The main objective of the Commission on Strategic Development is to advise the government on Hong Kong’s long-term development strategies from a macro perspective; and to encourage different sectors to join in discussions on issues. I hope to provide useful insights to the government on Hong Kong’s economic development, especially on financial and insurance issues.
As I have pointed out many times in LegCo, Hong Kong’s economic outlook is worrying. This is especially so when social conflicts are getting more serious, which have already affected the city’s social and economic development. Competitors from neighbouring areas always have their eyes on Hong Kong’s business opportunities. If this continues, Hong Kong’s status as a global financial centre will become precarious. I have repeatedly requested the government to give up on its “big market, small government” policy in LegCo meetings and by appealing to the Chief Executive and the Financial Secretary. I have urged the government to take the lead in industry development in order to speed up economic development and prepare us for the challenges ahead. I will follow up on this issue in LegCo.
Since the global financial crisis, the government has been focusing on regulating financial institutions to prevent further problems from arising. But it has exceeded the limits in righting a wrong. It has failed to strike balance between regulation and market development, thus neglecting the development of new business opportunities. In both LegCo meetings and my proposals to the Chief Executive and the Financial Secretary, I have repeatedly called on the government to care about the development of financial markets while regulating the market. Policy makers should refrain from imposing unnecessary regulations, and focus on exploring new business opportunities.
In fact, the government has agreed to add an article in the proposed IIA to enhance competitiveness for the insurance industry
I will follow up on this issue in LegCo.
I have been appointed as a Vice Chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Council early this year. My job is to monitor the Complaints Against Police Office’s investigation results of complaints against the police, and to make suggestions to improve the current police complaint system. The aim is to make investigations more transparent.
I have always been demanding the government to enhance the “New Incentive Scheme to Encourage Early Replacement of Old Diesel Commercial Vehicles by New Ones”, such as by increasing the grant. In this year’s Policy Address, the government has finally responded, offering HK$10 billion in subsidies to phase out heavy-polluting pre-Euro and Euro I to III diesel commercial vehicles. The government has also responded to my suggestion of introducing a scrapping subsidy. They will offer a subsidy to truck owners who scrap their pre-Euro-4 diesel commercial vehicles and do not buy a new vehicle. I will follow up on this scheme, including demanding a higher subsidy.
I suggest increasing the ratio of public housing to population from the current 50% of local population who live in government and subsidised flats to 60% or even higher. Recently, the Transport and Housing Bureau has announced that the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee will soon determine the future proportion of public and private housing. Initially they have proposed to increase the proportion to 6:4, so as to help more needy citizens find a place to live and solve the housing problem in Hong Kong.
To encourage capable people to get off Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) and rely on themselves, I recommended the government to enhance the Support for Self-reliance Scheme under CSSA. My suggestion is to increase the maximum limit of disregarded earnings and help the CSSA recipient to put the excess earnings into a designated bank account. If in need, they can withdraw the money. The government has finally accepted this proposal. In May this year, they put forward a pilot scheme on savings accounts under the Community Care Fund. When the savings reach a certain level, the total amount would be disbursed to the recipients to help them get off welfare, thus they start relying on themselves.
Recently, many fatal accidents have been happening in Hong Kong. The reasons include aging of buildings, people’s low safety awareness and lack of law enforcement of government departments. This year at LegCo, I put forward a “building a safe city” motion, urging the government to form a multi-departmental committee to comprehensively review current laws on urban safety, and request all departments to improve law enforcement. I also recommended the government to establish policies to develop a safe city, so as to increase Hong Kong’s urban safety and to prevent accidents. The motion was eventually passed by LegCo.
I have repeatedly called on the government to start a comprehensive review on population policy and work out Hong Kong’s population limit. Management on foreign population needs to be done, especially on those who come to Hong Kong on one-way permits, so that Hong Kong can meet its needs for education, healthcare and housing. In this year’s Policy Address, the government finally responded positively to the demands by addressing the population problem. It pointed out that government policies must consider the population and carrying capacity issues. The Policy Address also reinforced the importance of improving foreign population management.
I support aiding the working-poor and suggest the government to look into introducing a subsidy for low-income earners, using the method of the Transport Subsidy Scheme. This should encourage self-reliance. The Policy Address has responded to my proposal, stating that the Poverty Commission’s Social Security and Retirement Protection Task Force will look carefully into the recommendations.