Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that she is as concerned as some lawmakers are about the way Link Reit conducts its business, but cautioned against legislating controls on its operations.
Lam was reacting to reports that pro-government lawmakers Regina Ip and Alice Mak have planned to move a private members' bill to set a cap on the rent increases that the Link Reit is allowed to make.
"I am as concerned as some of the members of the Legislative Council and the public about the way Link conducts its business," she said. "This is not only my concern as a Chief Executive. You would recall when I was the chief secretary for the administration, I had talked about this."
Lam said she did try to explain to the head of the real estate investment trust that its properties are not like other commercial properties, but are supposed to serve the residents of public housing estates.
But Hong Kong's top official urged caution in trying to deal with the matter through legislation.
She said to limit the Reit's power through new laws could breach the rules of a free market economy.
Ip, who's also an executive councillor, had said that her bill is aimed at regulating the listed company, which has been criticised for driving rents up in the public housing estates and malls it manages, effectively kicking small shops out.