Encouraging people to 'go north' to find a job or business opportunities was not a message to flee Hong Kong, the Financial Secretary said yesterday. Antony Leung Kam-chung's remarks were made as unionist legislator Lee Cheuk-yan urged the administration to adopt a 'two-no's' policy - not to urge people to search for jobs on the mainland and not to undermine consumer confidence by discussing cuts in civil service pay. At the Legco financial affairs panel, Mr Lee said: 'Don't talk so frequently about such shallow things such as going north for jobs and business opportunities. That seems like saying Hong Kong is finished.' However, Mr Leung said the public should interpret 'going north' as a positive rather than a negative message: 'One should not interpret it as saying that Hong Kong has no opportunities and we have to flee.' He said professionals and businessmen should be encouraged to take advantage of Hong Kong's edge to explore the global market, especially on the mainland, to further foster local economic development. The financial chief said both he and Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa had already said the financial deficit for this year would be very large. Government economist Tang Kwong-yiu has said economic conditions will remain difficult in the short term and a recovery in the early part of next year seems unlikely. Mr Leung urged the public not to be too pessimistic. 'As the mainland is our hinterland and the central Government has all along been very supportive, we have reason to believe Hong Kong's medium and long-term economic performance will be quite good,' he said. Mr Leung rejected a plea by Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing for him to report to the legislature on his return from every official visit to the mainland. He said he would have reported all important information through the media during the trips. 'I don't find it necessary to appear before the legislature to meet you every time. Nor do I find it necessary to make an account,' he said. Ms Lau described Mr Leung's remarks as arrogant, adding that the matter should be referred to the Legco House Committee.