Chairman's Message
Chairman's Message - Improving People's Livelihood and Forging Social Harmony

Dr. Charles Yeung 【President】

Silver Bauhinia Star, JP

CGCC has earlier submitted a position paper on the Policy Address and Budget for the coming year to the HKSAR Government. Given the current social development and the public’s needs, we reckon that the HKSAR Government should keep a focus on areas such as housing and land supply, youth development, poverty alleviation, care for the elderly and SME support. Meanwhile, the Government is expected to have a good grasp of the major direction of China’s reform and development in future, broadening the development space for Hong Kong by deepening its economic cooperation with the Mainland.

Expediting Housing and Land Planning for Healthy Development of Property Market

The public has been much concerned about issues such as property prices, rents, as well as the waiting time for the allocation of public rental housing units. We expect that the authorities can be more responsive to the housing needs of the grassroots and middle class by, for example, increasing public housing supply and stepping up actions against public housing abuse. Consideration should also be given to building more housing units under the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) and lowering the application thresholds for HOS housing, so as to help more citizens to purchase their homes.

Besides, the authorities can consider relaxing the restrictions for industrial building redevelopment and conversion by streamlining the procedures for industrial building revitalization. Particularly in driving new development plans in Kowloon East and Lantau forward, the supply of commercial buildings and shops should be increased and coordinated as a means to lower the rental pressure in core business districts and allow higher flexibility for the commercial land development of Hong Kong.

Providing More Comprehensive Support on Youth Development

In view of the youth’s rising demand for residence and home purchase, we suggest the HKSAR Government consider building youth apartments that provide residence for young singletons and newly-wed young couples at lower-than-market rates. These youth apartments can be converted from existing industrial buildings, and their construction costs can be reduced by offering incentives such as premium waiver to developers.

To provide young people with opportunities for starting business, the authorities can consider setting up a youth startup fund that offers financial support to successful applications. They can also enhance cooperation with the business sector by, for example, providing training on business startup and inviting successful entrepreneurs to share their experience.

To strengthen the local youth’s correct knowledge of China, we suggest Chinese History be made a compulsory subject in secondary schools and more emphasis be put on the teaching of modern history in devising the subject’s syllabus, so that young people can have a better understanding of the country’s development.

Promoting Poverty Alleviation and Elderly Care

CGCC has long recognized the importance of harmonious social development, and is eager to unite the business community to extend care for society through its “We Care We Share” Campaign. Furthermore, we look forward to the HKSAR Government keeping up its effective use of fiscal surplus and putting greater efforts on poverty alleviation and elderly care. We suggest the authorities consider giving more financial support to the aged. For instance, the Old Age Living Allowance can be increased, subsidies to residential care homes for the elderly be extended, and financial incentives be provided to encourage offspring to live with and provide for their parents.

Now society has mixed views on whether a universal retirement protection system should be introduced. As the issue can involve fundamental changes in the welfare system for the elderly, the authorities should have careful assessment on its impacts and the associated fiscal sustainability; hasty introduction is strongly not recommended.

Stepping up SME Support

SMEs are a cornerstone of Hong Kong’s economic development. The HKSAR Government is expected to continue stepping up its support for SMEs. For example, the SME support schemes should be extended with higher funding amounts, more tax concessions be provided, and the administrative procedures and approval time of the support schemes be simplified and shortened. For the long run, the various funding schemes should be consolidated while offering higher loan amounts and longer guarantee periods. In addition, the authorities should pay close attention to the impact of “Occupy Central” movement on SMEs’ operation and render assistance to them in a timely manner.

Forging Closer Economic Partnership with the Mainland

We believe that while facilitating improvement in social livelihood, the HKSAR Government should also forge closer economic partnership between Hong Kong and the Mainland. To inject fresh momentum into Hong Kong’s future economic development, efforts should be made to deepen the contents of the service industry cooperation under CEPA, expand the scope of the offshore RMB business of Hong Kong, and promote joint development with Nansha, Qianhai and Hengqin. Now that China is planning for its “13th Five-year Plan”, the HKSAR Government should take an active part in the planning to keep abreast with the way forward of the country’s reform and development, such that Hong Kong can reinforce its intermediary role in the intensifying competition with other cities.

Looking into the next year, CGCC will remain committed to supporting the HKSAR Government’s administration according to the law. And we expect that the second-round consultation on the constitutional reform can be launched very soon, in which the details of election by universal suffrage and specific election procedures will be discussed on the basis of the NPC Standing Committee’s decision and the Basic Law. CGCC will strive to forge consensus in society, making contribution to a “one-person-one-vote” election of the Chief Executive and to social harmony.