Next CE Must Face Up Issues with Population, Unemployment and Retirement

Hon KP Chan on Motion on Calling Upon Persons Intending to Run for Chief Executive to Respond to Public Aspirations

•    As the helmsman, the Chief Executive should respond to public aspirations in formulating policies for Hong Kong’s development.  The next CE will be elected by a committee of 1,200 but he is actually accountable to the entire population, not just the electorate.

•    An answerable candidate should listen to views of every walk of life when preparing his platform and present his policies clearly.  The public should be allowed time to digest, comment and even propose revisions to the announced platforms.  Today’s Motion and Amendment are intended for the Legislature to express its views.  What matters most is whether their proposed policy packages would take account of these views and balance different interests of society?

•    An ideal CE should treat the imbalanced population policy seriously.  As all other policies are virtually affected by the population, the Government could not prepare long term policies for Hong Kong if it does not have a full picture of demographic changes.  For years, the community has been deferring review of population policy, probably out of concerns over touching on family reunion and discriminations.  Family reunion is a basic human right and should be free from undue influences.  However, the Government should not be evasive.  In my view, the next Administration should comprehensively review population policy and deal with population issues with new thinking.

•    How many people could Hong Kong accommodate?  Demography and development are closely related.  I ask the new Administration to set up a high-powered task force to study population sustainability and size for the next 10 to 20 years.  Accordingly, policies on employment, health care, education and others might be drawn up with reference to demographic changes.

•    Secondly, unemployment of young people is increasing and social mobility is becoming more restrictive.  Their age-specific unemployment rate has been staying at double-digit.  Past efforts to relieve youth unemployment with temporary jobs are impractical in helping them pursue longer term goals.  Middle age unemployment is also getting worse due largely to mismatch of skills and jobs.  Apart from improving the population structure, the Government should also redress the contracting economic structure.  In addition to six pillar industries, the Government should also look for the seventh and even the eighth industry as a means of further diversification.

•    Thirdly, in my view the next Administration should face the issue of aging population.  It should consider additional arrangements for retirement protection to complement MPF for the benefit of those who are not covered by existing schemes.

•    The preliminary round of the race for CE has started.  As the people are demanding for their voices to be heard and written into platforms of candidates, they should also study individual platforms, teams and capabilities before drawing any conclusion.

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