New election signals that HK is changing for the better

Upon reading John Lee Ka-chiu’s election manifesto for chief executive election 2022, released on April 29, and since his presence in a Q&A session online broadcast by radio and television the next day, I am convinced of a positive turnaround in Hong Kong when the new administration takes over on July 1.

The unprecedented months-long turmoil, which began in June 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which erupted in January 2020, are definitely unforgettable events in our life. While we cannot simply put the blame on the government for the pandemic, it is obvious that some mishaps could have been avoided had the government made effective risk assessments and put contingency plans in place in a timely manner. After suffering from all those difficulties, the majority of Hong Kong residents are looking for a change that will lead us to ultimately resume normality.

While we would have made a good guess that the housing issue is ranked No 1 in Lee’s election manifesto, it is a pleasant surprise to see “reopening the border” is among the major issues on the priority list. The unexpectedly long period of separation from families, relatives and friends due to quarantine measures has impacted many people. We were sorry to see the disarray and confusion in the hospitals and the dreadful mortality rate of the elderly during the fifth wave of the pandemic. Without a doubt, we would accept no reoccurrence of such mishaps in future. Having said that, we are pleased to note that in Lee’s election manifesto, strong emphasis is made on taking care of the well-being of the elderly and the youth through a results-oriented and solutions-driven approach, be that in the areas of housing, education or healthcare.

“United we stand, divided we fall” is an appropriate quote to describe our current status in Hong Kong, in particular at the government level. Hong Kong people had expected all government departments to perform their duties in an efficient and productive way. However, after going through all the hiccups and man-made disasters in the past two years, the performance of many government departments has proved to be inefficient, highlighting the urgent need for improvement in their communication and risk-management capabilities.

“Knowing our enemy” means knowing our weaknesses. Lee’s election manifesto has expressly admitted that fundamental changes through streamlining the procedures are crucial to enhancing the governance capability. We would not take this comment lightly as it is crystal clear that some government departments do require an overhaul.

Lee’s election manifesto and his elaboration on various occasions have convinced me that those policy proposals he has come up with are sound and workable — subject to further studying to map out the details. The changes he proposed are realistic and achievable. We as members of the Election Committee will vigorously execute our duty, and continue to monitor the performance of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government for the well-being of all Hong Kong residents.

The author is an Election Committee member and a founding member of Hong Kong Coalition.