Date
22 September 2019
The Hong Kong government is expected to accept in full the recommendations made by the Task Force on Land Supply in its report submitted at the end of 2018. Photo: HKEJ
The Hong Kong government is expected to accept in full the recommendations made by the Task Force on Land Supply in its report submitted at the end of 2018. Photo: HKEJ

What will the govt’s official response be to land panel report?

The Development Bureau is set to hold a press conference on Wednesday to officially respond to the final report submitted by the Task Force on Land Supply at the end of 2018.

Government sources have revealed that the administration will accept in full the recommendations made by the task force, such as prioritizing the eight options proposed by the panel, including, among others, taking back 32 hectares of land east of the Fan Kam Road within the Fanling Golf Course.

It is said that as the term of the task force will be up by the end of this month, Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun invited members of the group to a meal last Friday to express gratitude to them for their hard work ever since the task force was formed in September 2017.

Also present at the dinner were Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan as well as Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing.

It is said that throughout the meal, Michael Wong didn’t reveal the government’s stance on the task force report.

If anything, the highlight of the meal last Friday has got to be a “stand-up comedy” put on by the task force’s chairman Stanley Wong Yuen-fai.

According to an account from an individual who was present at that event, Stanley Wong mockingly referred to himself as “Professor Nelson Chow Wing-sun 2.0”, and seemingly talked about his experience of being the task force’s chairman.

In the past, Chow was commissioned by the then Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to carry out an extensive study on universal retirement scheme, but his final report was eventually shelved by the government.

Another attendee source at Friday’s event said the government officials who were present in the room seemed to look rather embarrassed amid Stanley Wong’s jokes.

However, Stanley Wong has clarified to us that he was just trying to be funny at the event, and had absolutely no intention whatsoever of whining about the work of the task force.

He also stressed that neither Michael Wong nor other officials took offense at his jokes.

Meanwhile, as far as the government’s official take on the report is concerned, a person who has a clear mind has reminded us that details need to be factored in, looking beyond the headlines.

For example, the person pointed out, even if the administration really agrees to retrieve part of the Fanling Golf Course, it might have to carry out a study first, and it remains open to question as to how long such study may take.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 20

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/RC

Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.