Strengthen and Consolidate Hong Kong’s Status as International Financial Center for Better Competitiveness
Amid intense competition from other financial centers, Hong Kong must have crisis awareness and continue to strengthen and consolidate its status as an international financial center.
Given the global pursuit of green economy, the HKSAR Government should reaffirm that environmental protection, while offering enormous social benefits, is itself an industry that can boost Hong Kong’s economic diversification, thereby more resources should be allocated in this area.
With regard to the issue of some Hong Kong employees having to work long hours, I believe the society as a whole will agree that it needs to be alleviated, but this does not mean that legislation on standard working hours (SWH) is the only course of action.
Hong Kong’s economy has spread the wings and soared up into the sky by tapping on the favorable mainland policies since the national policy of opening reform in late 1970’s. “One Belt and One Road” is another grandiose historic opportunity. Never in history have we seen such an opportune timing for development in terms of depth and breadth.
Abusive and chaotic filibuster has been the headache of the Legislative Council for far too long. The anarchic situation is aggravating and vigorously spreading to different parts of the Council. Not only is filibustering hindering the normal operation of our Legislature, it is also upsetting the checks and balance of our constitutional structure, turning the lawmaking body into a political tool of a handful politicians that paralyses the Executive’s administration and the governance of SAR Government. Filibustering is abused as if “cancer cells” in the body of the city’s constitutional structure.
Overall speaking, this year’s Budget (Appropriation Bill) is the best and the most comprehensive one of these past three years. Not only has it taken care of our grass root citizens, support to the middle class is also the strongest in recent years. Although the grievances of the middle class are yet to be fully mitigated, the proposed measures do help alleviate certain pressure amongst the class and therefore, deserve a round of applause.
This year’s Policy Address deserves support for its better coverage and foci than the previous two. But its emphasis on housing, land use and livelihood measures still outweighs economic development. The policy blueprint has not struck a balance on the overall development of Hong Kong: it is not strong enough to boost the economy and lacks new ways of thinking. The government is supposed to do more in diversifying the economy. Efforts should be made to promote the development of the innovation and technology industries - this is a matter concerning Hong Kong’s long-term competitiveness and a key for its industry diversification.
Hong Kong should seize the opportunity for economic diversification, so that it can improve people’s livelihood and prepare for future challenges in public finances. To promote diversification, the city must not only strengthen its traditional pillar industries but strongly support the emerging ones.
The general public is worrying that the “non-cooperation movement” initiated by the pan-democratic lawmakers is pushing the Legislative Council’s operation to the verge of paralysis. For the sake of social stability, there should be countervailing forces in the council to end filibustering.
In recent years, “nativism” has been teething in Hong Kong, with some people arguing that government policies must “put Hong Kong people first”. However, parochial “nativism” is indeed detrimental. Hong Kong’s economic foundation can be shaken if it closes the door and isolates itself.
With increasingly frequent socio-economic interactions and closer economic integration, it is inevitable to cause conflicts between Hong Kong and the Mainland due to differences in cultures and values. Since Hong Kong’s reunification with China, the Central Government has not only given tremendous support to Hong Kong but also introduced many measures to revitalize the city’s economy. Hong Kong has long been contributing to the country’s reform and opening up, while at the same time expanding its economic hinterland. Looking forward, Hong Kong should maximize its strengths by supporting and tapping into the Mainland’s array of reforms for better opportunities.