Carrie Lam determined to tackle high cost of housing in Hong Kong

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

HONG KONG: Hong Kong-leader elect Carrie Lam said she was “very determined” to tackle the high cost of housing in the densely populated city, among the top concerns of foreign business people working there.

Lam, the Chinese-controlled financial hub’s former chief secretary, was chosen on Sunday by a 1,200-person committee to lead the city, pledging in her victory speech to unite political divisions, illustrated by huge pro-democracy protests in 2014, that have hindered policy-making and legislative work.

Speaking at a Credit Suisse investment conference in Hong Kong, Beijing-backed Lam also said the former British colony faces tough competition from the region and also from mainland Chinese cities which are “becoming very powerful”. The cost of housing is one of Hong Kong’s biggest social issues and making homes more affordable was among outgoing leader Leung Chun-ying’s top priorities, something he failed to achieve.

Lam said land and labour were two “major bottlenecks” for Hong Kong’s development. Lam also pledged during her campaign to tackle the problem by increasing land supply. Hong Kong police on Monday charged nine organisers of the 2014 demonstrations, just a day after Lam was chosen, provoking anger among protesters after she had vowed to try to unite society.

Since those protests, there have also been some calls for independence in the city which operates under a “one country, two systems” formula, allowing it freedoms not enjoyed on the Communist Party-ruled mainland. Lam said if the city started to argue about whether it should become independent, then “we have no common basis to start this common journey to give Hong Kong a better future”.

The next few months will be critical for Leung and Lam, with Chinese President Xi Jinping expected to pay a visit on 1 July to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British rule, with large protests expected.

Source by: Internet

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