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Archive for November, 2008


Hong Kong Urban Renewal Authority (URA) - Prerogative?

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

In reference to the article on SCMP titled “Truth Behind Urban Decay more sinister than URA’s Sob Story” on 21 November, 2008, this house believes that Candy Tam of Wanchai is spot on regarding URA’s modus operandi and prerogative.

Barry Cheung Chun-Yuen, chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) had cited that issues such as air quality, density, green issues and open space are all anathemas to a URA development.

Urban decay is targeted as the main proponent of urban redevelopment and once an area is declared an urban renewal site, the URA then removes the tenants and small businesses. The area designated for redevelopment all have much higher plot ratios and density so that developers can build taller skyscrapers and more shopping malls that may be sold off or rented out for an inordinate amount of money. A trifling consequence to the URA is that the original inhabitants are priced out of the area and community relationships are severed but it seems that is consequence is of little concern to the URA.

Ms Tam’s idea to avoid urban decay is for the URA to offer financial assistance to impoverished residents who cannot afford necessary repairs. Perhaps once an area is designated an urban redevelopment area, the URA should carry out an audit of all the buildings that need reparation and offer assistance or even carry out necessary conservation work on the affected buildings and areas.

Lastly, this house is 100% in agreement with Candy Tam that, to date, we cannot name one single URA redevelopment project that has benefited the original residents of the area by providing them with better living conditions. However every URA redevelopment project has benefited our developers handsomely.

Although, this house thinks that the government is doing a phenomenal job since the handover, there are still areas that can afford improvement.

Owner Ng Yuet-Yee ordered to pay HK$ 386,000 for canopy Collapse

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

On 1 August 1994, there was an building in Aberdeen, Albert House, whose canopy and illegal fish tank collapsed killing one 80-year-old woman and injured 12.

In 1997, an individual called Ng Yuet-Yee bought an apartment in that building.

In November 2008, judge Stephen Chow Siu-Hung ordered that Ms Ng has to pay a share of the compensation even though she bought the apartment three years after the accident.

This house believes that the sentence is completely unfair and absolutely absurd. The fact that she bought the apartment 3 years after the accident means by default that she has absolutely nothing to do with the accident- therefore how on earth should she be liable for the payment of the compensation?

Surely, only the owners of the building whilst the accident occured should be liable for compensation payments?

Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

The Mandatory Provident Fund was setup by the Hong Kong government as a means to tackle the aging population problem which indicates that in a few decades time the ratio of retirees to workers will be much greater than it is now. Each worker contributes a mandatory 5% of their monthly salary to the fund and their employer contributes the other 5% to total a 10% in monthly contribution. The logic behind the scheme is understandable and is sound in its thinking.

However, this house believes that the government should not have given control of the funds to corporations; because the funds effectively become capital for banking corporations to invest in any way they deem. Even though the funds are held in vehicles called trust funds the investment decisions are ultimately dictated by corporations. This house believes that the government should have taken the responsibility of managing the fund themselves. The national insurance in the UK which is a similar fund which is managed by the British government and the system works.

This house believes that by appropriating workers’ hard earnt cash to corporations it further consolidates the corporations’ power in policies that govern Hong Kong. The government is therefore becoming more and more reliant of corporations and less and less able to manage affairs by herself.

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