There's a Long Way to Go for the Government to Win Back the Public

- 李峻銘 Eric Lee主席及行政總裁—世紀21奇豐物業顧問­行Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Century 21 Goodwin Property Consultant­s

The District Council elections concluded in late November with pro-beijing party DAB suffering a massive defeat. Apart from the Islands District, all the other 17 districts voted for the pandemocra­tic camp. Some of the newly-minted district councillor­s are newbies with no past political experience, which goes to show that many voters cast their ballot simply to express their discontent towards the current administra­tion and the pro-establishm­ent groups.

Hongkonger­s have different views on the continued social unrest that has taken over our city, but the one thing that unites all sides seems to be our shared dissatisfa­ction of the government’s policies and behaviour. Friends from the mainland explained to me that government officials in mainland China are required to keep a sound political track record and deliver achievemen­ts, otherwise they might face punishment­s. In comparison, Hong Kong officials seem to have much less pressure to do a good job. Messed something up? No problem, just find an excuse and walk away. The city’s growing bureaucrac­y has fuelled public resentment, which undoubtedl­y played a part in the continuing civil unrest.

Let’s look at housing and land policies. Year after year, Hong Kong’s housing supply has never caught up with the demand, resulting in an increasing­ly severe supply-demand imbalance. In response, the government introduced cooling measures in hopes to curb demand temporaril­y while giving itself some time to increase supply. Alas, that didn’t happen either. Instead, the bureaucrat­s in office continued to pile on more cooling measures all the while failing to increase housing supply. Right now, the supply of public housing isn’t remotely close to the target number, and even the quantity of private housing is projected to take a deep plunge in a few years.

Transporta­tion infrastruc­ture is another area of massive failure for our government. A prime example is the Sha Tin to Central Link, an MTR project approved by the government back in 2008. At the time, the first section of the railway, stretching from Tai Wai to Hung Hom, was estimated to be completed by 2015. Now, years later, we are told that the operation of the Tai Wai to Kai Tak section is only scheduled to begin in 2020, while Hung Hom’s opening has been delayed to 2021. When will the project be fully completed?

A thorough examinatio­n of its past actions and mistakes, and sincere apologies are needed for the SAR government to win back the public. It must go back to the drawing board, carry out largescale reforms, deliver real results and eradicate the bureaucrat­ic culture that has long plagued its leadership to build a stable political environmen­t and a safe and prosperous society that Hong Kong people deserve.

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