CY Leung policy address 2014i

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying makes his second address. 


What happens to a government when its leader and its financial chief seem to be at odds; not about anything personal, but due to conflicting views on government spending?

Who belongs to the middle class? A joke doing the rounds in political circles has it that the person who solves the conundrum could be wise enough to become chief executive.

It's that time of year when many of my colleagues go into spasms of ecstasy and excitement because they get to report on something sacred called The Policy Address.

Lawmakers criticise government for failure to improve housing crisis, as Labour Party's Cyd Ho floats reintroduction of annual rental caps scrapped in 1998

The chief executive's policy address lacks a child perspective and fails to present a comprehensive child policy for the 1.1 million children aged 0 to 18 in Hong Kong.

The scheme was announced by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in his policy address earlier this month, with the aim of shortening land premium negotiations - during which a developer can sit on land set aside for redevelopment for years.


Ever since Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced the new provisions of more than HK$10 billion a year for the poor and grass roots in his policy address, the fiscal hawks have been coming out of the woodwork.

In his policy address last week, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying made it clear that "Hong Kong needs sustained economic growth to address issues such as poverty, housing, an ageing society, environmental protection and the upward mobility of our young people". Sound familiar? Yes, it is an elaboration of Deng Xiaoping's famous saying, "Development is an absolute principle".

After reading and listening to various responses to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's policy address last week, I am convinced some people are impossible to please. I am not talking about those who say the middle class or small business should get more, or who are impatient for solutions to big problems like housing or pollution. To some extent, these people have a point.

The middle class grumbled that there was nothing for them in the chief executive's policy address. The greenies probably feel the same way, given the lack of powerful initiatives from Leung Chun-ying to tackle our major environmental challenges, from poor air quality and ever-growing waste, to ridiculous energy wastage and the conservation of country parks.

Just 23 per cent of Hongkongers are satisfied with the policy address despite the announcement that more than HK$10 billion will go towards new measures to help the poor, a University of Hong Kong survey showed.

Interest in new homes in Discovery Bay is on the rise as potential buyers are lured to the area by the prospect of capital gains resulting from the construction of the East Lantau Metropolis an artificial island that is to be built to the east of Lantau.

Next month's budget should feature higher tax allowances and bigger deductions to make up for the fact the middle class got "nothing" from last week's policy address, the Taxation Institute said.

The housing panel was due to discuss measures announced in the chief executive's policy address last week. But chairman Wong Kwok-hing called off the meeting after 15 minutes yesterday when the quorum of eight members had not been met, as required by its rules.

A backlash against the billions of dollars spent on the poor in the policy address means the government will be able to avoid handing out sweeteners in next month's budget, a government source says.

The government is printing fewer copies of the chief executive's policy address these days. The move raises the question: is the administration's effort encouraging people to read the policy blueprint in a more environmentally friendly way, or are they just not reading it at all.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah warned yesterday that fears public spending was rising too fast were "not without reason" - doing little to ease talk of a split with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

The public should not expect Leung Chun-ying to implement all of his election pledges within his five-year term, a key adviser to the chief executive says. Instead, according to Executive Council member Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, Leung could be said to have lived up to his promises by starting to research the changes.

Education concern groups across the political spectrum staged a rally yesterday, slamming Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for failing to honour his election pledge to introduce free kindergarten education in his policy address last week.

The immaturity of some of our politicians shows no sign of abating, as is evident from their responses to the policy address delivered last week by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

Every year, in the run-up to the delivery of the policy address, political parties make a mad dash to meet the chief executive or demonstrate outside the government's headquarters to press their demands for sundry measures to improve people's livelihood. Demands for affordable housing have topped the list, followed by demands for more support for the working poor, more hospitals, more homes for the elderly, and more public funding for preschool education, to name a few.