Asked if he can ‘bring hope’ to Hong Kong, CY Leung points to housing policy

Top official was speaking in wake of comments from billionaire Li Ka-shing on coming chief executive race

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 11:51am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 11:55am

Hong Kong’s top official said the government and society have a “common vision” for building the city, and that his administration’s work on solving the housing shortage has been “hopeful”.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was responding to a question from the Post on whether he could “bring hope” to the city, after Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, promised to help elect a leader who was capable of doing so in the leadership race next March.

The CK Hutchison Holdings chairman has been returned uncontested to the 1,200-member Election Committee. He made the pledge in his platform for the committee’s polls scheduled for December 11.

In the 2012 race, Li backed Leung’s rival Henry Tang Ying-yen, whose campaign was destroyed by revelations about a massive illegal basement at his residence.

Leung also said he would do his utmost to maintain a dialogue with lawmakers, a day after former governor Chris Patten said “a good chief executive in any governing system should listen to a wide group of people and be decisive”.

Before the weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Leung said: “The SAR government and society have a common vision on building Hong Kong in various aspects – developing the economy, improving livelihood and, in particular, solving land and housing shortages, which the residents are very concerned about.”

“Our work in this aspect has been hopeful ... In the next three to four years, 93,000 private housing units will be completed, which is 46 per cent higher than four years ago,” Leung continued. “Based on our land supply [projections] for the coming 18 months, I believe we can maintain this high production rate of housing units.”

The chief executive declined to say when he would announce his re-election bid, or whether the government’s work would be undermined by the resignation of members in his cabinet.

“The question on resignations is speculative, I will not answer speculative questions,” he said.

Executive Councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee earlier said she would announce her chief executive candidacy “in due course” but refused to confirm reports about resigning from Exco in two weeks to run for the city’s top job. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has also been tipped to challenge his boss in the race.

Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao reported that the democratic camp would boycott Leung’s reception with the Legislative Council on Tuesday evening, though radical lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung said he would attend the event to protest against the chief executive’s governance.

On the expected boycott, Leung Chun-ying said: “My colleagues in the government and I attach much importance to the relationship between the executive branch and the legislature. We do our utmost to attend activities organised by Legco, and I have invited lawmakers to give their opinion on my upcoming policy address [in January] and to attend social activities.

“What the government and I can do is to do our utmost to have exchanges with lawmakers on different occasions, but we cannot make decisions for political parties and lawmakers as to how they should respond.”