How the other 0.05% live
Martin Booth: Gweilo

A reit mess

Most idiotic comment on the Link Reit fiasco must be from Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung. He is quoted as saying:

"It's like a 9/11-style attack ... No one can be blamed because you can't expect this to happen."

This rather neatly sums up what went wrong. The government employed a large number of "experts" to advise them on the privitisation and share issue, and none of them anticipated a legal challenge? You really don't have to look very far to see the privatisation has always been controversial, and it is not surprising that someone who is against it might want to take legal action.

The solution to this little puzzle was to ensure that the Housing Ordinance was amended, and then to ensure that if there was going to be any legal action it was completed before the public listing took place. The legislation would have passed, and the legal action would have been won, and then the listing would have been straightforward.


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So, would you say that, in a sense, the public interest in this was safeguarded, albeit too late, and in a fashion that was unsettling rather than stability-building?

It seems to me that the aggressive challenge to this REIT deal was made precisely because members of the public (I am sure that Ms. Lo is not alone in her mission, she's famous for being among a group of people who consistently protest against the housing authority) are tired of having to deal with a government that skirts rules and procedures for its own benefit.

What is your take on that? Isn't this the only true avenue members of the public have? Are they not challenging the government because there are not inbuilt systems to regulate miscreance and misuse of the system itself?

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