Government needs to talk

Government needs to talk

On November 17, Shiu Sin-por, who heads the Central Policy Unit (a think tank that reports directly to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying), said the government should strengthen its public consultation process, and make its official stance clear. He also said the government should participate in forming public opinion so it could carry out its policies smoothly.

His controversial remarks were later criticised.

When he said the CPU was a government tool, he was accused of destroying the tradition that civil servants should be politically neutral - and not take sides.

It may have been inappropriate for Shiu to express his opinions publicly, because it raised doubts about the CPU. But I think he was right in suggesting that the government should be more open about its policies and explain them to the public properly.

The government depends heavily on traditional means to spread its message, such as through district council members or publishing articles in newspapers.

But the mainstream media prefers criticism over praise, and this has an immense impact on public opinion. It is the government's responsibility to provide as much information as possible about its new policies - especially how they will benefit the public - and allow sufficient time for public consultations.

The government needs to tap public opinion, especially through the internet. This is not "brainwashing", but simply making its viewpoints heard among the people.

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