Editorial:Achieving justice by taking back agricultural land

【明報專訊】THE STORM over the extradition bill might show no signs of cessation, but people still have to carry on with their lives. As the government prepares for the policy address next month, freeing up land from the New Territories by way of invoking the Lands Resumption Ordinance for building new housing has again become a hot topic. A pro-establishment political party has taken a U-turn to give its support for the idea. Some people from the real estate industry have also said they do not object to the invocation of the ordinance. The anti-extradition storm has unleashed people's anger at all sorts of injustice. It is necessary for the policy address to make justice manifest to people instead of simply handing out petty sweeteners. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary means. It is a step in the right direction to proactively invoke the Lands Resumption Ordinance, but the key still lies in the details of the operation. Property developers, naturally inclined to maximise their profits, may not easily surrender part of what they can earn. If the government's invocation of the ordinance is only a cosmetic exercise or if it offers "obvious favours" to property developers in other areas in exchange for their cooperation, ordinary citizens will certainly not see that as justice done.