HKSAR chief listens to public views on upcoming policy address with focus on talents, tourism

John Lee Ka-chiu, chief executive (CE) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), listened to public concerns and suggestions from hundreds of people on Sunday during a district forum for the upcoming policy address in October, which is expected to include some new measures to attract talents and boost tourism. 

The two-session forum, held in Aldrich Bay Government Primary School and lasting two hours, was attended by about 120 people from all walks of life. During the forum, community members voiced their opinions on topics including land and housing, transport, innovation and technology, finance, culture and sports, education, youth, poverty alleviation, healthcare and social welfare, according to the website of the HKSAR government.

In the second session, participants were divided into four groups with the goal of engaging in extensive discussions with principal officials on themes that include boosting the economy and people's livelihoods. Lee interacted with those participating in each group in turn. 

Lee delivered his first policy address at the Legislative Council in October 2022, rolling out a series of measures in regard to attracting global talents, enhancing the city's competitiveness as an international financial hub, and further integrating into the country's overall development plan.

The CE said the public generally agreed to the governance policy in the 2022 Policy Address, and he hopes to listen to more public views and consolidate the objectives and implementation of different policies, so as to deepen and broaden policies as well as identify priorities.

The 2023 Policy Address is scheduled to be delivered on October 25, and the HKSAR government will conduct more than 30 consultation sessions to listen to views and suggestions of Legislative Council members, representatives of various sectors and members of the public.

Following the uncertainties in the global economy, Hong Kong society now expects the HKSAR government to formulate and implement policies to foster the local economy and business sustainability, some observers said. 

Lau Siu-kai, a member of the Chief Executive Policy Unit Expert Group, told the Global Times on Sunday that the HKSAR government should implement the important policies proposed in last year's policy address and deliver tangible results as soon as possible, so as to boost public confidence in the government and Hong Kong. "There's no need to force new policies every year," he said. 

"Many of the important policies proposed in last year's policy address have crossed the five-year term. The HKSAR government has been facing the financial pressure and grim external situation, so it should cherish and make good use of resources," Lau said. 

"We have too much experience in tolerating the poor standard of civil services. Several departments have not done their roles properly. Patients have to queue up for a year just for a five-minute medical consultation in public hospitals. Somehow the public housing resources are wrongly allocated to those with their assets hidden outside the jurisdiction," Chu Kar-kin, a Hong Kong-based veteran current affairs commentator who has been following the forum, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Also, talents are attracted to the city, but jobs are not secure and careers are not promising. Taxpayers are paying for services or resources they cannot enjoy, Chu said. 

"Property prices and rents have rocketed for a decade and is in an adjustment stage. The government should allocate more resources to invest in our future such as education and welfare for the elderly. The government should also foster the cultivation of the technology and creative sector," he said.

During the forum, Lee said that "it is necessary to look at the different needs of the public in their daily lives and understand the living conditions of various community sectors when formulating policies," so as to respond proactively to the people's aspirations, local media The Standard reported. 

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