Carrie Lam’s Full Manifesto for the Chief Executive Election Released
Livelihood, Youth and Leadership are Key
Mrs Carrie Lam, who announced her running for the 5th Chief Executive Election, has announced her full Manifesto today (27 Feb. 2017). Mrs Lam pledges to unite our society and work together with the community at large to develop further Hong Kong’s economy, improve the livelihood of the people of Hong Kong and re-kindle hope for the young.
Mrs Lam has shared her policy visions and highlights of her Manifesto in regard to the priority policy areas of education, economy and housing on 3 and 13 February respectively. The Manifesto published today covers the full range of policy areas including judicial independence, financial development, nurturing of talents, boosting the economy and improvement of people’s livelihood, support to small and medium enterprises, comprehensive review of educational policies, environmental protection etc. She highlighted today four main focuses as follows:
- Livelihood: caring for the people; hardship alleviation
- Civil Service: Simplify, Empower, and Boost Morale
- Economy: Government to Promote and Facilitate
- Youth: Engagement of Youth
On the issue of livelihood, Mrs Lam suggested using the dividends collected by the Government from the MTRC to subsidise fares for commuters taking long trips. Mrs Lam said, “The Government is the major shareholder of the MTRC, holding some 75% of its shares, and receiving about $4 billion of dividends annually. If elected, I will use part of the dividends to lower the MTRC fares for long trips to benefit the mass public. I reckon that hundreds of thousands of our citizens will stand to gain and this is another example of the application of my New Fiscal Philosophy.
On our medical system and quality of service, Mrs Lam suggests exploring the feasibility of expanding the Medical Centre of the Chinese University of Hong Kong which is under construction. She also suggests prompt implementation of the 10-year Public Hospitals Development Plan with $200 billion already set aside for that purpose. New resources will also be allocated to solve the medical manpower shortage problem. It is Mrs Lam’s aim to make sure all the local medical graduates will be employed in the public healthcare system and receive specialist training. Another proposed policy is to introduce statutory registration systems for healthcare professionals including clinical psychologists, speech therapists and dieticians to ensure their professional standards and to protect the interests of the public.
For over a month Mrs Lam has been meeting citizens in the local community. Many who reside in public housing estates told her that they could only patronise shopping complexes operated by the Link, and hoped the Government would start building markets again to provide more choices and convenience to the people. Mrs Lam proposed to upgrade markets operated by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to enhance consumer flow and to consider building public markets in districts without them.
Housing is a very important part of the Mrs Lam’s Manifesto. Apart from the announced suggestion of “starter homes” in an attempt to reconstruct the home ownership ladder, Mrs Lam also proposed today that the 250,000 Home Ownership Scheme owners who have yet to pay land premium should be allowed to rent out their flats via social enterprises to increase the supply of rental spaces in Hong Kong.
Another area Mrs Lam touched upon is streamlining Government administration and delegating down powers in order to boost morale of the civil service and improve public service levels. She would like into whether public services had been affected due to the government’s “0-1-1” cost savings programme and, if necessary, would take action to ensure the standards of public service are maintained. She also suggested to review time-limited posts to address the concerns of civil service colleagues regarding job security and promotion, and also to study to ascertain if the retirement age of civil servants for non-pensionable employees who joined the Government after 2000 should be extended to 65 years of age (60 for disciplined services staff).
The Central Policy Unit (CPU) was also highlighted – Mrs Lam would revamp the unit in accordance with her New Style of Governance. She suggested transforming the CPU into a policy and project coordination unit looking after cross-bureau and cross-department projects as suggested from different sectors, and also fostering public participation in policy formulation and policy research and innovation. The new unit would no longer be involved in the appointment of members of statutory bodies and Government committees.
In order to improve Government efficiency and standards of service, Mrs Lam suggested removing barriers within the Administration hindering economic growth and for the Government to take active facilitating and promoter roles. The Government would discuss with owners of individual units in revitalised industrial buildings to rent out their premises at concessionary rates as “co-working space”, so that local enterprises could benefit from more space for operations and development. And subject to meeting Fire Services regulations, the lower floors of industrial buildings should be allowed to be converted for non industrial use.
In order to promote Hong Kong as an international financial services hub Mrs Lam suggested that the Government should reinforce links with overseas countries including the “Belt and Road” countries, on a “Government to Government” basis. The Government should also seek to sign a comprehensive agreement with the Mainland authorities to turn Hong Kong into a financial services hub for all projects related to the initiative. More Mainland and overseas economic and trade offices should also be opened and concrete targets should be set for them to identify business opportunities for Hong Kong enterprises and enhance the role of these offices as our “economic ambassadors”.
On the subject of youth, Mrs Lam encouraged young people to take a more active role in the discussion and debate of public affairs and to take part in policy discussion and formulation. Mrs Lam said, “If elected, I pledge to use various media to engage our young people in meaningful dialogues. The Chief Executive will also chair the Annual Summit of the proposed Youth Development Commission. With great humility and sincerity, I invite all young people from the full political spectrum to take part in public affairs and policy formulation work and to volunteer themselves to join the various statutory and advisory bodies of the Government. Let’s connect and build a better Hong Kong”.