Hong Kong – Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo (with video)

Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo (with video)

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     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, at a media session before the Executive Council (ExCo) meeting today (November 15):


 


Reporter: On the national anthem mistake in South Korea, because there’s another game in Dubai next month, how can the Government make sure the same mistake won’t happen again? And are there any new measures to prevent that? About the MTR accident which occurred at Yau Ma Tei Station, because two similar accidents have already happened within a year, how will the Government better monitor the corporation (MTR Corporation) to further ensure passenger safety? Thank you.


 


Chief Executive: First of all, I have made my statement very clear yesterday (November 14) when I met the media in response to the incident about not playing our national anthem at the match, particularly when the song that was played was closely connected to the 2019 violence and disturbances and advocacy for Hong Kong’s independence. We will deal with that case as I have mentioned. As regards how in the future we will respond to a situation where our national anthem is not properly played, of course, we will be examining with the relevant bodies as to how a better response can be made. In fact, it is the organiser’s responsibility to ensure that all things are run properly, and this, of course, includes the playing of national anthem of any teams who have won the match. It is the responsibility of the organisers. We will do our best to assist the organisers to fulfil their obligation. But it’s important when mistakes are made, when problems arise, we point those problems out and there is a good investigation to know what actually happened so that we will deal with the situation accordingly. I will ask CSTB (Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau) to look into this matter, together with the sporting community and the organisations, so as to find a way to ensure that improvement can be made in this area.


 


     (On the MTR incident) I’m very concerned about the operational safety of MTR because it takes care of the majority of our commuters every day. I think the Secretary for Transport and Logistics has made it very clear that safety is the number one priority and there will be a good monitoring system. What we want utmost is, first of all, the company itself to have a good self-monitoring system so that the operational safety is maintained at a very high standard. The Government, of course, has the responsibility to monitor the performance, look at the investigative reports and ensure that anything that needs to be properly addressed will be handled appropriately. There is a system which will deal with, not just the operating safety, but also punishment in case MTR fails to fulfil its obligation.


 


     We are also mounting a consultation exercise in connection with how the MTR fares should be considered, so we can also deal with the issues collectively in the consultation exercise.


 


(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)


Hong Kong – Transcript of remarks by STL on Policy Address initiatives at media session

Transcript of remarks by STL on Policy Address initiatives at media session

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     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Transport and Logistics, Mr Lam Sai-hung, at a media session after attending a radio programme to elaborate on the initiatives in “The Chief Executive’s 2022 Policy Address” this morning (October 24):

 

Reporter: The Government has put forward a plan in 2014 for the East Kowloon MTR Line but this time the Policy Address didn’t address this project. How is the status of this project? Has it been put on hold or what concerns does the Government have? 

 

Secretary for Transport and Logistics: In the Railway Development Strategy 2014, we proposed the East Kowloon Line. At that time, it was a heavy rail system. Yet, when we explored further, we found that the rate that the railway climbs has to be a limit and this will result in a very deep station. That will become very costly. Also, the overall transport performance will diminish because of the inconvenience for passengers to travel from ground level down to the station. That is why we explore an alternative, which we call the Elevated Trackless Rapid Transit System, to replace the original heavy rail system. Allow some time for the Government to do some further study. We expect to have the outcome in the first half of next year and we will roll out the proposal for discussion with the public.

 

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Hong Kong – Transcript of remarks by SLW on Policy Address initiatives at media session

Transcript of remarks by SLW on Policy Address initiatives at media session

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     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Chris Sun, after attending a radio programme to elaborate on initiatives in “The Chief Executive’s 2022 Policy Address” this morning (October 21):

 

Reporter: Mr Sun, on the scheme to hire overseas care workers for residential care homes, when can we expect the details of the scheme to be finalised, and also when can the first batch of workers arrive?

 

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: On the importation of care workers for residential care homes, we are right now knocking out the exact detail of the special scheme. We hope we will be able to share with the public very soon about how we are going to relax the ratio control, to what extent we are going to expand the scheme. Our aim is to cover all residential care homes and also the exact proposal to speed up the whole process of application, vetting and approval.

 

     Right now, as you might recall, earlier in the year, in the light of the fifth wave of epidemic, we have introduced a one-off special scheme allowing all residential care homes to import a limited number of care workers under the Supplementary Labour Scheme to help them. The end result of that scheme is about 3 000 applications and we have approved them all already. These some 3 000 quota would be good for two years, that should be enough to cater for their needs in the coming year and a bit beyond. This would allow us a bit of time to knock out and then implement the exact detail of the special scheme to meet the medium to long-term need of residential care homes. 

 

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Hong Kong – Transcript of remarks by FS after Ante Chamber exchange session (with photo/video)

Transcript of remarks by FS after Ante Chamber exchange session (with photo/video)

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     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, at a media session after attending the Ante Chamber exchange session this morning (October 5):

 

Reporter: To maintain Hong Kong’s competitiveness, and also to speed up the recovery of the Hong Kong economy, does the Government have any plans? Thank you.

 

Financial Secretary: Hong Kong, being a small and open economy, is subject to the impact of a number of factors, particularly external factors. Lately, the external environment has not been very positive. Given rising inflation, interest rate hikes will keep on going; and that the monetary policies of major central banks are tightening, their negative impacts are affecting the global economy.

 

     The geopolitical situation is also challenging. No matter it is the Russia-Ukraine conflict or other geopolitical concerns, they are still lingering. It is affecting the supply chain. The supply chain has also been affected by the continuing COVID situation. So you know, the external environment is not positive, and that has impacted on our exports. Our interest rate has also gone up, affecting the borrowing costs of businesses and our private consumption. External factors are also causing volatility in the financial markets. Unavoidably, our financial market has also been affected.

 

     Locally, in Hong Kong, asset prices have been depressed, both property prices and stock prices. So the short-term outlook of the Hong Kong economy is not positive at all. This year, we will unavoidably record a negative growth. The outlook of our economy in the coming year, 2023, is still pretty challenging, given the continuing headwinds in the external market. But for ourselves, in the medium to long term, I remain very positive given the continuing development of our country, in particular the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development.  And that our Government will take a more proactive attitude to adopt bold measures to stimulate our economic development and provide new economic impetus.

 

     In about two weeks’ time, the Chief Executive will give his first Policy Address. In attracting investments, business talents and facilitating market development, there will be bold measures.

 

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Hong Kong – Transcript of remarks by CE at media session (with video)

Transcript of remarks by CE at media session (with video)

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     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, at a media session after attending the 2022 Policy Address District Forum today (August 27):

 

Reporter: Is the situation affecting the plan on opening the border with the Mainland? Will it be discussed in the upcoming trip? And what’s the status about the border reopening? And to what extent the Government would tighten social distancing measures and is there a possibility to impose more limitations for quarantine for incoming travellers? Thank you.

 

Chief Executive: I am very conscious of the need of maintaining connectivity with both the Mainland and the international world, that is why I have cancelled the circuit-breaker system and also I have introduced the “3+4” solution to people who come to Hong Kong through the airport. One important thing is we have to ensure that the COVID situation is under control so that the high-risk people, particularly the very old and very young, will be protected from the threat to their health and safety. I also have to ensure that the public health system is well protected, so that people who need the medical service will not be affected too seriously. In actual fact, about 20 to 30 per cent of the public (health) service has been cut in order to deal with the COVID situation.

 

     I will be trying to maximise the possibility of activities that society need to have and the economic activities that Hong Kong need to have, to ensure that we will continue to be competitive. But at the same time you have to appreciate that I have to ensure that the public health is maintained. So the short answer to your question is, as I manage to ensure the public health system can function to deal with the threat of the epidemic, and there is a good protection of the high-risk group, then my strategy is to allow society to have their social, economic and normal activities as much as possible. On this basis, what we can all do together, is to co-operate with the measures of the Government so as to deal with this epidemic, in a way that we can satisfy the two principles that I have earlier mentioned: protecting the high-risk group and also ensuring the public health system can function. If those two factors are well controlled, then there is room for us to allow activities to go about as much as possible. In order to achieve that, everyone has to play their part because fighting the epidemic is the responsibility and the concern of everybody. I need everybody to work in that direction. I hope that if we can all work together and (cope with) the Government’s strategy of doing precision measures in accordance with risks, then there is no need for us to do extra work in extra measures about social distancing.

 

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)