Speech at Council meeting-Members’ Motions:Uniting the executive authorities and the legislature to forge ahead with the development of the greater bay area

Uniting the executive authorities and the legislature to forge ahead with the development of the greater bay area


Deputy President, under the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” and the new electoral system, the executive authorities and the legislature are no longer two politically independent bodies, but two entities that are jointly responsible for the governance of Hong Kong and make concerted efforts to contribute to the country and Hong Kong.  The development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (“GBA”) is an important entry point for Hong Kong to integrate into the overall development of our country.  In order to move forward hand in hand with other GBA cities, the executive authorities and the legislature must complement each other well.  I thank Mr Duncan CHIU for proposing the motion to urge the Government to take proactive measures to unite the executive authorities and the legislature to forge ahead with the development of GBA.  I support the motion.

Unity begins with building a good interactive relationship.  Since taking office, the new-term Government has established a closer interactive relationship with the Legislative Council (“LegCo”) through different channels, including regular Ante Chamber exchange sessions, frequent visits by government officials to LegCo to personally explain various policies and measures, joint participation by government officials and Members at seminars on topics such as the spirit of the 20th National Congress and national security at the Central Government Offices, as well as their joint visits and inspections.  Outside the Chamber, government officials played a friendly football match against the LegCo Football Team in early May; and my Honourable colleagues often invite officials to lunch in the Dining Hall on Council meeting days to exchange views.  This atmosphere of unity and collaboration is truly unprecedented.

Our delegation concluded the visit to GBA successfully last month.  Led by the Chief Executive, Members visited projects in various fields, such as new energy transport, innovation and technology (“I&T”), youth development, culture and arts, and urban governance.  We gained a full understanding of the I&T development and opportunities in GBA, with a variety of advanced technologies and future development concepts being real eye-openers.  We felt that the Mainland cities in GBA have developed rapidly, and were deeply struck by the gap between Hong Kong and Mainland cities in the application of urban technology.  Members and SAR Government officials walked together, observed together, and communicated and discussed with each other.  We all shared the same feeling that Hong Kong must strive to catch up, and I believe this is the consensus of the executive authorities and the legislature.

As the saying goes, “Stones from other hills can be used to polish jade.”  I believe that this visit to GBA can provide a lot of inspiration for government officials to find solutions to Hong Kong’s livelihood and land problems.  For example, BYD’s SkyShuttle has huge advantages in terms of cost, noise control and construction cycle.  Recently, there have been many calls from the community for the use of SkyShuttle in Hong Kong.  The Government should consider it as an additional option for local public transport.  In addition, the “plant underground, park above ground” model adopted by the underground water purification plants that we visited is also suitable for Hong Kong, where land resources are limited, and has given the Government a whole new way of thinking about building a green and smart city while building sewage infrastructure.

Our visit to Dongguan also included a tour of the Jianyuzhou Cultural and Creative Park converted and revitalized from old buildings.  There were many “food trucks” with a modified cargo compartment, mainly for young people to start their own businesses or work part-time as stall operators.  Hong Kong also has a Food Truck Pilot Scheme, Deputy President.  But regrettably, not only do the kitchens inside the trucks have to meet the hygiene and fire and gas safety requirements, but the trucks are also subject to strict operational restrictions on their parking locations.  This has already “scared off” many entrepreneurs.  In the Mainland, the “entry threshold” for food trucks or stalls is relatively low, and these “compartment marketplaces”, full of cultural and artistic vibes as well as cooking aromas, are also flourishing in other Mainland cities.  They not only can satisfy the entrepreneurial, social and leisure needs of young people, but also offer unique and new consumer experiences to the public.  The Government has just launched the “Happy Hong Kong” activities, and this marketplace model is very much worthy of reference.  Therefore, measures to remove barriers and lift restrictions should be considered immediately.

During our visit to the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub, we had conversations with several young entrepreneurs and employees there, and learnt on-site about the various preferential policies, housing arrangements, support measures to foster creativity, etc. introduced by the local government, all of which have inspired young people to strive for progress.  The SAR Government should, in addition to continuing to work with Shenzhen to jointly build a base for innovation, entrepreneurship and employment, also draw reference and improve the entrepreneurship and employment policies for young people in Hong Kong, so as to provide them with more and greater room for development.

This joint visit of the executive authorities and the legislature has reopened channels of communication with various Mainland government agencies, with which I believe that consensus on cross-border cooperation projects can be reached better and faster, thus paving the way for future policy alignment and joint development of GBA.  The Government should “strike while the iron is hot”.  It should proactively take forward the various projects under discussion and play catch-up at full speed to close the gap, so as to truly achieve complementarity among GBA cities and realize the effect of “9 plus 2 equals more than 11”.

Deputy President, I so submit.