Sin­cer­ity of land do­na­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HK COMMENT -

Hen­der­son Land De­vel­op­ment Chair­man Lee Shau-kee said on Tues­day he had changed some de­tails of his plan to do­nate land in Yuen Long for the build­ing of 1,058 res­i­den­tial flats as af­ford­able hous­ing af­ter ini­tial dis­cus­sions with the Hong Kong Hous­ing So­ci­ety. In or­der to make the plan work he has of­fered to sell the fin­ished units at the con­struc­tion cost of HK$1.2 mil­lion each and bear the cost of land pre­mium first, to be re­im­bursed later. The flats will be sold to those most in need, in­clud­ing young peo­ple.

By do­ing ev­ery­thing he can to turn his good­will into re­al­ity, Lee has proved not only his sin­cer­ity in help­ing a num­ber of young peo­ple be­come home­own­ers but also his de­trac­tors wrong. His ac­tion has re­futed ground­less ac­cu­sa­tions such as govern­ment-busi­ness col­lu­sion. It should help ease in­ten­si­fy­ing grudges against the rich and en­hance so­cial har­mony. The govern­ment should do its best to help make his wish come true and take the pro­ject as an op­por­tu­nity to boost the New Ter­ri­to­ries de­vel­op­ment.

The govern­ment’s plan to de­velop the North East New Ter­ri­to­ries (NENT) will go a long way in re­solv­ing the prob­lem of sky-high hous­ing prices, with more than 500,000 res­i­den­tial units to help low-in­come fam­i­lies and young peo­ple be­come home­own­ers. The plan has ev­ery rea­son to go ahead at full steam but has run into all man­ner of ob­sta­cles from par­ties with ul­te­rior mo­tives, par­tic­u­larly by the op­po­si­tion camp just for the fun of mak­ing the govern­ment mis­er­able.

By do­nat­ing a piece of farm­land he owns in Yuen Long and go­ing out of his way to over­come as many tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties as he can, Lee has more than proven his de­ter­mi­na­tion to con­trib­ute to the wel­fare of Hong Kong so­ci­ety. With him set­ting the ex­am­ple, at least one other de­vel­oper has ex­pressed will­ing­ness to fol­low suit if Lee’s plan proves work­able. The govern­ment should try its very best to make it a suc­cess by help­ing re­move the tech­ni­cal hur­dles.

This is an ex­cerpted trans­la­tion of a Wen Wei Po edi­to­rial pub­lished on Aug 7.

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