The Corner for Political & Business Views - Let Us Put Aside Our Disputes & Build the Future
Insufficient housing supply, as well as excessive property prices and rents, have long been tormenting Hong Kong people. The root of these problems is undoubtedly the shortage of land supply. Nevertheless, feasible motions proposed by the government regarding land development usually cannot pass due to the never-ending disputes, often originated from political considerations, brought up in LegCo.
Finding solutions to the land shortage problem is an essential task of the government because it is highly related to livelihood and governance. According to a report released by the Task Force on Land Supply, at a conservative estimate, Hong Kong will face a land shortfall of 1,200 hectares in the long run up to 2046, so there is an urgent need for a multipronged approach to creating land. Available options and solutions at this moment include developing brownfield sites and private agricultural land in the
Housing prices in Hong Kong are soaring; the number of sub-divided flats is increasing and the waiting times for public housing is becoming longer and longer — in time like this, is the living of Hong Kong people not more important than many subjects of dispute? It is, therefore, my appeal to people from all walks of life, professional organizations, societies and political parties, that we should put aside any prejudice and deal with the issue squarely. We should take the initiative to study both the existing and the new proposals as soon as possible. For instance, as an immediate response to the public demand for housing, relaunching tenancy control measures could be an option.
Raising objections is easy; providing practical solutions, on the contrary, is much more difficult. Turning down promising and feasible proposals for political reasons is unwise. For instance, the government planned in 2014 to launch a study regarding the development of an artificial island in the central waters between
Making sweeping statements has become a common practice of the opposition camp in recent years. The ideals they hang on to usually lead them to reject a proposal as a whole with no ground for compromise. Though we may not find the perfect solution among the many land development proposals available, we can still, objectively and proactively, try implementing the most feasible ones before an all-round solution from what we have learned can be composed.
We should allow the government to optimize the plan she offers by means of trials, hoping that one day the final version will be generally accepted by the public. The issue we are facing is not merely the responsibility of the government. It is brought about by everyone who is involved in politics. Upholding the banner of opposition and disrupting government's plans continuously are no political achievements. I appeal to the public to express their views to political parties and district council members by phone, email, or SMS. I believe it is the expectation of many that consensus on the land policy be reached as soon as possible. Let us work out the solution together by test-running and optimizing feasible plans.
Hong Kong has no time to waste. The society, in general, is running out of patience, yet it takes time for the government to find land. To give the suffering community a light of hope, first, support from the non-governmental sector is essential. Second, it is advisable for our lawmakers to cease filibustering and give up their political stunts (such as what they did against the proposed amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance). Instead of being a negative influence, they should do something substantial for Hong Kong. It is about time that we strive for the general public who have rooted in
Chairman of Asia Allied Infrastructure
(This is a Chinese-to-English translation by Corporate Communications Department. The original article has been published in Headline Daily on 6 May 2019.)