SCMP Friday, February 9, 2001
I'm deaf to tycoons' wishes, says Tung
Tung Chee-hwa said yesterday he did not consider the wishes of tycoons when formulating housing policy. The Government's aim was to maintain a stable property market while allowing prices to rise in line with inflation, the Chief Executive said.
"I want to stress that the operations of our Government are for all 6.8 million Hong Kong people. Absolutely, we do not care about what those rich businessmen think," he said.
Mr Tung was responding to criticism by Democrat Andrew Cheng Kar-foo of the Housing Authority's decision to lower income limits for those applying for home ownership scheme flats. The move has been condemned as a ploy to help shore up the market.
Leading developers have publicly called on Mr Tung to scrap the home ownership scheme, which they say is competing with private developments.
Mr Cheng warned the move could polarise society because the gap between the rich and poor would widen. He said the authority was "robbing the poor to subsidise the rich".
Mr Tung replied: "I believe the authority has considered the better use of its resources." He appreciated the difficulties of property owners left with negative assets because of the market slump but hoped they could feel relief with the economic recovery and falling interest rates.