Sincerity of land donation
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.