Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo (with video)
Reporter: Hello, Mr Lee. First question, the Hang Seng (Index) closed yesterday at its weakest level since 2009, during the global financial crisis, and also dipped after your Policy Address. Analysts pointed to the Politburo shuffle and your ongoing commitment to zero-COVID policies. Do you agree? If not, what is to blame? Last week a PORI (Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute) poll among Hongkongers gave your first 100 days in office a 30 per cent approval rating. Your Policy Address received a similarly low rating. Why do you think these figures are not higher among the public?
Chief Executive: First of all, I think everybody knows that the global economic situation is in uncertainty, and there are many factors affecting the outlook for economies around the world. It is important that we all pay close attention to the development of the economic market. What is important here for the Government is to ensure that our systems run smoothly and effectively. We have been monitoring the situation closely. Yes, volatility will be high, but our long-tested systems and response system are in operation all the time. We have a strong response plan for different contingencies. Our monitoring of situation indicates that market activities have continued to go on in an orderly and smooth manner. This is a very important thing for the Hong Kong Government. I would suggest investors to monitor the situation closely, assess the risks and make careful decisions according to their own position. The Government is very confident that the systems we have in Hong Kong are effective, resilient, and we will be monitoring the situation so that we will ensure market order and market transactions will go on in accordance with what we expect.
In regard to opinions about the performance of the Government, of course, all comments or commentaries about government performance will be considered by me. I also note there are many positive comments about the performance of the Government and also some of the measures we have suggested in the Policy Address. As I have mentioned in the beginning of my Chinese speech, people are very keen, particularly those who are living in subdivided flats, to see how they can have a chance to move in our Light Public Housing, which will immediately, or very quickly, help them to get away from the very undesirable living conditions they are facing every day. And there are also people who are very positive with the recommended measures such as attracting talents from overseas, some are very interested to know whether they are also beneficiaries in this for those who are now abroad.
And of course there are very strong supportive comments of developing Hong Kong into a technology and innovation hub. We will work very hard to ensure that all we have promised to do will be delivered. My team has been working hard to explain the different measures to society. So far, I am pleased to see that in general, there have been positive feedbacks and of course, the demands are high for the Government, so we will deliver what we have said we will do.
Reporter: Good morning. According to a source, the quarantine facilities in the Lok Ma Chau Loop will be handed over to the Security Bureau for the "reverse quarantine" scheme. Is this information reliable? What is the progress of the discussion between Hong Kong and the Mainland at this stage? Thank you.
Chief Executive: There are always work plans for the Government so as to make preparation for all eventualities. I wouldn't comment on internal arrangements, but what is important, I think, for people to notice, for the pre-quarantine arrangement that we intend to agree with the Mainland authorities, is that it is an arrangement which is done for the first time. There are standards, which we need to meet, so that it will satisfy the Mainland authorities' quarantine requirement, because there will be little point for us to design something, which eventually will not be regarded as satisfying the Mainland authorities' standard.
There are many issues to be discussed and ironed out, although both sides are very active in our discussion of the matter. But as I have explained earlier, a lot of the discussion issues take time to reach agreement. What is the most important is, also to bear in mind, that whatever we do, we should not be creating extra risks to our Mainland counterparts, especially when the COVID situation is also a concern in the Mainland.
What we will do is, we will work hard to try to work out solutions in respect of different issues. It will take time but we will be working in our full speed. And so far, there is a common intention to see how we can overcome all the issues involved. Thank you very much.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Issued at HKT 13:55
Issued at HKT 13:55
Audio / Video
CE meets the media