The following is issued on behalf of the Housing Authority :
Following is the opening address by Mr Michael Suen Ming-yeung, Chairman of the Housing Authority, at the Annual Special Open Meeting of the Housing Authority today (June 12):
Members, fellow colleagues,
Thank you very much for attending the meeting today. It is an honour for me to assume the chairmanship of the Housing Authority and chair for the first time an annual special open meeting of the authority.
As the principal official in charge of implementing Hong Kong's housing policies, in November last year I set out the direction, philosophy and principles that will underpin the Government's policy of giving free rein to market forces in the future. In response, the authority has promptly repositioned its public housing policies and formulated relevant measures to support the housing strategies and direction of the Government.
The Government and the authority have been working together for years to meet challenges. On April 1 this year, the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands was appointed the Chairman of the authority. I believe this new arrangement will not only further strengthen co-operation between the authority and the Government, but it will also enable the authority to formulate and execute policies in a more co-ordinated, unimpeded and efficient manner. I also believe that the streamlining of the authority's committee structure will improve communication among members and enhance its efficiency.
For the past 30 years, the authority has made significant contributions to the development of Hong Kong's public housing. Housing assistance has been provided to millions of needy families, helping build a stable community. Past and present members have served the community in a selfless manner. I thank you all for your devotion to public housing affairs.
The road ahead for the authority is full of challenges. We must continue to explore the future role of the authority and look at ways to optimise the increasingly limited resources. I look forward to members' continued participation in the affairs of the authority and assistance in formulating future initiatives. Through meetings, brainstorming sessions and other gatherings, we will explore ways and means to overcome the challenges facing the authority.
With the outbreak of atypical pneumonia in the past few months, building maintenance and hygiene management have generated much public concern and discussion in the community. As Hong Kong is a densely populated city with half the population living in public housing, the Housing Department has a shared responsibility to help promote environmental hygiene. In fact, the department has already accorded top priority to this and put in place a series of measures to promote cleanliness and to enhance maintenance in public rental housing estates. While the success of these measures hinges on the efforts of the management, frontline staff and the residents, we should also do our best to help make Hong Kong a clean city.
As you are probably aware, our frontline estate management staff have been working around the clock to ensure the cleanliness of estates and to carry out the necessary repair and maintenance work. Enforcement action has also been strengthened to improve environmental hygiene in our estates. On behalf of members, I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to our colleagues for their unremitting efforts.
End/Thursday, June 12, 2003