Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday the fifth and last Policy Address of her current tenure－scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday morning－would focus on seizing new opportunities in the new era for Hong Kong.
With many favorable conditions in the new stage, the address will focus on economic integration with the Chinese mainland, housing and land supply, and the resumption of quarantine-free travel with the mainland, Lam told the media.
She added that this year's supplement to the policy address will detail the implementation of about 900 policies and measures her administration has rolled out over the past four years.
This year's address is different as it will be delivered in the new era of Hong Kong's return to the right track of the "one country, two systems", Lam said.
The National Security Law for Hong Kong and a revised electoral system have restored stability in the city, plugged legal loopholes in national security, and ensured the administration of the city by patriots, said the Hong Kong leader.
In such a well-optimized environment and free from the interference of disruptive forces, many people in the city have spontaneously felt that "It's time to make a change", said Lam.
Lawmaker Elizabeth Quat Puifan urged the government to take concrete action to resolve deep-seated problems concerning the public. For example, she said, the government should put in place plans to constantly increase the housing supply and address people's concerns.
Quat noted that, with regard to these issues, "even slow progress means falling behind".
According to a survey released by the Hong Kong Research Association on Tuesday, 1,100 respondents identified land and housing, healthcare and education as the top three areas of priority for the 2021 Policy Address.
Among 18-to-29-year-olds, innovation and technology ranked the third most important issue, behind healthcare, and land and housing.
Lam said the central government's support for Hong Kong has reached an all-time high under the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25). The city must seize the opportunities presented by the national plan that positions the SAR as a regional and international center in eight areas, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Qianhai and Hengqin cooperation zones, she said.
Patrick Choi, a Hong Kong architect who has set up a branch office in Foshan, Guangdong province, welcomed the increasing attention of the Hong Kong government to the Qianhai cooperation zone in Shenzhen. With sophisticated and intelligent infrastructure, the Qianhai zone has attracted many Hong Kong architects to set up studios or find employment there, he said.
Therefore, he hoped that the SAR government could provide more services, such as healthcare, that are in line with the Hong Kong system, for the convenience of Hong Kong residents residing in the mainland cities of the Bay Area.
Ken Chong Yat-chau, CEO of green tech startup Guangdong Yikuai Envirotech, based in Zhongshan, Guangdong, said he expected Hong Kong to adopt a more proactive approach to attract international talents in environmental science.
He hoped more opportunities could be offered for them to exchange with the mainland so they could become a force for scientific and technological cooperation.
In the past three months, a total of 3,500 people attended 40 online and offline consultation sessions on this year's Policy Address.