George Ng Sze-fuk, Chairman of the Sai Kung District Council, on his 21 years in office and his plans for his next term.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and bred in Sai Kung. I am the sixth generation of a fishing family in Sai Kung, so I spent most of my childhood on the water. When I was young, I attended Sai Kung Public School and Sai Kung Sung Tsun Catholic School. After gaining experience at a garment factory in Kowloon, I opened my own garment manufacturing business in 1976 and I closed it down two years ago.
How long have you been Chairman of the Sai Kung District Council?
The government appointed me as member of the Sai Kung District Board in 1986, and became Chairman of Sai Kung District Council in 1994. This is my 21st year and sixth term as Chairman of the Sai Kung District Council.
Why have you decided to keep running for the position?
I don’t really think about it. It’s been 21 years and it’s quite an incredible length of time. The council has supported me in the past and I hope they will continue to support me if they believe I am doing a good job. I want to do the committee and Sai Kung community proud so I will keep doing this for as long as I am welcome.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
In 1995, I helped open Sai Kung Lei Siu Yam Memorial School, it is now much more centralised and it merged five village primary schools. We made a big stride this year to relieve the traffic congestion in Sai Kung which has been an ongoing issue for twenty years. I am proud to also say the Sai Kung District Council has organised various activities and events for the residents of Sai Kung and Tseung Kwan O, including Chinese Orchestra and jazz concerts, which will hopefully nurture an artistic atmosphere in Sai Kung. I am also proud of the development of Sai Kung’s seafood reputation. The Sai Kung Seafood Festival was co-organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Association in the 1990s. Prior to that, the areas of Lamma Island and Lei Yue Mun were more renowned for its seafood.
What do you hope to accomplish in your next term?
The first issue I want to address is to push through with the second phase of Hiram’s Highway. I would also like to establish a museum in Sai Kung to tell its history and culture but this depends on the financial support we can muster. The Tseung Kwan O landfills which deeply impact upon the lives of the residents nearby is also something I would like to tackle. We will advocate for the government to take effective measures to improve living conditions there. I want to construct a sports centre in Area 4 (Mei Yuen Street) which will include two rooftop tennis courts, squash courts, a children’s playroom and seating for 1,400 people. In order to realign the leisure facilities in Sai Kung, we also want to redevelop Wai Man Road Playground, Sai Kung Tennis Courts and Sai Kung Squash Courts. Ongoing issues like outdoor seating at restaurants and bars are also on the agenda.
What is your view on the current transport issues in Sai Kung?
The traffic congestion in Sai Kung is a major issue for residents and we receive many complaints about it. However, I feel like it’s a similar situation outside of Sai Kung. We have thought about adding more big buses to rectify the problem but it will impact the operations of minibuses and other modes of transport serving the routes. It is a balance between users and providers and there will always be contradictions between the parties involved. We will do our best to maintain this healthy balance and resolve the issue as much as we can.
What’s the latest on the construction of Hiram’s Highway?
The construction of phase one of Hiram’s Highway which extends from Clearwater Bay Road to Pak Wai will commence in the first quarter of 2016 and will be finished by the end of 2020. In regards to phase two of Hiram’s Highway, we are still in talks with different parties about where to build pedestrian facilities including bridges and bypasses. We will push for the construction of phase two, from Pak Wai to Sha Ha, to commence as soon as possible. We hope it will help to solve Sai Kung’s transport problems. Alfresco dining, or the lack of and crack down on, remains a hot topic in Sai Kung Alfresco dining is extremely popular in Sai Kung. I completely support outdoor seating and I want it to remain a unique facet of the area for years to come. However, there are particular problems that come with it – health and safety, environmental hygiene, the effect on residents, emergency precautions, to name a few. It is important to keep not only the business owners in mind, but the residents and visitors. We need to make compromises.
How can Sai Kung residents get in touch with you?
I welcome the community to give feedback. Communication with the community allows me to do my job better. The community can let me know how I can lend my support and services. I am reachable by email, phone or mail. I hope to support and make Sai Kung and the surrounding areas a better place for everyone.