Date
27 July 2017
Kenneth Lau is shown with John Tsang (above), Regina Ip (inset top) and Carrie Lam (inset bottom). The three candidates weighed in on land issues in the New Territories. Photos: HKEJ
Kenneth Lau is shown with John Tsang (above), Regina Ip (inset top) and Carrie Lam (inset bottom). The three candidates weighed in on land issues in the New Territories. Photos: HKEJ

Lam backs aggressive land development policy

Former chief secretary Carrie Lam is in favor of an aggressive policy on land development, including brownfield sites.

Lam made the comment during a visit Wednesday to the Heung Yee Kuk, which represents rural interests in the New Territories, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Also visiting separately were former financial secretary John Tsang and former security minister Regina Ip.

The visits came ahead of the March 26 chief executive election in which the three are running, along with retired judge Woo Kwok-hing.

Lam declined to comment on the small house policy, saying it involves a judicial review. 

The policy entitles an indigenous male villager 18 and above who is descended from a resident of a recognized New Territories village in 1898 to one concessionary grant during his lifetime to build one small house.

Lam said she would review the registration system to address the issue of illegal structures in village houses.

She said she welcomes any suggestions as long as these are in accordance with the law.

In 2011, as development secretary, Lam called for an end to the small house policy.

Ip said she agrees with the idea of turning small houses into high-rise buildings or exchanging them for land.

However, either option would depend on whether there is supporting infrastructure.

The new government should resolve the issue based on Article 40 of the Basic Law, which states that “the lawful traditional rights and interests of the indigenous inhabitants of the New Territories shall be protected by the SAR government”.

Ip also called on the Heung Yee Kuk not to instruct its members in the Election Committee to give their votes to only one candidate during the two-week nomination period that begins on Feb. 14.

Meanwhile, Tsang said building high-rise buildings or estates that mix small houses and Home Ownership Scheme is a more practical consideration.

That takes care of the needs of small house owners and other residents at the same time. Details could be left for the future.

Heung Yee Kuk chairman Kenneth Lau said Tsang’s suggestion is a brand-new idea that is worth considering.

He praised Tsang for being a patriotic person whose middle-of-the-road approach is suitable for all people.

He also called both Lam and Ip “capable”. 

Lau said the final decision on which candidate the Heung Yee Kuk will support will not be made until a meeting in the middle of the month.

Last week, Lau was quoted as saying Lam was the “chosen one”.

Lau said that all Heung Yee Kuk members entitled to vote will have the same candidate in mind.

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]

TL/AC/RA

Hong Kong Economic Journal

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe