Leung promises arts space in malls
A government led by Leung Chun-ying would make it mandatory for property developers to set aside space in shopping malls for arts and cultural facilities, the chief executive candidate said.
The city would also aim to adopt internationally recognised standards on air quality, Leung said as he unveiled the last three of 11 policy planks in his platform: culture, sports and the environment.
In his nine-point cultural strategy, Leung said requirements for arts facilities could be included in the land lease for new projects and complemented with incentives.
'The recent closure of the UA Cinemas' complex in Times Square was due exactly to the lack of such cultural requirements in the land lease,' he said yesterday. The cinema screened its last movies on Tuesday after 18 years of operation to make way for shops.
The former Executive Council convenor also proposed setting up a cultural bureau to design overall strategies for arts and cultural development, taking over the duty from the Home Affairs Bureau.
'As one of the many items the Home Affairs Bureau oversees, some arts policies have not received appropriate attention,' he said.
It was the same case with sports, which the bureau also handled, Leung said. He proposed creating a post of commissioner for sports.
'This will be a high-ranking position and should be responsible for co-ordinating broad developments in the sports sector. Therefore, this job should be taken by a sports professional.'
On the environment, one of the city's perennially hot topics, Leung promised to take tougher action on pollution by enforcing new air-quality objectives through administrative or legislative measures.
'In the long run, we want to follow the more stringent standards set by the World Health Organisation.'
With the release of his final political platform documents, Leung said his campaign had 'entered a new stage'.
'We will seek views from the public to finalise the full manifesto, hopefully to be released before the start of the nomination period on February 14,' he said.
Meanwhile, Leung's election rival, former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, said his political platform would include measures to help the disabled.
Government departments and public organisations would be required to hire a certain number of people with disabilities, he said. Tax reductions would be offered to companies that hired them.
Tang said he would also increase total education expenditure by HK$6 billion, and come up with a general plan for social-welfare policies.