CY Leung 'will not take easy options in big speech' (video)

Chief executive not expecting policy address to revive his popularity figures

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

Leung Chun-ying will roll out measures to address deep-rooted social problems like housing, environmental protection, the ageing population and economic development in his maiden policy address.

But a government source said the chief executive did not expect his flagging popularity to turn a corner after he delivers his speech tomorrow as he is determined to "to spend the next five years resolving Hong Kong's pressing problems".

He is expected to highlight ways to form a land reserve for housing by methods including land reclamation and building flats in green belt areas with little ecological value.

And he is likely to explain what sort of subsidised housing will be built on four sites - in Diamond Hill, Sha Tin, Tai Po and Tuen Mun - earmarked for the My Home Purchase Plan, a programme under the Housing Society to sell subsidised flats.

Leung wrote in his blog yesterday that the policy address would form his policy blueprint for the next five years.

A survey by the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme early this month found 91 per cent of about 1,000 respondents considered housing issues as "very important" and "quite important"; 88 per cent chose medical policy issues and 87 per cent opted for welfare issues.

According to an online survey by ESD Life from July to August, 57 per cent of 1,768 couples who were preparing to get married said they could not afford to buy their own flats.

Roadside air quality will also be a key issue, with billions of dollars going to the Environment Bureau to subsidise the phasing out of polluting vehicles.

The source said Leung would state in the policy address that the government would no longer consider education and medical services as being knowledge-based industries that were expected to generate revenue.

The two areas were listed by former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen among six industries selected as the city's new economic "pillars". The others were environmental industries, innovation and technology, cultural and creative industries, and food safety and product testing.

Professor Lau Siu-kai, former head of the Central Policy Unit, said the administration should not pin high hopes on the policy address boosting its popularity. "Many Hong Kong people have realised that it is not realistic to expect the government to deliver on its promises in the short run."

The government will also launch a pilot scheme on community care service vouchers for the elderly in the third quarter to provide direct subsidy for eligible elderly people to choose to receive home care and day care services which suit their needs.

The colour of the cover of the policy address speech is orange, which Leung adopted in his campaign for chief executive. The speech, in the Legislative Council, will take about two hours.