for earlier completion dates.

There are a lot of old urban neighbourhoods. They have some buildings that date back more than half a century. They are usually low-rise and probably do not conform to modern safety standards.

If they were demolished as quickly as possible, more land would be made available. Taller high-rises could be constructed, offering a lot more apartments. This could ease the pressure on existing housing ­estates. Officials must see the housing ­problem as an urgent matter that must be addressed.

Cynthia Lau, Tsuen Wan

Small retailers benefit from e-commerce

I agree with the chairman of the Retail Management Association who has urged local retailers to get involved in the mainland’s growing e-commerce platforms. These platforms are ­becoming more popular and have benefited the mainland ­economy.

Large-scale retailers, including chains, monopolise the ­market in Hong Kong because they can afford to pay the sky-high rents. By contrast, small ­retailers struggle to get a foothold in the market.

However, they are likely to fare better by investing in ­e-commerce, as they will not need large premises and so can avoid having to pay high rents.

If more of them operate ­online, fewer of these small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will have to shut down.

People enjoy using e-commerce as it is a convenient and simple way to shop, involving just a few keyboards strokes on your smartphone or computer. Many prefer it to having to go from shop to shop in a busy mall or walk along crowded streets in steamy heat or during the cold weather.

I welcome the further development of e-commerce in Hong Kong.

Janice Lee, Yau Yat Chuen

Transport chief has neglected our roads

The transport secretary has failed miserably to keep our roads neat and tidy.

Responsibility for their maintenance has been split ­between the Highways Department and the Leisure and ­Cultural Services Department. So each department can blame the other and nothing gets done.

Grass grows on road edges and trees and bushes are not cut back to allow pedestrians to walk freely on the footpath next to the highways. Where I live, near Sai Kung, I continually ­battle with these two departments to get the roads to be tidy and the footpaths usable.

I recently visited Shenzhen. There, the roads are tidy, so why not in Hong Kong? Perhaps we should hire Shenzhen’s ­transport chief.

Alan Crawley, Sai Kung