A man of promise deserves a honeymoon

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 April, 2012, 12:00am

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Leung Chun-ying has, at the very least, shown himself to have understood the most pressing issues confronting Hong Kong today.

Whether the chief executive-elect has the ability, luck and will to resolve these issues during his coming tenure, we will have to wait and see. However, people of goodwill who have no affiliation to any vested interests or any ideological points to score should, for now at least, give him the benefit of the doubt. He deserves a honeymoon period.

Take a look at some top news headlines this week. Leung has proposed a zero quota in private hospitals for mainland mothers giving birth in the city from next year, an administrative measure least vulnerable to court challenges.

A key Leung supporter, Nicholas Brooke, speaking in his personal capacity, has suggested setting up a powerful harbour authority to oversee the transformation of the waterfront. Coming from Brooke, the current head of the Harbour Commission, a proposal once dismissed by the Tsang government now carries weight.

The arts hub project has dragged on for more than a decade but construction work may finally start under Leung's administration. The project has had the property developers dreaming big, hoping to cash in on the portions that involve residential development.

But the big boys have been cut down to size lately and are unlikely to receive any preferential treatment. They will still be rich but they have learned they are expendable as far as Beijing is concerned.

Meanwhile, the government is proceeding with its crackdown against illegal structures in the New Territories. The authorities may still back down in the end or, under Leung, they can choose to fight the powerful Heung Yee Kuk, the rural representative body, and cut it down to size.

In the end, it's about the economy, affordable housing and breathable air.

That's a tall order, and no one will ever meet all the challenges. But if Leung can get even a few key things right, he may become Hong Kong's first directly elected mayor in 2017.