Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

Lawmakers to vote on funding request for Hong Kong public housing scheme

Lawmakers to vote on funding request for Hong Kong public housing scheme

Chief Executive John Lee’s administration aims to achieve an ‘all yes vote’ result to show Beijing its strong leadership and determination, analysts says.

A multibillion-dollar funding request for a controversial temporary public housing scheme in Hong Kong is on track to secure unanimous backing from lawmakers on Friday despite their earlier criticism of the plan amid intense lobbying by officials.

Analysts said Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu’s administration would aim to achieve an “all yes vote” result to show Beijing its strong leadership and determination in tackling Hong Kong’s housing problem. An opposition party official said he would not be surprised by that outcome under the city’s new political order.

A HK$14.91 billion (US$1.9 billion) funding request for building the first batch of four light public housing projects will be put to the vote at the Legislative Council’s finance committee meeting on Friday.

A banner with a message disapproving the government’s plan to build temporary homes in Kai Tak.


The four projects, supplying 17,000 flats in phases from 2024-25, include two in Yuen Long and Tuen Mun in the New Territories, and two in the urban areas of Ngau Tau Kok and Kai Tak.

The scheme, one of Lee’s pet policies, sparked controversy when it was first mooted last December after public concern about the hefty construction cost of around HK$27.4 billion. Lawmakers and residents criticised using prime urban commercial sites to build temporary public homes.

The government backed down and revised the design to save HK$1 billion and agreed to seek funding from Legco in two phases instead of a lump sum.

Some legislators who supported the project said they received supplementary information from officials this week to convince them it was a feasible scheme.

“Officials have kept updating me with new information and explaining more details on the projects,” said Tik Chi-yuen, the sole non-establishment lawmaker in the legislature following Beijing’s “patriots-only” electoral overhaul two years ago. “Probably the central government is concerned about Hong Kong’s housing problem and that the government does not want to see more opposing views at Legco.”

Tik, of the centrist party Third Side, had voiced his support for the scheme because it could help low-income families.

Major parties such as the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Federation of Trade Unions and the Liberal Party have indicated they would vote for the scheme.

A 330 sq ft mock-up flat under the government’s light public housing scheme.


The public works subcommittee had given the projects’ first phase the go-ahead at a meeting last month, with a vote of 34-0. Lawmaker Kitson Yang Wing-kit, a vocal critic of the scheme, abstained.

But Yang, who represents constituents in Kowloon Central, including Kai Tak, on Thursday said he would vote for the scheme at Friday’s meeting.

Denying it was a “U-turn”, he said he had to follow the voting intention of the A4 Alliance, the group formed by him and three other non-affiliated lawmakers, who agreed to vote collectively for the plan earlier this week.

“But it is not to say that we just let the funding request pass and will not follow up on the concerns raised by the public,” said Yang.

A telephone survey released on Thursday by the opposition Democratic Party found that 57.9 per cent of the 803 respondents believed the light public housing scheme was not cost-effective. Only 21.4 per cent were satisfied that it was value for money.

Out of the respondents, 58.6 per cent also said the government should speed up building ordinary public housing instead, according to the poll conducted between February 20 and March 15 this year.

Party vice-chairman Mok Kin-shing said there was a lack of comprehensive public consultation, accusing the government of only being interested in pushing the scheme through the legislature.

On the possible “all yes votes” by the finance committee, Mok said: “Under the new composition of the Legco, I would not be too surprised if we see such a result. Public views do not seem to be reflected in the Legco.”

Without naming Yang, Mok said: “We can see that even the legislator who had said he would organise protests to oppose the scheme now has made a U-turn and supported the scheme.”

Political scientist Chan Wai-keung of Polytechnic University said: “The central government might see the light public housing issue as a test of Lee’s governance. Lee cannot afford to let it turn ugly, and probably he would like to see an ‘all yes vote’ result.”

Veteran political observer Professor Lau Siu-kai shared similar views and said he believed Beijing also attached great importance to the issue, as it did not want to see the opposition use the controversy to attack the credibility and authority of the local government.

But he would not comment on speculation that Beijing’s liaison office – the central government’s representative agency in Hong Kong – had helped lobby legislators.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×