As his term winds down, Hong Kong leader CY Leung still has a lot to prove
Claiming credit is what politicians do the world over. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is no exception. For the third year, he has released a work report detailing what he sees as his administration's achievements over the year. For instance, housing supply is said to have hit a 10-year high, with 33,000 private flats to be completed this year. The number of people living in poverty has also dropped below one million, according to the report.
But whether people are actually better off is another matter. Home ownership is still out of the reach of many families. Efforts to ease poverty also still leave a lot to be desired. The hundreds of thousands of people who are classified as living below the poverty line are still struggling to make ends meet every day. That is not to say the Leung administration has done nothing to improve people's livelihood, though. It is good to learn that about 13,000 and 20,000 private housing units will be completed in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The low-income working family allowance scheme will also be launched next year, benefiting some 200,000 households.
But the 54-page report card was also packed with banal bits and pieces, ranging from attracting a record number of visitors to the annual flower show to the medal haul by athletes in open competitions. The report also glossed over failures, such as the electoral reform package. Some achievements were actually projects left over by previous administrations.
The city is fraught with many deep-seated problems. It would be unrealistic to expect Leung to come up with instant solutions to everything. But three years have passed, and patience and tolerance are wearing thin among an increasingly demanding public.
With just two years to go in his current term, Leung is under growing pressure to make good all his campaign promises. This is particularly important if he is to seek re-election. The clock is ticking fast. The chief executive needs to produce more concrete results to impress the public.