August 12th, 2020
The Chief Executive met with DAB Legislative Councillors and briefed them on the decision of the NPCSC to extend the sixth term of LegCo for no less than one year. The DAB expressed support for this decision as it resolved the issue of the lacuna in the legislature arising from the postponement of the election due to COVID-19. The DAB urged the government to grasp the time and mobilize the entire society to fight the virus together, helping Hong Kong overcome adversities while driving economic recovery to relieve people’s hardships. We also put forward four proposals for the CE:
The CE should request LegCo to hold meetings as soon as possible to deal with pandemic-related issues such as amendments of laws or regulations, financial provision and the like.
The government should utilize all means including mainland support and local volunteer teams to deal with the epidemic. We propose:
Implement the “Universal Community Testing Programme” quickly and properly and send out specialized staff to collect specimens. Form a special team by civil servants to support the Programme.
Strengthen the cooperation with district organisations by inviting them to help promotion of the Programme and maintain order at Community Testing Centres.
Proactively coordinate with Mainland support teams to speed up the building of the module hospital at Asiaworld Expo Phase 2.
Implement the Hong Kong Health Code to facilitate the re-opening of cross-border travel and transit between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, and as the basis for mutual recognition throughout the Greater Pearl River Delta region.
Prepare well to deal with a 4th wave of COVID-19 possibly spreading in autumn and winter by enhancing preventive measures in quarantine work, border crossing point management, medical staff, medical equipment, isolation facilities, protective equipment, preventive measures in high risk areas such as hostels or schools, sourcing vaccines, etc.
3. Revive the economy and support employment
Gradually relax restrictions on gatherings and restore economic activities when the epidemic situation becomes stable
Utilize well the unspent funding of the 2nd round of the Anti-epidemic Fund and launch the 3rd round to support enterprises in need.
Urge commercial properties owners to reduce rents.
Distribute special consumption vouchers and hold city-wide sales promotions in coordination with the retail and food and beverage industry after the epidemic to stimulate domestic consumption.
Create 60,000 temporary jobs to ease the pressure of unemployment.
4. Improve election arrangements to ensure a fair, open and safe election
Implement arrangements allowing voters in the Mainland to vote in Mainland.
Adopt an electronic mode of ballot paper distribution.
Set up a special passageway in voting stations to take care of the elderly, pregnant women, persons with disability or require special assistance.
Diverse voters queuing at polling stations by increasing the number of polling stations, add in time-segment or even voting in different days with reference to overseas experience.
The DAB’s proposals on social, economic and governance reforms will be submitted when discussing with the Chief Executive the coming Policy Address.