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Chief executive’s policy address 2017

Carrie Lam issues her own 100-day report card and calls her time in office ‘fruitful’

In a first, Hong Kong’s chief executive details her administration’s accomplishments, and gives clear hints on her policy address on October 11

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 3:12pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 11:30pm

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has signalled yet another break from her predecessor by giving out her own report card detailing her administration’s accomplishments in her first 100 days in office and describing the work thus far as “fruitful”.

The 12-page document with 78 items of business listed also gives clear hints on her policy address due on Wednesday morning.

From the list, the focus of her policy agenda is clear with education getting at least a dozen references, followed by 10 initiatives on the economic and trade fronts and nine on political and constitutional achievements.

Lam’s decision to issue her 100-day report comes on the heels of her decision to pare down her policy address to just an hour, in a move that is widely seen as an attempt to chart her own path that is different from her former boss and predecessor, Leung Chun-ying.

While previous policy addresses were a tightly kept secret, Lam said her intention was to give Hongkongers and lawmakers a chance to engage with her team on the policy initiatives.

In break with tradition, Carrie Lam to keep maiden policy speech short and answer more questions

She also quipped that time would be better spent doing so than having her read the address word for word, which would take up to four hours.

Lam said that the full text of her speech would be available online. “I think there should be enough information for residents to digest first in my speech on Wednesday morning,” she said.

Speaking to reporters before the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, she said that she would talk about the outcome of policy reviews on the government allowance to lower-income working families, profit taxes, and the work of the government’s top think-tank, the Central Policy Unit (CPU).

She is expected to announce easier access to the government allowance, a lower tax rate for small businesses on their first HK$2 million of profit, and the recruitment of young policy advisers to the CPU.

The chief executive described her cabinet’s first hundred days in office, from July to October 8, as “fruitful”.

“My team of ministers had a lot of meetings with stakeholders,” she said.

The first item on the report, which is available on the Chief Executive’s website, is on the visit by China’s President Xi Jinping and his wife to Hong Kong for the 20th anniversary celebration of Hong Kong’s handover to China. The visit was “successfully concluded”, according to the document.

The rest of the report covers work done in trade and economic development, efforts to boost innovation and technology, and ways to strengthen education, youth engagement and social services, among others.

It specifically mentions efforts to amend the law to enhance tax deduction for research and development expenditure and plans to fast track the announcement of a Smart City blueprint for Hong Kong by end-2017. It also says that the Labour and Welfare Bureau has completed a review on statutory paternity leave, that the government will review the Hospital Authority’s manpower and resource needs and that government bureaus are working together on policy measures to revitalise industrial buildings for non-industrial uses.

Lam also tried to do away with some of the drama of the policy address by showing to reporters on Tuesday the cover of the policy address. In the past, the Policy Address document was never officially revealed until minutes before lawmakers entered the Legislative Council chamber to hear the Chief Executive speak.

Meanwhile, the latest edition of the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion programme, conducted earlier this month with 1,000 residents, found that Lam’s popularity rating has increased to 59.6 out of 100 – up 3.2 marks from last month.

More than 500 people were asked for their expectations of Lam’s policy address. Some 94 per cent said that it was important for Lam to talk about housing, while 91 and 87 per cent respectively cited medical and social welfare issues as important

However, former Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang told Cable TV that Lam should make clear her stand on political reform and if she would seek universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive.