Hong Kong’s housing plan must tackle the ‘feudal lords’, both urban and rural
I refer to the letter from Roger Nissim, on the public consultation exercise launched by the Hong Kong government’s Task Force on Land Supply (“Hong Kong’s land supply consultation: two questions to consider”, May 11).
Mr Nissim found the expansion of our existing new towns could yield quite a large amount of housing and, I too felt, when I looked from the hillside above Shek Kong over the relatively wide flat area stretching out below me, the potential for a well-populated city, if high-rise quarters replaced the rather wasteful, higgledy-piggledy village landscape.
That terrain has had no part in feeding Hong Kong for decades. We must recognise the difference between “villages” and the “suburbia” of Yuen Long, our potential “third city” between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
There is also quite a large area of brownfield land used for container storage in Yuen Long’s outskirts. The spread of these should have long raised questions about their legality, as ownership of village land should not mean drawing profit of any kind from it. It is meant to contribute to the people’s nutritional needs, but that has long been pushed out by higher gains.
There needs to be a clear government policy of development and plans for all land, that takes in hand what has been dominated by a few “feudal lords”– big ones in the city and small (but powerful) ones outside, in the Heung Yee Kuk.
The small-house policy needs to be abolished: it only invites corruption, with reportedly illegal sales of the so-called ding rights of indigenous male villagers (“Thousands of Hong Kong’s small houses illegally sold to developers, study reveals” January 4).
There is still land – and there are still people waiting to get a decent place to live. They can be put together.
Dr J. Boost, Sai Kung