英文

Editorial : Tear down old walls and rebuild new HK

【明報專訊】THE INCUMBENT GOVERNMENT will deliver its last policy address today (October 6). Two main focuses will be on dealing with the land and housing issue and Hong Kong's integration into the bigger picture of national development. Thanks to the dramatic changes in Hong Kong's political situation over the past two years, the original setting of the city's system is already gone. To plan vital reconstruction after the radical destruction, what the city needs is policies, determination and actions. One should not indulge in empty talk or be content with personal good feelings simply because of the city's return to a stable condition now. Whether the new policy address is prescribing the right remedy is something that needs to be examined from the perspective of tearing down old walls and rebuilding the new city. The authorities have to be far-sighted when dealing with the sore points here and now, trying their best to achieve immediate results. Merely having a grand but empty blueprint is not enough to achieve big results. Be it the waiting time for public rental housing, the streamlining of the procedures for developing land or the development of the northern New Territories, the authorities must set clear targets and concrete timetables for implementation.

Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor mentioned that the last policy address of the incumbent government will "focus on the future" and give a summary of the work it has done. Earlier, she said that of the more than 900 measures announced in the last four policy addresses, "only a few could not be accomplished". Therefore, the effectiveness of her governance "could not be said as bad". However, to examine the effectiveness of governance, the real key is not how many pieces of work the officials have done, but whether targets have been met and desirable results have been achieved through their work. Given the seriousness of deep-seated conflicts in Hong Kong society, a large bundle of measures that are actually merely patchy fixes do not help solve the age-old problems about people's livelihood at all.

In retrospect of the government's work over the past few years, from the launching of the life annuity scheme to the adoption of the waste-charging law, although the tasks have been done, there has been a considerable gap between the outcomes and the expectations. Some measures have met with only a lukewarm response from the citizens. Some measures have been in limbo, and not even the time for implementation has been set. Even if we do not mention the broken promise on abolishing the MPF offsetting arrangement, the authorities' performance regarding land creation and housing construction has been far from satisfactory. The waiting time for public rental housing has increased continuously to an average of 5.8 years now. The government announced in the policy address last year that 330 hectares of land had been identified, which would meet the demand for building 316,000 public housing units in the coming 10 years and would thus fulfil for the first time the target set in the Long Term Housing Strategy and so forth. However, figures revealed by the Housing Authority and the Housing Society several months ago on housing production show that the actual number of public housing units built this year is only 10,000 or more, the lowest level in six years. It was projected that only around 100,000 units can be built in the next five years, inviting doubts about whether the target of building 310,000 units in 10 years can really be achieved.

Solving the housing problem and integrating the city into the bigger picture of national development are, to a certain extent, two uncompromisable tasks that the SAR government must work on. The continuity of the policies concerned is not supposed to be affected much by the change of administrations. An enterprising government should set clear and ambitious targets and then carry out the tasks vigorously. Only then can it tear down old walls and rebuild the new Hong Kong.

明報社評2021.10.06:施政必須大破大立倒逼求進立軍令狀

現屆政府最後一份《施政報告》今天出爐,處理土地房屋問題,以及融入國家發展大局,是報告兩大焦點。過去兩年多,香港政治形勢劇變,原來的格局一去不返,大破過後謀大立,需要的是政策、決心和行動,不能紙上談兵,更不能因為眼前局面回穩,便自我感覺良好。新一份《施政報告》有否對症下藥,需要放在大破大立這一框架下檢視,當局既要放眼長遠高瞻遠矚,同時亦要處理眼前痛點,力求立竿見影。空有恢宏藍圖不足以成大事,無論公屋輪候時間、精簡土地開發流程,還是新界北發展等,當局都應該訂下清晰目標和具體推進時間表。

作為今屆政府最後一份《施政報告》,林鄭表示會「聚焦未來」,同時亦會總結本屆政府工作。林鄭早前稱,盤點過去4年《施政報告》合共900多項措施,「只有數項無法完成」,認為施政成效「不算差」,然而檢視施政成效,真正關鍵不在官員做了多少事,而是所做的事能否達至目標、取得理想效果。香港社會深層次矛盾嚴重,一大堆措施,倘若只是小修小補,根本無助解決民生積弊。

回顧過去數年,由年金設立到垃圾徵費立法,政府事情是辦了,可是跟預期卻頗有出入,要麼市民反應平平,要麼措施半吊子,連落實日期亦待定。且不說取消強積金對冲制度「走數」,當局在造地建屋方面的成績亦難言理想,公屋輪候時間愈來愈長,平均要等5.8年。去年《施政報告》宣布,已覓得330公頃土地,可滿足未來10年興建31.6萬個公營房屋單位的需要,首次做到《長遠房屋策略》的目標,云云,然而房委會和房協數月前公布的建屋數字卻顯示,今年公營房屋實質建屋量乃是6年新低,只得萬多伙,預計未來5年建屋量只有10萬伙左右,能否做到10年建屋31萬,叫人懷疑。

解決房屋問題和融入國家發展大局,某程度已是特區政府的硬任務,即使換屆相信也不會太影響相關政策的延續性。一個有為的政府,施政應該定下清晰、進取的目標,然後雷厲風行去做,這樣才是大破大立。

■Glossary

生字

effectiveness : the fact of producing the result that is wanted or intended; the fact of producing a successful result

deep-seated : very fixed and strong; difficult to change or to destroy

enterprising : having or showing the ability to think of new projects or new ways of doing things and make them successful

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