4 AUG 2011

Category Constitutional Development
Issue Chief Executive Election
News Content The Democratic Party has decided to field a candidate in next year’s chief executive election. And they also proposed to run a primary election within pan-democratic camp to pick the candidate for the entire sector. The Party chairman Albert Ho said the primary election would help build the mechanism for intra-camp cooperation and will be a process of direct public engagement. The Democrats believe it will help the pan-democratic camp better equip for the universal suffrage expected in 2017. However the Civic Party seems not convinced by the idea of the primary election, arguing it would be better to use the limited resources to fight the by-election replacement bill. And the League of Social Democrats did not support the Democrats’ idea of taking part the CE election as they believe it would only legitimize the small circle election.
Questions It is still yet to know if the primary election would help reunite the fragmented pan-democratic camp. Technology solely cannot help narrow the political gaps. It should be solved by negotiations within the pan-democratic camp. While using resources to run the primary election, why not make it a bigger one, i.e. running a city-wide civic CE election through tablet. It is a good move to take part in next year’s chief executive election as it helps defeat the political apathy.

3 AUG 2011

Category Land and Housing Policies
Issue Subdivided flats
News Content In the presence of police, Buildings Department officers broke into two subdivided flats in a 52-year-old, eight storey tenements on To Kwa Wan Road, Kowloon City. Assistant Director of buildings Hui Siu-wai, said as they could not find the residents or the owners of the subdivided flats, therefore they had no choice but to exercise the power given by law.
Questions The stringent action has raised eyebrow as the public are concerned with the interference of private property rights. The controversial action may be just a bluff. It may only have limited deterrence effect. The key thing is to increase public housing supply, providing enough public housing h for the needy.

2 AUG 2011

Category Social Security Policy
News Content A District Judge openly criticized the Social Welfare Department for heartless after finding the dept suspended the welfare benefits to the family of a woman while it investigated her for benefit fraud. Although Judge Eddie Yip convicted the 48 years old woman of fraud, he questioned the Social Welfare Dept’s dealing with the case: ‘The policy of the Social Welfare Department is really uncompassionate. It was the woman who cheated the department, but why was her family also punished? He also challenged the logic of a Court of Appeal sentencing guideline in which a dole cheat might be sentenced to community service and be spared a jail term if he or she could repay the money. But if the benefit cheat is poor and less capable, he would be jailed.
Questions The Social Welfare Department has to explain why the benefits to the family were cut while it investigated the woman for benefit fraud. It was unfair to her and her family. The Social Welfare Department is supposed to provide a helping hand for those in need. The case the department failed to do so. It is yet to see which part of the system goes wrong. The frontline staff? The middle management? Or the senior management? Or the whole administration has to reflect on the judge’s remarks. Why is the poor punished?

1 AUG 2011

Category One Country Two Systems Principle
Issue CE hit back at Wang’s criticism
News Content After Wang Guangya, director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office criticized the city’s civil servant for failure to take command, Chief Executive Donald Tsang hit back by stating that under ‘one country, two systems’ principle, Hong Kong people are learning to be their own boss. And he also defended that his administration has been making short, medium and long-terms plan for Hong Kong. But he declined to respond if Wang’s comment was pointing at him or his governing team. Tsang said public participation was important in the process of policy formulation, so it might take longer to foster consensus in Hong Kong’s society. Chairman of the Senior Government Officers Association, Mr. So Ping-chi, said Tsang’s response was missing the point: ‘General civil servants understand Wang was not criticizing them, but the leadership.
Questions It is politically wrong for Tsang to shift the blame. The Hong Kong government doesn’t want to do any proper public engagement. The government failed to make medium or long-term planning for Hong Kong. It is vision-less, only reacts upon pressure. Tsang should have reflected upon himself and his governance.

29 JUL 2011

Category One Country Two Systems Principle
Issue Beijing’s top official on Hong Kong Affairs criticized civil servants for lack of vision.
News Content Chief Executive Donald Tsang took two days to hit back Wang’s criticism that the SAR’s civil servants are lack of vision. On his facebook page, Upper Albert Road, Tsang said, The team of the SAR government, both the political appointees and the civil servants, have been working for Hong Kong’s long-term interest. ‘We formulate policy together.’ He stressed that the policy address, which will be delivered this October, will put forward feasible short-term, mid-term and long-term measures to handle housing problem, narrow the rich-poor gap, raise the living standard of grassroots people, improve retirement scheme and provide better support for the elderly.
Questions Under the politically appointment system, the secretary and deputy secretary shoulder the policy formulation and development while the civil servants take part of policy implementation. Hardly both will formulate the policy together. The track record will tell whether Tsang’s governance do has a vision. It is not. He failed to ease the rich-poor gap. He failed to slow down the spiraling property price.