By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The 12,000 households on the existing affordable housing waiting lists will not be affected by the income restrictions to be stipulated in the new law, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On clarified yesterday.
The statement completely contradicts comments made by the president of the Housing Bureau, Tam Kuong Man, to reporters in a press conference last Friday, but no explanation was given yesterday.
The chief executive told reporters on the sidelines of the General Union of the Neighbourhood Associations’ Spring cocktail reception that the 12,000 households will continue to be subject to the existing law concerning the purchase of affordable housing units.
He stressed that even after the law is revised, the new rules in relation to application eligibility, including the income ceilings, will not impact the households already on the waiting list.
However, after these families purchase affordable housing units and if they plan to sell them any time in the future, the transactions will then need to comply with the new law in which a 16-year lock-in period and a premium payment to the Government will likely be stipulated.
Although income limits are applicable to future applicants only, the spokesperson of the Executive Council, Leong Heng Teng, said some households may still have to be removed from the current waiting list if they have purchased private property or land in past years, according to the existing law.
The chief executive also commented on the latest audit report which revealed “big-spending” business trips by several public departments, stating that he has ordered Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan to review the related system.
He said a revision is needed in order to “manage and use the public money more properly”.
Meanwhile, the secretary said the SAR Government is “highly concerned” about the audit report, and aside from updating the existing allowance system for public workers on work trips, a string of uniform guidelines and standards will be formulated for all the departments to follow in the meantime.