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Carrie Lam delivers policy address by video amid heckling in Legco

17 October 2019

Stern-faced Chief Executive Carrie Lam pauses as opponents in Legco heckle her. 
 By The SUN

Embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam abandoned her speech in the Legislative Council on Wednesday, Oct 16, and resorted to delivery by video after opponents in legislature heckled her.

Lam’s 51-minute policy address was the first time in Hong Kong’s history that a leader used video to address the Legco because of unruly members.

She admitted she faced unprecedented challenges, but said she hoped the policy address would set Hong Kong back on track and help end the violent protests.
Fighting off tears at some points, Lam said Hong Kong was on the brink after four months of violent anti-government protests and urged various sectors including community leaders, experts and academics, to push 200 initiatives to help end the turmoil.

But none of Lam’s measures addressed protesters’ demands for universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into police's alleged abuse of power.

While Lam vowed to safeguard human rights, she said pushing for Hong Kong independence could not be tolerated and the city would adhere to its governing system of “one country, two systems”.
Among the initiatives were boosting land supply by invoking the Lands Resumption Ordinance more proactively, enabling the forceful resumption of 700 hectares of private land for public purposes, such as providing housing for 10,000 families. 

Lam said land seizure will involve three types of land. These include 450 hectares of brownfield land near new towns or main roads, such as in Yuen Long and Tuen Mun; land marked for public housing in existing zoning plans; and the three urban squatter villages in Ngau Chi Wan, Cha Kwo Ling and Chuk Yuen United.

Security officers hem in Carrie Lam as she arrives at the Legco on Wednesday morning.

The land resumption legislation envisions that “every Hong Kong citizen and his family will no longer have to be troubled by or preoccupied with the housing problem as they will be able to have their own home in the city”.

“What we can rely on now is the spirit of the rule of law, the freedom of expression and the unique advantage brought by the one country, two systems,” she said.
Hong Kong’s economy faces unprecedented challenges in the face of the US-China trade war and “violent acts in recent months” that had left the economy slipping into a technical recession since the third quarter as GDP shrank 0.5% quarter on quarter in the second quarter, according to Lam.

Citing the progressive rise in unemployment in the most affected retail, accommodation and catering services, Lam said her government will seek policy support from Beijing on tax perks and simplified procedures for firms seeking China expansion to create opportunities.

Lam said the government would offer a “one-off living subsidy” for low-income families who are not living in public rental flats or receiving welfare, such as the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, or CSSA. These include those on the queue for public housing.

Under the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme launched this year, subsidy for a commuter’s monthly public transport expenses that exceed $400 will rise to about 33% from 25%.

Lam suggested waiving tolls for tunnels, including the upcoming Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link Subsea Tunnel, the Lantau Link, the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel that will open in 2021 and the existing Tseung Kwan O Tunnel.

The measures Lam announced to boost the city’s supply of land and affordable housing targeted at least 10 sites that had already been identified and would be resumed at cheaper rates if developers did not formulate development plans by June next year.

The Chief Executive called on people across the political spectrum to put aside their differences and stop attacking each other, saying Hong Kong would soon be able to “emerge from the storm and embrace the rainbow”. 
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