Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has denied there was a lack of coordination among his team after the three top officials in the government denied responsibility for postponing parts of a housing plan in Yuen Long. He said there was “nothing wrong” with his leadership.
Leung said on Monday that the Steering Committee on Land Supply chaired by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah was responsible for the detailed planning of the public housing project in Wang Chau – where two phases out of three providing 13,000 units were delayed – but Tsang’s office denied that the steering committee made the decision.
Leung was the chairman of a task force on the Wang Chau plan. He claimed that he was only responsible for coordinating government bureaus and making high-level directive decisions. Leung also noted that the Transport and Housing Bureau, which is partly responsible for the Wang Chau plan, is overseen by the Chief Secretary. But Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she was neither a member of the task force nor of the steering committee.
When asked by reporters on Tuesday if government officials were working on their own without coordination, Leung said: “it is absolutely not the case.”
“The whole government team has been united in the past four years – we have done a lot of work,” he said, adding that the government found enough land to build a record number of private housing flats, and that housing prices and rent have fallen from the peak level.
Leung said a press conference with the Financial Secretary, Secretary for Transport and Housing and the acting Secretary for Development will be hosted on Wednesday afternoon to answer questions about the Wang Chau plan and share some of the related papers with the public.
The delayed 13,000 units were originally set to be built on a piece of ruined land partly owned by the government, which was occupied by rural leader Tsang Shu-wo and used as a car park. The remaining 4,000 units, meanwhile, will force more than 100 non-indigenous villagers to move from their three villages.
Leung once again denied it was a compromise made with rural leaders to delay development on the car park.
Chief Executive involvement
Citing an internal government email, Chinese-language newspaper Apple Daily reported on Tuesday that Leung requested to set up the task force and proposed to chair the first meeting. The email referred to the meeting as taking place “this Thursday” or June 27, 2013, suggesting it was only sent a few days before the meeting.
The email suggested that the work of the task force will be to “consider” and “iron out” matters related to the Wang Chau development plan, and that it was not only set up for coordinating work between government bureaus as Leung claimed.
In response, Leung only said: “I have answered these questions in the past. We proved to you in action that we have achieved results on land issues in the past four years. This is not easy work – we have presented to you our progress, the difficulties we faced, the solutions and results in policy addresses and work reports in the past four years.”
Leung also said the government was willing to build a platform to discuss the Wang Chau development project with lawmaker-elect Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, people in the area and brownfield site users.