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Tune in to Bilingual Editorial [Archive]


Bread-and-butter issues:
the political issue of the greatest importance
Publishing Date: 2017/11/10

雙語社評齊齊聽

英語 (足本收聽)

普通話 (足本收聽)

【明報專訊】CHIEF EXECUTIVE Carrie Lam has published her first policy address, in which she does away with ideological creeds such as "small government" and "non-intervention" and seeks to expand the functions of the government as well as increase public expenditures. There are not only welfare policies, the so-called "sweeteners", but also measures aimed at promoting long-term social developments. Hong Kong society is laden with deep-seated problems, and measures to enhance people's livelihood are no panacea — It is simply impossible to rely on them to solve political divisions. However, given the fact that Hong Kong's fiscal reserves now exceed $1 trillion and the government is flush with money, there is no reason why it should cease to be proactive and purposeful. It is a step in the right direction for the government to try to bring itself and the civil society together to rebuild the property ladder, increase housing supply, promote innovation and technology and improve the business environment. This, however, will inevitably entail the allocation of enormous interests, and as such will be prone to become something it is not supposed to be. The government must do a good job of enforcing the regulations and ensure the transparency of the implementation of the policies to prevent those profit-seekers to take advantage of the opportunity to rake in gains and create new social tensions.

ENG audio 1

In the policy address, more than 224 new measures have been proposed. These new measures not only provide an outline of the government's vision but also include some practical measures. What citizens are most concerned about is, no doubt, the problems of housing and transportation, especially a non-means-tested scheme to subsidise travel expenses. Some people are of the opinion that a subsidy of just $300 at most a month is paltry. However, to some working people, such a subsidy is still what they can benefit from. Furthermore, the subsidy is available to not only riders of the MTR but also users of public transportation systems such as buses, franchised mini-buses and ferries. This will prevent the criticism that the government is trying to drum up the ridership of the MTR.

ENG audio 2

In the policy address the government also tries to address some structural problems and strives to advance innovation and technology and implement the reform of the tax system. All this has to do with the diversification of industries and enhancement of competitiveness. Admittedly, the policy address does not touch on some deep-seated conflicts such as political reform and social mobility. The government has proposed to reopen the East Wing Forecourt of the government headquarters (known as the "Civil Square") as an olive branch. But its effect on healing political divisions will be limited.

ENG audio 3

Hong Kong's deep-seated conflicts have to do with not only politics but also the economy and people's livelihood. The political deadlock cannot be solved in the short term. So the focus is on enhancing people's livelihood. People have been unhappy for years for a number of reasons. However, the government's failure to tackle issues like housing and healthcare properly are definitely among those important factors that have aggravated people's discontent. No political issue is of greater importance than people's livelihood. Enhancing people's livelihood is definitely one of the ways to alleviate people's dissatisfaction.

ENG audio 4

Given what is happening globally, the government needs to be more proactive in order to advance social and economic development. It is not necessary to be held back by the ideological differences between "small government" and "big government". Without a shadow of a doubt, as the government expands its role and functions, there will be more that it can do. Not only is it understandable that the government has chosen to enhance its efficiency and work in tandem with the business community and the civil society, but there is also a practical need to do so. That said, the government must be prudent to ensure that its policies are fair and just, its resources are used properly, its execution of policies is efficient and smooth and it does not depart from its goals so as to prevent problem.

ENG audio 5

民生是最大的政治 官商合作慎防走樣

行政長官林鄭月娥發表首份施政報告,放下「小政府」、「不干預」等意識形態包袱,擴大政府角色職能,大灑金錢,既有短期惠民項目,亦有投資社會推動長遠發展的措施。香港深層次矛盾重重,改善民生並非萬靈丹,不足以化解政治撕裂,然而政府財政儲備逾萬億港元,銀彈充裕,沒理由放棄積極作為。政府試圖凝聚官民力量,重建置業階梯增加房屋供應,推動創科改善營商環境,方向正確,惟亦無可避免牽涉到巨大利益分配,容易變調走樣,政府必須做好規管,確保政策落實公開透明,提防鑽營者趁機漁利,製造新的社會矛盾。

PTH audio 1

今次施政報告提出逾224項新措施,除了勾勒願景藍圖,亦不乏一些具體落實措施。市民最關心的,當然是最切身的房屋和交通問題,特別是政府的免入息審查交通費補貼。有人認為,區區每月最多300元的補貼,是小恩小惠,不過對於一些基層打工族來說,有關補貼始終是實惠的幫補,而且補貼不止適用於港鐵,亦適用於巴士、專營小巴和渡輪等交通工具,也可避免惹來偏幫港鐵助其生意的批評。

PTH audio 2

報告亦嘗試觸及一些結構性的問題,大力推動創科和改革稅制,均與經濟產業多元化和提升競爭力息息相關。無可否認,報告並未觸及本港一些深層次矛盾,諸如政改和階層流動等問題。當局提出今年底盡快重開俗稱「公民廣場」的政府總部東翼前地,是釋出善意的重要姿態,不過對於修補政治撕裂,效果始終有限。

PTH audio 3

香港的深層次矛盾,既有政治部分,亦有經濟民生部分,眼前的政治死結短期難望突破,唯有聚焦改善民生。市民怨氣累積多年,原因不一而足,惟政府處理房屋、醫療等民生事務不當,肯定是加深市民不滿的重要因素。民生是最大的政治,努力改善民生,是減少民間怨氣的方法之一。

PTH audio 4

環顧世界大勢,今時今日要推動社會和經濟發展,政府必須更加積極進取,應做就做,沒必要拘泥於小政府還是大政府一類意識形態教條。當然,隨茯F府擴大角色職能,要做的事情更多,提高政府辦事能力、加強發動商界和民間力量協作,不僅是很自然的選擇,亦有實際需要,然而政府必須審慎而為,確保政策公平公道、資源用得其所、執行高效順暢、目標沒有偏離,避免衍生流弊。

PTH audio 5

明報社評2017.10.12

Presented by lecturers of Hong Kong Community College, PolyU and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Ms CHAN, Zoe Ka-ling
Lecturer
www.hkcc-polyu.edu.hk/staff_directory/language_communication/CHAN,_Zoe_Ka-ling-82.html

王翔
講師
www.hkcc-polyu.edu.hk/staff_directory/language_communication/WANG,_Iris_Xiang-342.html

【Bilingual Editorial】

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