Yesterday’s opening of the Mui Wo playground was in fact the launch of the government’s ‘public engagement’ programme.
The LanDAC website lists 15 ‘events’ over the next three months that comprise the public consultation over the future of Lantau. Of those events, 12 are information displays. Only three public forums are planned in which the public can express their views.
The first will be at HKFEW Wong Cho Bau Secondary School at Fu Tung on February 20. The other two will be held on the same at City Gallery, Edinburgh Place, on February 28. No other details of those events are available.
People can also share their opinions via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax (2801 5620) or by standard mail: LanDAC Secretariat, 17/F, East Wing, Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, by April 30.
Here’s Democrat legislator Ip Kin-yuen’s description of consultations in Hong Kong :
Policy initiatives are usually put together behind closed doors by bureaucrats, and public consultation is often just a formality aimed at generating support rather than collecting views.
To create an impression that the public is in favour of a policy initiative, policymakers often invite pro-government groups to send in hundreds of thousands of letters of support.
The voices of those with different views are often overwhelmed, just as during the recent consultation on political reform.
To make matters worse, the administration often has a predetermined position regarding the policy initiatives it is pitching.
As a result, public consultations in Hong Kong often lack credibility, and members of the public are seldom enthusiastic about them, because they know the government is just putting on a show.
Photo (top): Eddie Tse (right) of Save Lantau Alliance leads a protest at the playground opening