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Doing my utmost to improve people's livelihoods

I have been through a lot in less than three weeks serving as the Chief Executive. Yet I am losing no time in accomplishing what I set out to do. Here I would like to make a brief report on what I have done in recent days.

I made over 100 district visits before and after the election to hear appeals from different strata and sectors of society. I bear all of these in mind. As a matter of fact, most of the proposals in my election manifesto came from the aspirations and the community wisdom gathered during my district visits. I will push them forward during my term of office. Nothing about people's livelihoods is trivial, and improving livelihoods is one of the goals I set out to accomplish.

Earlier this week, I attended my first question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council to explain my governance philosophy and major policies, and to answer questions raised by Members. On my first day of office, I decided that I would attend the session by the end of the current legislative term to announce policy initiatives on people's livelihoods. This is because I have the highest regard for the legislature.

The five policy initiatives I announced in the session were an old-age living allowance of $2,200 per month; an annual quota of 5 000 eligible applicants to purchase Home Ownership Scheme flats with premium unpaid on the secondary market; construction of youth hostels in collaboration with non-government organisations, with a first-round target of 3 000 units; doubling the value of health-care vouchers for the elderly from $500 to $1,000 a year; and forming a Social Enterprises Development Fund to help social enterprises to set up businesses. All these initiatives would be implemented to meet the expectations of the community.

Prompt actions to help people

People who ask whether these measures were meant to shift the public's focus might not be aware that these were pledges made six months ago in my election manifesto. There are quite a few deep-rooted issues in Hong Kong and I have encountered some difficulties at the beginning of my office. But like all Hong Kong people I want my Government to do real work. I and my team will focus on our work to fulfil my election pledges, notwithstanding the difficulties. Policy initiatives will be put forward once they are ready. On issues where public consultation and further study are required, we will listen humbly to public opinions before decisions are prudently made. We will do our best to address the pressing needs of the community and alleviate their problems. We will continue to adopt the approach of early implementation of any initiatives that are ready for improving people's livelihoods.

Co-operation between the Administration and the legislature

The current legislative term ended yesterday. I hold the relationship with the legislature in the highest regard. Enhancing the relationship with the next legislature remains a key area of my work. The new legislature will come into operation in October and I look forward to working closely with various political parties and groups to promote the well-being of the entire community and the overall development of Hong Kong. Take the old-age living allowance as an example. The Government finished the decision-making process promptly and we will seek early funding approval from the Legislative Council to enable over 400 000 senior members of the community to benefit from the new allowance as early as possible.

Seeking consensus through rational and peaceful ways

I always say "Hong Kong is our home", and my election manifesto stated my vision for Hong Kong: "The 7 million Hong Kong people are one family." To build a good home, I and my team will work to unite Hong Kong people to regain our momentum. To gain back our lost years, you and I must work together with one heart and one vision. In drawing up and finalising policy initiatives, I will continue to give high regard to public opinions and listen humbly to the views of various sectors of the community to seek consensus amid differences. I will make policies that meet public aspirations and I will implement them with determination.

Learning a lot from district visits

Over the past two weeks, I and my team have made rewarding visits to 18 districts to meet with local residents at close quarters. These visits are a new experience for a number of my colleagues. I extend my deep gratitude to my team and all colleagues in the civil service for their most efficient co-ordination and great support. In the coming days, we will continue to go into the community through various activities to meet with the people so as to minimise the physical, psychological and policy distance between the Government and the public, and to fulfil my pledge of serving as a Chief Executive for the people.

Special thanks to civil service colleagues

I must thank all my civil service colleagues for their tireless efforts in helping me to launch within my first two weeks of office the five new initiatives to meet aspirations of the people. The experience of these two weeks bears testimony to the excellence of our civil service. With such support and co-operation, I am confident that I can transform all my promises and thoughts in my manifesto into reality.

July 18, 2012