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Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

High hopes for executive-Legco 'policy chats'

Monthly executive-legislative meetings will bolster collaboration and offer more opportunities for exchanges of opinions, Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said.
Such "antechamber chats" were proposed by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Wednesday in Legco.

With such meetings, Leung said, officials would be able to lay out policies much more clearly and discuss public sentiments on key issues.

"Legco members must work with the new administration through thick and thin and seek as much common ground as possible throughout the policymaking process. Through an ethos of mutual accountability and collaboration, we must seek truth from facts and never fall short of the expectations of the nation and the people of the SAR," Leung said.

New People's Party Legco member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said such meetings could foster "in-depth" cross-departmental discussions.

"Former CE Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's brevity at Q&A sessions yielded half-baked answers that did not answer questions," Ip said.

The administration, the Executive Council convener said, will come up with a timeline and issue ahead of time a list of secretaries to appear at meetings.

For Federation of Trade Unions representative Bill Tang Ka-piu, livelihood issues must be the focus of the meetings.

Independent Paul Tse Wai-chun wants enhanced communications, hopes the measures will not just be for show, and that participants will not simply stand on ceremony.

Chief Secretary Eric Chan has said authorities are putting together a chief executive policy unit.

Sources said University of Hong Kong deputy vice chancellor Richard Wong Yue-chim, who specializes in housing policy and economics, could lead the unit.

Legco member Stephen Wong Yuen-shan, senior vice president of Our Hong Kong Foundation, could also join it.

The news came as Legco held a six-hour debate on how to implement instructions President Xi Jinping gave in a speech in a trip here last week.

Starry Lee Wai-king, who moved the motion to discuss Xi's remarks, said Legco has a duty to fully implement Xi's address.

Kenneth Lau Ip-keung of the Business and Professionals Alliance said Xi's care for local youth stood out in the speech and urged the government to step up national education efforts.

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