CY Leung and the Hong Kong government need to start listening to the people

CY Leung and the Hong Kong government need to start listening to the people


Chief executive Leung Chun-ying says Hong Kong's economy needs a more hands-on approach.
Photo: Nora Tam/SCMP

Alarm bells rang when Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying raised the idea of switching the "outdated positive non-intervention" policy on the economy to an "appropriately proactive" policy during a recent interview with Xinhua news agency. It caused controversy, as critics complained such a move would destroy Hong Kong's free market. They also questioned whether a proactive policy would help Hong Kong.

It's plain to see that the attractions of the Pearl of the Orient are diminishing as our Asian neighbours become increasingly competitive.

Long gone are Hong Kong's golden days, and they have been replaced instead with a huge wealth gap and a market dominated by multi-national corporations.

Unfortunately, the government is heading in the wrong direction as they try to steady the ship.

Leung has offered a wide range of policies without focusing on Hong Kong's weakness: falling behind the current trends in business.

The market direction now points at new industries in technology and creative culture as we can see in the success of Uber, Facebook and K-pop.

By paving the way for new players, Hong Kong could relieve the intense competition in major industries, but the government doesn't seem to have any realistic ideas. Several attempts to promote the technology and creative industries, such as the Science Park and West Kowloon Cultural District project, have turned out to be gigantic white elephants.

Instead of spending billions on developments that bring no obvious rewards, the government should look into the demands made by the public. Rather than building lavish, confined zones that contradict the free nature of technology and creativity, they should provide funding and education for aspiring hi-tech innovators. Offering education to talented people means they can use the skills within the existing system.

A successful example is Cyberport's Creative Micro Fund scheme, which nurtured nearly 300 start-ups. This truly answers the needs of the people, and helps boost future economic development while maintaining Hong Kong's position as a global pioneer in the business and technology world.

Another advantage of offering funding and education is that it promotes upward mobility in society.

Exploring new industries where there is no dominant company invites small enterprises to step in and grow. Favouring these small start-ups also creates a level playing field that can narrow our income gap.

Hong Kong's reputation as the world's freest economy can be strengthened by creating a fairer market that welcomes everyone, regardless of how wealthy or poor they are to begin with. This would be an economic breakthrough for Hong Kong, giving us an edge that would help us keep up with other international economies.

I believe that Hong Kong, an international business and cultural hub, has everything it needs to invest in new innovations and the creative business sector - if the government takes action.

So instead of trying to be proactive by setting up a network with the mainland or the Innovation and Technology Bureau, they should listen to the people and re-allocate resources according to the needs.

After all, as former British prime minister Winston Churchill said, it is the people who control the government, not the other way round.

The government should not meddle "proactively" and cause political quarrels. Instead, they should just focus on introducing far-reaching policies and Hong Kong would be well off.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Listen to the people


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1 comment



"學會在緊絀的預算下完成任務" - in HKICPA's eye, "accounting professionals" is euaevqlint to "book-keeper".As a member of HKICPA, I wish the Institute stops further marketing activities to promote the so-called "professionalism" of accounting - because even HKICPA itself did not believe so.I agree with you that HKICPA did not respect its young members. And it's very weird because we, in substance, are the client of HKICPA- we do settle our membership fee with them on time. Based on their act in the previous years (remember their hip-hop show?!), I have no expectation from them. Maybe we should have an option to claim our membership fee as a "donation to charity" instead of "professional membership fee" on our IRD form.