Lawmakers give CE thumbs up for policy address

Legislators hailed Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s policy address on Wednesday, with New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip describing it as far-sighted and high quality.

Ip said the proposal to create a Northern Metropolis is a “grand vision” which will bring substantial, long term benefits to Hong Kong.

She said the government should cooperate with the private sector to fund the project.

“The government has not put a price tag on the development. I think it can be done through public-private partnership,” she said.

“The government could set up a special purpose vehicle, in other words, a corporation to invite private sector participation to finance this project rather than as an expenditure item on our budget.”

Liberal Party lawmaker Tommy Cheung also backed the Northern Metropolis plan, saying it is good that more economic activities and jobs will be created in the northern part of Hong Kong.

“A lot of housing for people in the next twenty years and a lot of jobs will be moved to this part. It is something that we like to see. We don’t want it to be centralising in Central, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay. That would not help small businesses,” he said.

DAB lawmaker Elizabeth Quat welcomed the government’s plan to move forward with work on Article 23 national security legislation, saying this should be done as soon as possible.

Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Alice Mak, meanwhile, said she hoped the government would get cracking on all its plans as soon as possible. But she said as Hong Kong enters a new era, the authorities must make sure they don’t leave grassroots residents behind.