Transcript of remarks by CE at a media session in Singapore (with photos/videos)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, at a media session after visiting GovTech Hive in Singapore today (August 3):
Chief Executive: I have visited several agencies today in my second day in Singapore. I went to a very familiar agency, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), because I've been interacting with the URA in Singapore when I was the Secretary for Development responsible for land and planning and urban regeneration. So this visit really is to get an update from Singapore's URA on their land use development, especially their planning for Jurong Lake District as the second CBD for Singapore, which in a way reminds me of the work I did as the Secretary for Development in turning Kowloon East into a second CBD for Hong Kong.
     Then I went to the Civil Service College. Again, I visited the Civil Service College five years ago, and the reason why I came again is, for this term of Government, I really want us to explore in Hong Kong the setting up of a dedicated civil service academy or college, whichever way we call it, in order to provide more training for our civil servants, especially in several areas like leadership, like public participation, and also in terms of the application and use of technology. So this is now still at a very preliminary conceptual stage, but I already had a discussion with my Secretary for the Civil Service and we feel that with a 170,000-strong civil service, we do deserve and warrant a more well-resourced civil service college in Hong Kong. And then I had lunch with my good friend the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Teo Chee Hean, and some of my former contacts in Singapore, and then I came here, which is to me a new experience. This is the GovTech Hive, which helps the agencies and departments to scale up their technology path to use more technology, data, digitalisation in the provision of public services. So I have picked these three points of visit because of my own vision for what I want to do back in Hong Kong. So, thereafter I'll be going to Istana to meet with the Prime Minister and Emeritus Senior Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong.
Reporter:  How would you characterise the current state of technology co-operation between Singapore and Hong Kong, and what aspects of this relationship can be further developed going forward?
Chief Executive:  One of the purposes of my coming to Singapore and visiting the GovTech Hive is really to identify more opportunities for learning, exchange and collaboration. We have a similar set-up in Hong Kong in charge of information and technology, and as some of you will know, in late 2015 the Hong Kong SAR Government actually set up a new bureau, called the Innovation and Technology Bureau. I'm not a tech expert but I do feel that if we want to continue to stay competitive and to become a smart city, there is a huge potential for wider application on technologies. So I look forward to more exchanges and collaboration between Hong Kong and Singapore.
Reporter: Mrs Lam, you mentioned earlier that it's very difficult for the government to overcome the difficulties in embracing new technology and the sharing of data. So do you have any new insight after visiting the Hive? And my second question is you mentioned about the academy, can you tell us more about that? Do you have any timetable for that? And do you think there is a growing need for such an academy because of the city is getting more polarised?
Chief Executive: Application and use of technology in my view does not have a lot to do with politics or polarisation in society. I think it's rather for the purpose of staying competitive and to improve the delivery of public services to our citizens, there is always a room for doing more in advancement of technologies. And that’s why the Hong Kong SAR Government has set up a new bureau, Innovation and Technology Bureau, in late 2015. I am not criticising my own civil service colleagues when I made that comment, but you will understand that in any institution which has been well-established for many years and doing things in the same manner for many years, especially when we are sort of subject to some resource constraints and so on, it's not easy to think out of the box and to try new ways. So, we do need some sort of disruptions, if you call it that way, to stimulate my colleagues to really think in a more innovative way.
     In my style of governance, I have said that we need to be more innovative, more interactive and also more accountable, and that's the reason why I feel that we could do more in the use of technology. As far as the civil service college is concerned, that's really because I feel that of the 170,000 civil servants, given the many demands that they are now facing, as the management, we have a duty to provide them with more training, both in terms of skills and also in terms of exposure and experience. So, the experience I have had with the Singapore Civil Service College is a very enlightening one. So, I hope that in this term of the government, we could make some real progress in creating a civil service college for Hong Kong.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Thursday, August 3, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:29