Former chief secretary David Akers-Jones criticised the administration of Donald Tsang Yam-kuen yesterday for not doing enough to address the pressing issues of housing and planning.
He also predicted a "paradigm shift" by the present government of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on the issues.
Akers-Jones, president of the Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong, was speaking a day after the federation presented its recommendations for the 2013 policy address and budget on Monday.
He called on Leung to focus on a limited number of key policies, with housing and land supply at the top of the agenda.
"To tackle the housing problem, the government must increase land supply," the former top colonial official said at a press conference. "The chief executive should make public in greater detail the amount of available land, the problems in finding or releasing new land, and the decisions necessary to resolve them. This should include taking stock of all vacant sites and their potential use."
He said there had been a lack of direction and co-operation among officials in the previous government.
"Land is there to build homes, land is there to build houses, land is there for offices. But somehow they didn't seem to get together on it and solve the problem," he said.
"We are going to see a paradigm shift in this administration, and it will become more focused," he said. "But you cannot expect the issues will be fixed up in a few months."
Chairman Dr David Wong Yau-kar said the federation supported the latest development plan for the New Territories.
"We support the re-establishment of the Poverty Commission, and the government proposal on an old-age living allowance with a means test," he said. "However, we are cautious on retirement protection. The government should set up a commission to undertake a review of the current system of retirement protection, and make formal recommendations for the way forward that balance the case for universal protection with the absolute necessity for fiscal prudence."
The federation presented recommendations in five areas, including the environment and broadening the economy.