Leung’s government has done a commendable job
Eddy Li writes CE Leung Chun-ying’s administration has made significant progress in improving people’s livelihoods and tackling deep-seated social problems
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced on Dec 9 that he will not seek re-election in the 2017 Chief Executive election, citing family reasons. While most Hong Kong people feel sorry over this, they understand and respect his decision.
Over the past four and a half years, the SAR government has faced unprecedented challenges, with the city having experienced a number of extraordinary political events, including the “Occupy Central” campaign, the veto of the proposed electoral reform package, the Mong Kok riot and the emergence of “Hong Kong independence” advocacy. And the greatest challenge has been the routine use of filibusters in the Legislative Council. Over the past four years, the performance of the LegCo was disappointing: 1,438 quorum calls were requested; 442 hours were wasted; 18 meetings were aborted, setting a record; at least HK$2.7 billion of good public money was squandered; and incalculable damage has been caused to the economy. In a politically charged environment, almost everything has been politicized.
Radical politicians have hijacked the LegCo with filibustering tactics, hindering the SAR government’s lawful administration. Ironically, these same politicians are fond of accusing the government of low efficiency and poor performance after they have successfully delayed or derailed a host of policies designed to enhance people’s livelihoods and economic development. With all kinds of halftruths and outright lies, those unscrupulous politicians have been trying to convince people that the Leung administration has achieved nothing good for Hong Kong society. What is more disgusting is Leung’s family has received undue media attention and criticism.
But is it true that the Leung administration has done nothing good for our city? Are the policies introduced by the current administration totally impotent? Objectively speaking, the SAR government has made significant progress in improving people’s livelihoods and tackling our deepseated social problems despite the challenging political atmosphere.
In particular, the government has done a pretty good job in poverty alleviation and helping the disadvantaged. It has doubled the Old Age Living Allowance, increased the Elderly Health Care Voucher and made it permanent, and introduced the Lowincome Working Family Allowance and the living subsidy for non-public housing and non-CSSA households. These policies have greatly benefited low-income families. And the most appreciated policy perhaps is the Government Public Transport Fare Concession Scheme for the Elderly and Eligible Persons with Disabilities, which allows all eligible citizens to ride a public transport vehicle for only HK$2, regardless of the distance.
Over recent years, the government’s expenditure on education has been increasing — from HK$60 billion in the 2012-13 financial year to HK$71.4 billion in 2015-16. This indicates that the government attaches great importance to education. Free kindergarten education has been realized; and vocational training has been emphasized and strengthened to help workers improve their skills, with HK$15 billion in public money having been injected into the Employee Retraining Board.
As for the housing problem, there can be no denying that the government’s relentless efforts have born fruit, helping many Hong Kong people to realize their dreams of own- The author is the president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong.
In particular, the government has done a pretty good job in poverty alleviation and helping the disadvantaged.”
ing a flat. The government has spared no efforts in finding suitable sites for residential projects; public housing projects are being built at a fast rate; and restrictive measures such as special and double stamp duties have been introduced to suppress surging property prices.
In its campaign to further develop the local economy, the Leung administration has created the Economic Development Commission, the Financial Services Development Council and the Innovation and Technology Bureau. The SAR government is also proactively taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative and has managed to sign the Agreement on Trade in Services under the CEPA framework. Against the backdrop of an anemic global economy, the SAR government still managed to collect a recordbreaking HK$140 billion of profits tax in the 2015-16 financial year. This is a testament to the stability and aboveaverage performance of Hong Kong’s economy.
It is safe to say that the Leung administration has done a commendable job on almost every front. The community should try to be impartial when appraising Leung’s performance. People need to realize that the current administration has come under criticism just because it had to deal with the controversy that arose from the proposed electoral reform for the implementation of universal suffrage according to the timetable.