Hong Kong News

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Friday, Mar 31, 2023

Targets: bolstering prosperity, easing flats woes, luring talent

Measures to bolster prosperity, boost housing and attract talented people will be unveiled in Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu's first policy address today.
Lee also said before an Executive Council meeting yesterday that he will include in his presentation measures on economic development, livelihoods and global competitiveness.

He had with him the green-cover address and a white booklet to wave before the media.

"I've brought out various policies under different aspects of the policy address," he said. "There'll also be the separate booklet on policy measures so people can follow up announcements mentioned in the address."

But he asked for patience for another day before he "tells every bit of it'' in delivering the address in the Legislative Council at 11am.

Asked about the delay in enacting Basic Law Article 23 after it was pulled out of this year's legislative agenda, Lee noted the SAR has a duty to enact local national security law legislation.

But he added: "I do want the Article 23 proposal to cover situations which are fast developing in this complex geopolitical situation.

"So I would like our proposal to cover a very wide range of research into legislation available for reference in connection with the means and tactics of protecting national security."

He hoped the security legislation will be "effective" and complete so there will be not need for further improvements.

Lee also referred to the Chinese Communist Party's 20th national congress report delivered by President Xi Jinping on Sunday.

He said he found it "most encouraging" as Xi has spoken many times on one country, two systems and then elaborated on the development of Hong Kong and Macau in his speech.

Xi said Hong Kong and Macau must utilize their advantages, including stepping up their global status in finance, trade, aviation, IT, culture and tourism, and to deepen connections and collaborations between the SARs and international regions, Lee noted.

"The 20th congress report ... will become an action guideline for us," Lee added. "The precise articulation of one country, two systems will act as a stabilizer for Hong Kong's development."

Lee will also announce that his administration will be designing and building transitional housing and pump up the supply by referring to the construction system used in the temporary Kai Tak Covid hospital.

The structures will be at least four stories and include elevators, according to a source. They will be built on plots rented from private developers on leases lasting five years or more and handed over to nongovernmental organizations for operating after commissioning.

Lee is expected to introduce more private home ownership projects on land owned by developers, including lower down payments in mortgage plans.

New World Development last year proposed a first private home ownership project in Yuen Long, with a HK$135,000 down payment for a 300-square-foot unit selling for HK$2.7 million.

Sources said Lee will propose a rail extension of the Northern Link to connect Kam Sheung Road station, Lei Muk Shue, Shek Lei and Kowloon Tong to ease passenger loads on the Tuen Ma Line.

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