Hong Kong leader’s glowing report card for his term omits key failings
While CY Leung hails booming economy and handling of Occupy protests, failure to push through political reform and hit housing targets are left out
Hong Kong’s outgoing chief executive Leung Chun-ying has produced a glowing report of his five years in office, citing among his accomplishments the booming economy and the “orderly” ending of the Occupy protests and the Mong Kok riot.
Conspicuously absent in the 90-page report was an accounting of his government’s inability to bring about political reform and achieve its public housing targets.
“I had strong feelings when I worked on this report,” Leung said on Tuesday as he unveiled it four days before leaving office.
“The whole administration has made a lot of effort and achieved something for society in the past five years,” he said. “I hope society ... can take a look and give us some feedback.”
The economy recorded annual average growth of 2.4 per cent in the past five years and outperformed other advanced economies, the report said.
Leung also highlighted the introduction of the “zero quota” policy, which has effectively banned mainland women without a local husband from giving birth in Hong Kong since 2013.
On the housing front, Leung underscored how public housing supply had increased during his term, but failed to mention that the land which the government had identified so far was insufficient to meet the 10-year public housing target of 280,000 flats by 2025-26.
Under his watch, the targeted average waiting time for a public housing flat of three years had lengthened to 4.6 years as of March.
On transport, Leung emphasised the progress of many projects such as the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou and the bridge linking Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macau. But there was no mention of troubles, including cost overruns and delays.
On political reform, Leung merely said the government had tabled a proposal in the Legislative Council but omitted to mention that the plan – which was criticised for being undemocratic – was voted down by lawmakers.
The “orderly” ending of the Occupy protests in 2014 and last year’s Mong Kok riot was also listed as an achievement, alongside a string of other milestones, such as the launch by the police of its Facebook page, which has attracted more than 110,000 “likes”.
Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu criticised Leung for whitewashing his mistakes by omitting the failure of political reform.
“The failure of constitutional reform was one of the most important matters over the past five years,” he said. “How could he just neglect his responsibility and omit that in the report?”
Yeung added that Leung’s rigid governing style was the catalyst for the Occupy movement and it was ironic that he included ending it as his achievement.
“The report makes me think Leung was living in a parallel universe, not the one that a majority of Hongkongers are in.”
Leung Chun-ying’s pluses
• Launched the Old Age Living Allowance and Low-income Working Family Allowance
• Reinstated the Commission on Poverty in 2012 and announced the first official poverty line one year later
• Earmarked HK$200 billion for a 10-year hospital development plan that will provide 5,000 additional beds
• Set out a non-legislative framework for the implementation of a voluntary health insurance scheme
• Implemented the “zero quota” policy to ban mainland women without a local husband from giving birth in Hong Kong in 2013
• Put in place a plan to phase out the domestic ivory trade
• Ended the “illegal” Occupy movement and the Mong Kok riot in an orderly manner
• Held four major public elections and put forward a political reform proposal to the Legislative Council
• Established the Belt and Road Scholarship scheme
• Released the Public Transport Strategy Study report
• Commenced the construction of the three-runway airport system
• Established the Innovation and Technology Bureau
Additional reporting by Cannix Yau, Shirley Zhao and Emily Tsang