Time for Leung 'to hand in his homework'
A new executive councillor has called on Leung Chun-ying to announce how and when he will introduce three promised social benefits to win back public confidence before delivering his maiden policy address.
Starry Lee Wai-king said the scandal-plagued chief executive should roll out the special old-age allowance, improvements to the transport subsidy scheme and a relaxation in the age limit for senior citizen travel cards as soon as possible.
'It will be too late if the public only sees policy results in the policy address,' Lee, 38 and the youngest executive councillor, said. 'Of course the maiden address will be a critical factor for the popularity for the government. But in light of the recent incidents, Leung should deliver his proposals before October.'
The new administration is mired in controversy.
Leung and health minister Dr Ko Wing-man are caught up in the row over illegal structures, while development chief Mak Chai-kwong has been accused of abusing a civil service housing allowance in the 1980s.
Adding to the pressure, the ministers - and particularly Leung - have faced protests during their 'meet the people' district visits.
Lee, a legislator with the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said Leung should consider leaving the town-hall style meetings to his ministers.
'He has been touring various districts to listen to views for a long time,' she said. 'It is time for him to hand in his homework. What people are concerned about most are solid policies that really influence them.'
Lee said it was unlikely Leung could deliver soon on his core election pledge - to increase housing supply. 'It takes time to plan housing development,' she said.
The newcomer to the top advisory body said that as Leung planned to expand of the role of Exco - its weekly meetings already last longer - there was room to change the rule about its discussions staying confidential.
'I was recruited to act as a bridge between the government and political parties, and between the government and the people,' she said. 'But if the Exco members have to keep tight-lipped about upcoming policy plans, little time will be left for consultation. Is it possible we can reveal policy details to parties slightly earlier? We are moving in the direction of reviewing the rule but no details have been finalised.'
In September's Legislative Council election Lee is likely to run for one of the new district council functional constituency seats. But she said her appointment to Exco could affect her chance of winning.
'It remains unknown whether the appointment is a plus or minus, but citizens have increased their expectations of me, asking me to express their policy demands to Leung,' said Lee, who now serves the Kowloon West constituency.