CHIEF executive candidate Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee (葉劉淑儀) questioned the need for secrecy over a HK$3.5 billion scheme to build a local version of Beijing’s Palace Museum (故宮博物館) in the West Kowloon cultural hub.
The plan was announced on 23 December by one of Ip’s potential rivals for the top job, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (林鄭月娥).
Ip said the issue could have been handled differently after the plan was criticised for the lack of consultation that went into it before it was revealed in Beijing during a cultural visit by Lam, who is also chairwoman of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA, 西九文化區管理局).
If she had been handling the matter, Ip said, she would have informed all WKCDA board members of the plan early on, taken them on a site visit and discussed the scheme in the Legislative Council.
A political leader should be aware she would face opposition, said Ip, chairwoman of the New People's Party (新民黨). The museum would be a “great thing” for Hong Kong, yet she did not understand why the whole matter was so secretive. She did not see any procedural impropriety in Lam’s handling of the project, though.
The project will be fully funded by the Jockey Club and will not require funding approval by the legislature.
It was “a gift from Beijing” and “a matter between the central government and the Hong Kong government,” she said.
(The article was published on Junior Standard on 3 January 2017)
Palace Museum set for Hong Kong
The Palace Museum