Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io said yesterday that the government had no timetable for when it will finish drafting an amendment bill on its home ownership scheme (HOS), adding the main reason for amending the law was to fix some issues that cropped up during its implementation.
He made the remark after attending a meeting of the legislature’s 1st Standing Committee to discuss a government-drafted bill regulating 13 professions including architects and urban planners.
The Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ) said in a statement on Tuesday that – with the assistance of the Housing Bureau (IH) – it would present in the middle of this month its proposed revision of the HOS law which took effect in 2011 and then collect public opinion on the text.
When asked by reporters about the revision of the law, Lau said that after going through two application periods for HOS flats the government had noticed some flaws in the law.
“After a preliminary review [of the implementation of the law] we found a need to amend it …to improve the [future] application procedures [for HOS flats],” Lau said, declining to give details of how the law would be amended.
He added that the two bureaux would collect public opinion on how to revise the law, adding that when the amendment bill could be finished would depend on how much needed to be revised. He urged citizens to submit their opinions on the matter.
The law regulates HOS applicants’ income and asset limits, as well as the period after which HOS flats can be sold by their owners in the private market.
Civic leaders have described the income limit as a “barrier” for many locals to apply for a HOS flat as they are neither eligible to apply for low-rental social housing nor can they afford to buy a flat in the private property market. The government has also been slammed by community representatives and lawmakers for failing to provide enough public housing flats – HOS and social housing flats – considering that many locals cannot afford to buy or rent a flat in the private market due to the city’s skyrocketing property prices.
The government-drafted amendment bill would have to be passed by the legislature to become law. (macaunews/macaupost)