On Tuesday, the Hong Kong government unveiled its plan to provide a HK$27.3 billion bailout for Cathay Pacific. The plan would inject the liquidity desperately needed by the city’s de facto flag carrier that is under heavy influence from last year’s violent protests and this year’s ongoing pandemic.
To avoid the political hassle of such a massive bailout plan, the government had decided to bypass the city’s slow, incompetent, and politically tainted legislature, which normally takes months of quarrel and fighting to pass anything. Instead, the government would resort to the Land Fund under its fiscal reserves. According to Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, the projected return of this investment is expected to be much higher than the past performance of the Fund’s investment portfolio.
This is obviously a win-win plan for all parties. The government can benefit from this profitable investment. Cathay Pacific can avoid bankruptcy. And Hong Kong can preserve its role as a global aviation hub, which is essential to the city’s long-term economic development.
Unfortunately, despite this plan’s purely economic nature and its huge benefit to the Hong Kong society, there are still people trying to make it political. Jeremy Tam Man-ho, a pro-democracy LegCo member, criticized the government for using the Land Fund instead of seeking funding from LegCo. But let’s not forget that Chan and other pro-democracy members, who are dedicated to opposing anything proposed by the government, are the very reasons that render LegCo unable to provide timely relief for Cathay Pacific. Instead of attacking the government for diligently exercising its lawful power, Jeremy Tam should really reflect upon himself and his fellow pro-democracy legislators who repeatedly hijack Hong Kong’s future in the name of democracy.
Jeremy Tam used to be a pilot for Cathay Pacific. He resigned last summer amid the civil unrest, claiming that his resignation would protect Cathay Pacific. Less than one year later, Tam seems to completely forget about the very company he had served for 18 years. Tam’s attack against the bailout plan needed for Cathay Pacific’s survival not only demonstrates his intentions to kill Cathay Pacific but also the real hypocritical agenda of many pro-democracy LegCo members – to oppose the government at all times, even if the government wants to protect Cathay Pacific.