Lawmakers must put aside differences and back tech bureau

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 July, 2015, 4:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 July, 2015, 4:33pm

The Hong Kong Civic Association is disappointed the government's application to the Legco Finance Committee to approve the innovation and technology bureau funding before Legco began its summer recess was again derailed by filibustering by radical pan-democratic lawmakers.

This is tragic for Hong Kong's economy as there are more signs now that China is increasingly opening its economy globally, and Hong Kong's economic competitive edge is slowly being whittled away.

However, research and development (R&D) has already started to take root here. For example, Huawei, Beijing Genomics Institute, Lenovo and TCL are some of the companies that have now established R&D centres here.

We will have to keep relying on our pillar industries and other businesses that have made Hong Kong an economic success. But new, formidable challenges face us due to China's rapid opening up to the world and from other countries in the region.

When it gets off the ground, the new bureau will play a key role in strengthening the government's efforts to diversify Hong Kong's economy in line with China's global expansion.

This, in turn, could lead to higher growth, better paying jobs and more social mobility for our young people, who are seeking light at the end of the tunnel.

Our association supports the call for more government action to attract our students to take greater interest in the fields of science and research, since Hong Kong already has top-level educational institutions where they can be trained. As the city moves up the knowledge ladder, this type of talent will be in even greater demand.

We concur with the government's plan over the next two years to focus primarily on economic issues rather than political reform.

Since economic and political issues often interlink, the chief executive and his political team will surely be redoubling their efforts to engage the community, especially legislators and district councillors, in resolving livelihood issues together with the economic growth problems that need urgent attention.

When Legco reconvenes in October, our association would urge all lawmakers, whatever their political leanings, to cooperate with the chief executive and his political team. They should do this for the public good and approve at the Finance Committee's first meeting the funding application for the new bureau, which should be the first item on the committee's agenda.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, president; Frederick Lynn, chairman, Hong Kong Civic Association