The Housing Department has refused to meet with a lawmaker-elect to discuss the redevelopment of a four-decade old public housing estate, despite the fact that he was invited to meet with the Chief Executive after his election win.

Edward Yiu Chung-yim, newly elected Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape sector lawmaker, sent an email to the department last Friday to ask for a meeting with the Director of Housing on the redevelopment of the Wah Fu Estate.

“We are sorry to inform you that our officers will not be able to have a meeting with you,” an email reply from the department on the same day read.

Edward Yiu
Edward Yiu. Photo: CUHK.

Before the email request was sent, Yiu said he was also in contact with bureaus to meet with the Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po and Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, but both were unable to meet him owing to busy schedules.

“We understand that we are all busy, but I can’t feel the so-called high-level enthusiasm,” he said on a Commercial Radio programme on Monday.

Yiu was asked by Commercial Radio hosts if he felt “high level enthusiasm” from the government in handling land issues, as Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying previously called incoming lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick to express his concerns.

Yiu said he has not heard from the Housing Department since then after further requests to meet.

Edward Yiu email
Photo: Commercial Radio screenshot.

Previously, Yiu received a call from the Chief Executive’s Office to ask for a meeting with new lawmakers.

Yiu then said on a radio programme that he would not meet the Chief Executive individually.

He made a counter-suggestion that any meeting with the Chief Executive should only be conducted in the presence of a retired judge or a respected non-governmental figure, in order to avoid potential political smearing and rumours after such a meeting.

wah fu estate
Wah Fu Estate. Photo: Catherine Lai/HKFP.

The redevelopment of Wah Fu Estate was mentioned in the Chief Executive’s 2014 policy address.

Last week a meeting was arranged between district councillors from the Southern District and Ada Fung Yin-suen, deputy director of the Housing Department, over the redevelopment project.

A new proposal was to lower the size of the development, and the number of public housing flats near the neighbouring Chi Fu Fa Yuen to reduce opposition for the plan, that there will be 8,900 flats for Wah Fu residents to move into by 2024, and the original Wah Fu site would still be used for public housing after redevelopment.

Henry Chai Man-hon, Democratic Party district councillor for Wah Fu North constituency, said most residents regarded the redevelopment plan as too slow. But he said the new plan was a “positive step forward” in balancing building public housing and preserving the environment.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.