John Lee Ka-chiu (center) makes a speech after winning the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s chief executive election on May 8, 2022. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
With the strong support of the central government, Hong Kong’s next administration is well-placed to solve the city’s deep-rooted problems for the betterment of its people, experts said.
In an opinion poll released on May 4 by the Hong Kong Research Association, 72 percent of the more than 1,000 people interviewed said they support John Lee Ka-chiu’s election manifesto, which includes strengthening governance, boosting the land and housing supply, improving Hong Kong’s competitiveness, and building a caring society
Their comments came on Sunday as John Lee Ka-chiu, 64, became the sixth-term chief executive-elect of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Lee, the city’s former chief secretary for administration, is yet to win approval by the central government and if so, expected to begin his five-year term on July 1.
Lee’s results-oriented policy direction on housing was “very good”, and the city can finally have a leader who is serious about tough issues, said Yip Sau Leung, associate professor in economics at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
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“From what (Lee) has been saying, I am very positive on that,” Yip said, saying the central government has also said that the city should get rid of subdivided flats, adding crucial support to Lee.
Lee received 1,416 votes from the Election Committee members in the city’s first chief executive election since the improvement of its electoral system, far surpassing the 750 threshhold.
Under Hong Kong’s amended electoral laws, the chief executive shall be elected by the Election Committee that is broadly representative, suits the actual situation of Hong Kong, and represents the overall interests of the society, according to Xinhua News Agency.
It is good to have this election system that can have more say, said Yip, adding that the city needs a unified voice to solve problems such as those in housing and the medical system, which have led to social fragmentation.
“With (Hong Kong’s) economic development, people should not be living in such a miserable condition,” Yip said. He said the key task for Hong Kong’s next chief executive should not only be about increasing the public housing supply, but also setting the housing price at an affordable level while carefully dealing with the city’s property bubble.
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In an opinion poll released on May 4 by the Hong Kong Research Association, 72 percent of the more than 1,000 people interviewed said they support Lee’s election manifesto, which includes strengthening governance, boosting the land and housing supply, improving Hong Kong’s competitiveness, and building a caring society.
Koh King Kee, president of the Centre for New Inclusive Asia, a Malaysian think tank, said that Lee’s success in being elected as Hong Kong’s chief executive will help ensure the city’s continued stability.
“His cordial relationship with the central government certainly augurs well for the business community of Hong Kong as well as the general well-being of the people,” Koh said.
Lim Tai Wai, adjunct senior research fellow at National University of Singapore’s East Asian Institute, agreed, saying, “John Lee is keen to rev up Hong Kong’s economic engine to re-engage with the world economy, tourism, and also the finance sector.”
Lim sees Lee’s desire to tackle issues like housing while moving into fulfilling the central government’s hopes that the city can become a world’s major offshore trading center for the Chinese yuan, as well as a financial heart of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, a key regional initiative.
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Lim said he expects greater alignment of Hong Kong with the central government’s goals and more attention on Hong Kong’s integration into the Greater Bay Area.
Lim also expects to see more outreach toward Hong Kong’s economic partners, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, since the city aspires to be a financial bridge between the Chinese mainland and the 10-nation bloc.
Lucio Blanco Pitlo III, research fellow of the Manila-based Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, voiced similar perspectives on the SAR's new election and long-term stability and hopes for its prosperity.
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