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Carrie Lam highlights livelihood issues in policy address

2019-10-16 22:12

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HONG KONG, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam delivered on Wednesday her third policy address, highlighting livelihood issues such as housing and land supply, and appealing to the community to put aside differences and set sail again.

The 2019 policy address, entitled "Treasure Hong Kong: Our Home," focused on four aspects of work, namely housing, land supply, improving people's livelihood and economic development.

Lam said in the foreword of the address that she decided to deliver a more focused policy address in full this year and compile a new document entitled Policy Address Supplement to comprehensively account for the work progress of the current term HKSAR government.

Together with the supplement, this year's policy address contains more than 220 new measures that aim to address deep-seated social problems and improve people's livelihood.

On housing, which she described as "the toughest livelihood issue facing Hong Kong society," Lam announced a raft of short- and medium-term support measures, including substantially increasing the number of transitional housing projects, offering cash allowance, assisting first-time home buyers, among others.

On increasing the land supply, which she called a "thorny problem," Lam noted that the governing team must make bolder decisions and overcome all difficulties with determination, announcing measures including invoking the Lands Resumption Ordinance to resume privately owned land for public housing.

These measures were widely welcomed by the Hong Kong community. The Non-official Members of the HKSAR Executive Council said in a statement on Wednesday that the chief executive "has demonstrated her determination to overcome challenges through proposing bold measures to boost short-, medium- and long-term land supply through different means."

Noting that the HKSAR government has lowered its full-year GDP growth forecast to a range between zero to 1 percent as recent violent incidents have posed an unprecedented challenge to Hong Kong's economy, Lam vowed that the government will roll out more measures to bolster the economy and to help enterprises and the public tide over difficult times.

She also promised to improve people's livelihood through various measures in areas including children's development, public healthcare, burden relief and poverty alleviation.

Lam has revealed on Tuesday that the theme color of this year's policy address is sky blue, symbolizing that "the sky clears after the rain" in unrest-hit Hong Kong.

However, the original arrangement of her delivering the policy address Wednesday morning at the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting was repeatedly disrupted by the opposition LegCo members, and she had to give the speech later through video.

In the policy address, Lam pledged to adhere to the "one country, two systems" principle and safeguard the rights and freedoms protected by the Basic Law, as well as to protect the rule of law, the cornerstone of Hong Kong's success.

She appealed to everyone in the community to cherish the city and safeguard its core values so that Hong Kong can return to calmness.

"So long as Hong Kong remains impeded by unresolved disputes, ongoing violence, confrontation and discord, our city cannot embark on the road to reconciliation and people will lose faith in the future," Lam said in her closing remarks.

"We must reverse the prevalent pessimistic sentiments and stop the disorderly behavior. We have to put aside differences and stop attacking each other, so that we could set sail again based on the values upheld by all," she said.

At a press conference on the policy address on Wednesday afternoon, Lam expressed regret over not being able to deliver the entire policy address at the LegCo meeting, and reiterated that Hong Kong's top priority for the moment is to end violence.

Stressing that she will continue serving Hong Kong with her utmost determination, Lam said she hopes to lead Hong Kong out of the current impasse through the policy address as well as "a governance style with more listening and more interaction."

In a post on social media on Wednesday evening, the chief executive invited the public for an online communication on the new policy address on Thursday evening.
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