Leung Chun-ying

CY Leung urged to tackle housing and labour issues in policy address

But Leung hints there will be no cash handouts in his maiden policy speech

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 January, 2013, 12:27pm

Leung Chun-ying will focus on housing, poverty and other livelihood issues when he delivers his maiden policy address, according to DAB leader Tam Yiu-chung, who discussed the issue with the chief executive at a dinner last night.

But anyone expecting a handout is likely to be disappointed.

"Mr Leung does not seem to want to give out cash. But he hinted there would be relief measures to help various sectors," said Tam, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

Michael Tien Puk-sun, vice-chairman of the New People's Party, also said Leung would not give out cash indiscriminately. He said the policy address would be crucial for Leung to boost his popularity.

"Mr Leung should offer solutions to social problems, not only highlight the problems we are facing," said Tien, citing land shortage as an example. "If he can do well [in the policy address], the pro-establishment camp will have better reasons to support him. I think our message to Mr Leung is rather clear - help us to help you."

Leung did not speak to the press after the 90-minuite dinner at the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce club in Central. About 20 pro-establishment lawmakers attended.

The pro-government camp met Leung for their monthly dinner two days after an anti-government march in which tens of thousands of protesters called for him to step down.

However, as pressure mounted on Leung, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang broke ranks with pan-democrats over next week's unprecedented motion to impeach him.

Slamming the motion to be tabled on Wednesday as "impractical and unhelpful", Chan asked: "Do you think the central government would accept it?" But she also said Leung had a year to improve his performance.

According to a Chinese University poll, housing and planning is the area people most want Leung to tackle in his address on January 16.

The university's Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies polled 758 people between December 18 and 22. Nearly two-thirds of respondents to the poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.56 per cent, said they had "some expectation" or "very high expectation" of the policy address. About a third said they had no expectations at all.

The Liberal Party, meanwhile, renewed its call for a limit on how long people can receive welfare.

Honorary chairman James Tien Pei-chun called on Leung to limit the payments to two years, after which continued assistance would require vetting by an independent review committee.