Transcript of CE's press conference on Policy Address (with photos/video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the press conference on the 2017 Policy Address at Central Government Offices, Tamar, this afternoon (January 18):

Reporter: Four years ago, before Donald Tsang's tenure ended, he said he wanted people to remember him as a good official, as a Hong Kong boy. In the last four years we've seen so many social and political divisions, so what do you think will be your legacy? How do you want Hong Kong people to remember you, and should your successor continue with your direction, the so-called "梁振英路線" in Cantonese? Thank you.
Chief Executive: In my Election Manifesto and throughout the past four and a half years, we have ploughed in a great deal of efforts to improving the livelihood of the people by drawing on the forces of economic development. We also have protecting the environment high on our agenda. We want to look after the underprivileged in Hong Kong and the elderly and so on. I don't want to create any legacy, but I think it would be useful for everyone to actually go through the Policy Addresses of the past five years, including this one, and ask ourselves whether or not these are the right policies and measures that people in Hong Kong need, aspire to have.
     And let me just raise one example. In the past five years, we are now spending, or this year we are spending compared to the situation five years ago, on welfare matters 55 per cent more. Now, is it needed? I think so. I think probably could do more going forward. So, answering the last part of your question, yes, after I step down, speaking as a Hong Kong person, I will like, although I'm just one of 7 million, I will like the new Government to continue to look after the underprivileged, particularly the elderly, to spend more on healthcare, to plough ahead on the basis of what we have done in this term and, on the land that we will have made available by that time, to build more housing, particularly subsidised housing.
Reporter: Mr Leung, do you think less than $3,500 a month for an asset limit of $140,000 for such an elderly subsidy, is that already enough to help the needy? Would a lot of needy people still be left out in any subsidy scheme? And, on West Kowloon, there are already some lawmakers and cultural commentators calling this, that your award of the development rights to the authority, is making the project a property development project. How can you convince the public that you are not trying to dodge the scrutiny of the Legislative Council and that this is really not a property development project, that you are not awarding the business sector or the property developers something more? Thank you.
Chief Executive: The arts and culture facilities are now appearing on the ground. We can all go to West Kowloon to see what's being built there. These are arts and culture facilities, including the one that was recently announced, the Palace Museum. So it's an arts and culture facility, but we need, because it is quite a large district and therefore we need, ancillary facilities including hotels. And the award of the development rights to developers would be subject to the usual scrutiny of Government - similar scrutiny as Government uses or other public bodies, for that matter, use to award land and development rights.
     The payment that you mentioned is just one of the pillars that we use to support the elderly. I just reported in my Policy Address the lowering, and this is one example, the lowering of the eligible age to receive medical voucher from 70 to 65, and this is just one of the examples to support the elderly in Hong Kong. It is useful for us to take a comprehensive view on all the support measures that we have in place for the elderly and not just one of the pillars or one of the measures. Thank you all very much.

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

Ends/Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:03