Election pledges aside, CY Leung will be judged on whether he has put Hong Kong on the right path
Chief executive has highlighted the achievements of his administration in his latest work report, but the question remains: has he done enough?
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying must be feeling the heat as public scrutiny on his 2012 campaign promises intensifies in the remaining months of his first term. Instead of leaving the assessment to critics, the leader has again compiled a report on his work over the past year. The public can judge for themselves how much has – or has not – been achieved and whether the right directions for future development have been mapped out.
As in the past, the report covering Leung’s fourth year in office is rich in figures. For instance, the number of applicants for welfare payment has dropped to a 14-year-low. It is expected that some 36,000 private residential units will be completed this year and next. The estimated total public housing production in the five-year period starting from 2015-16 is also higher than that in each of the previous three five-year periods, according to Leung.
Given the discontent – and even hostility – over his governance among pan-democrats and in certain quarters in society, it may be tempting to commend Leung for achieving much over the past year. The 39-page report may even be seen by some as justification for Leung to seek a second term.
While the report may put the chief executive’s performance in a positive light, what people experience every day can be very different; close to one million people are still living below the poverty line. Meanwhile, affordable housing remains a distant goal, even though property prices have come down somewhat.
Some of the accomplishments are arguably more related to the state of the economy than Leung’s performance. His list of achievements such as helping athletes prepare for the Olympic Games and the citywide Keep Clean campaign look minor.
Earlier, the government talked of the three major challenges facing the administration – the Link Reit issue, the Mass Transit Railway fare adjustment mechanism and revamp of the mandatory provident fund. There are still no concrete solutions in sight. The report also stopped short of mentioning the setbacks encountered, such as the shelving of the controversial copyright amendment bill and the “One Belt, One Road” scholarship scheme. It would not be surprising if people find the report incomplete. This is Leung’s fourth report card and comes just eight months before the next election for chief executive. Whether or not he stands for a second term, Leung will be judged by how much he has delivered on his promises, and whether he has put Hong Kong on track for further development beyond 2017.