The DAB welcomes the content of the latest policy address and believes that it is a policy address that is in accordance with the “tolerate different opinions and act courageously” spirit of the new Chief Executive. The policy address followed many proposals of the DAB and the wider society, and is willing to use the financial surplus to achieve long-term goals. These goals include long-term investment in education and spending more on the technological development and research. At the same time, the policy address sets out a new way of thinking for the HKSAR government and is going to try and solve long-standing problems that have piled up over the years, such as the high cost of public transit, the development of a property ladder, insufficient medical services and the installation of air conditioners in wet markets. The policy address also proactively sets out to solve the problems that young people have with education, housing, setting up new businesses and seeking employment. Initiatives for young people include the pilot scheme for first-time homeowners, the development of co-working spaces, expanding the scope of the CEF and building more dormitories within universities. Also, the policy address also mentioned many proposals that showed that the government was working very hard to solve as many problems as possible, such as supporting patients of uncommon diseases, supporting schoolchildren with special needs, helping residents of rural areas solve internet coverage problems and opening school facilities to the public on weekends.
The policy address adopted many DAB proposals including:
Housing and living conditions
•Releasing housing units that have not yet been assigned land premiums to be rented out to working class tenants.
•Promoting a new version of “Operation Building Bright” and funding the upgrade of firefighting systems within buildings, improving the safety of old buildings.
•Increasing the number of parking spots in various districts
•Helping residents of rural areas solve problems with their internet coverage
•Building new wet markets and installing air conditioners in public wet markets
Lowering the cost of living
•Lowering the costs for public transportation
•Improving the Low-income Working Family Allowance Scheme
Children and Education
•Setting up the Commission on children and protecting the rights of the child
•Strengthening the support for schoolchildren with special needs
•Chinese history becomes a mandatory independent subject in junior secondary school
•Increasing the upper limit for the CEF
Elderly care and medical services
•Increasing the support for patients of uncommon diseases
•Investment in Gerontech development
•Promote cooperation between the general public and the medical community and developing primary care
•Providing tax reductions for residents who purchase medical insurance
Economy and labour
•Increasing investment in tech research, providing tax subsidies and encouraging businesses to invest in tech research and development
•Investing strongly into the promotion of building a smart city, including promoting digital certificates for personal use and 5G digital lampposts
•The three government highrises on the Wan Chai waterfront will be renovated and become part of the expanded Wan Chai convention centre
•Hiring civil servants in order to improve the quality of public services and to improve the morale of civil servants
•Increasing the days of paid paternity leave and lengthening maternity leave
Even though the Policy Address has addressed many proposals of the DAB and wishes of the people, we feel that the government can still improve in many areas. We feel that the government should invest in the recycling industry and solve the issue of insufficient recycling and avoid our city becoming surrounded by garbage when we are face restrictions on waste export. In terms of cancelling the MPF offset, the government should move quickly to publicize the details and reduce the worry and uncertainty that SMEs face on this issue. On the issue of providing transportation rebates to commuters, we hope that the scheme can cover commuters using monthly passes and those who take private estate shuttle buses.
Other than this, we will continue to lobby the government to adopt more of the DAB’s proposals on developing the economy and improving living standards and welfare. These include setting up a “Building Maintenance Committee”, an “Escalator construction for steep areas fund”, lowering the age of eligibility for the OAA and lowering the asset threshold for the OALA. Set up a tax deduction for private housing rentals, set up an infant fund for newborns, set up a comprehensive animal welfare law and finally set up a fund to promote the development of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) industry.
Finally, we hope that the government can continue to ride the momentum of its new vision and continue to work hard to bring society together and improve zeitgeist in our society. We hope that the government will continue to stay closely attuned to our society through various channels, to understand the will of the public, to explain policies, and improve the standard of governance and to gather support. At the same time it should work on implementing its policies as laid out in this address and demonstrate the high efficiency and effectiveness of this new government.
Media Inquiries: DAB Chairperson and Legislative Councilor Starry Lee Wai-King 7770-0820