Speech – Formulating Long-term Infrastructure Planning to Promote Sustainable Development (Andrew Leung)

President, I am very grateful to Ir Dr LO Wai-kwok for proposing this motion yesterday. Now that the world economy is showing signs of recovery, but with severe competition from nearby countries, I believe we must develop our infrastructure, invest in the future, develop the economy and improve people’s living before we can achieve an edge in our competition with other cities in future.

We can see that Hong Kong has completed a number of major infrastructure projects. Examples are the “Rose Garden Project” before the reunification, the airport at Chek Lap Kok, the railway networks, the West Kowloon reclamation and such like projects that are called Ten Major Infrastructure Projects. These projects have brought great benefits to the economy and people’s life. Besides, the Government has built a number of new towns to increases direct the number of flats in both the public and private sectors as well as Home Ownership Scheme flats. This has brought about favourable effects to the labour force and the economy and also the economic development of new development areas.

Last weekend I read from the newspaper an article which is captioned to this effect: “Kaoshiung in a $7.9 billion facelift to become Hong Kong’s rival”. It is about the Taiwanese city Kaohsiung which injects a huge sum of NT$ 30 billion to develop itself into an Asia New Bay Area ― that is, an international city with foci on convention and exhibition, tourism and culture. Kaohsiung used to be one of the five largest container ports in the world and it could be said that the container terminals were its lifeline. However, owing to the rapid development of the container terminals in nearby cities in the last 10 years, Kaohsiung fell out of the ranks of the 10 largest container terminals in the world. Hence the Kaohsiung Government wants to take action swiftly to push infrastructure development.

President, I am not trying to underestimate our capabilities, for we are sure that if Hong Kong can speed up its infrastructure development, it will definitely become the most remarkable city in the world, or even surpass our rival Singapore. But the time taken for the completion of our infrastructure projects in recent years makes me feel worried. We in the industrial sector have always hoped that the Government can have the vision to look into the future and do a good job of leading the sustainable development of Hong Kong. We urge the Government to build more hardware facilities such as the fourth industrial park, the third phase of the technology park, and so on. Also, the matching facilities for the Eco-Park should be upgraded so that it can meet the needs of the industrial sector. We always talk about sustainable development, and the green industries are an important part of sustainable development.

Yesterday, Ir Dr LO Wai-kwok mentioned that in the recovery, recycling and low-carbon sectors of the green economy, there is still a need for the Government to undertake a large amount of infrastructure projects and taking up the leadership role. Recycling yards need a large area and if we are to develop the recycling industry, the Government should consider providing suitable land for the industry. Such land can be found near the public cargo working areas, whereas more lands in the urban areas should be set aside to support the logistics needs of the industry. More importantly, the Government should appreciate the industry’s hope that more land can be leased to the industry for recycling operations. We do not just engage in low value-added activities like recovery and separation of waste. We hope that the wastes can be turned into useful materials and recycled into products. In order to undertake this kind of high value-added activities, the Government should provide support in the form of recovery parks and industrial estates, as well as suitable land. These will enable the steady development of this industry.

President, the Mainland is taking active steps in technological research. Last year, the SAR Government mentioned the great importance it attached to innovative technology because it is crucial to the development of the economy and the industries. Therefore, it focuses on links in industries with an advantage and gives software support to them. And collaboration between government departments, industries, the academia and research institutes is fostered and co-operation with the Mainland enhanced. I hope the Government will realize that if the results of technological research are to be turned into industrial use, the hardware ancillaries are the key to success. The Federation of Hong Kong Industries has tried to fight for a new industrial area in New Territories North where the local industries can co-operate with the Mainland. The focus is to be placed on the development of high value-added technology and products. But no progress has been made to date.

Now Shenzhen is developing at full steam the Qianhai area which is a site of 15 sq km in area. In Shanghai, the free trade zone was listed at the end of last month. The site has an area of 29 sq km and it is aimed at launching reforms in such aspects as functions of the local government, the financial system, trade services, investments by foreign businessmen and taxation policies. All these are aimed at driving vigorously the development of the re-export and offshore business of Shanghai.

The Mainland tries to develop high value-added infrastructure on large plots of land. Although Hong Kong has got little land, we should try our best to catch up and put our focus on removing the obstacles in policies and improve the uses of idling land lots in the urban areas. The Energizing Kowloon East project led by Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie LAM began its work only last year, but in order to develop a new core business district, I am sure the people of Hong Kong will lend their support to the work. I think the obstacles in government policies should be removed and the business sector should be encouraged to play an active role, and efforts to improve and implement this Energizing Kowloon East project should be taken.

In addition, we always say that the Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area can provide commercial and high value-added industrial land for Hong Kong. I hope that the Government can speed up the work in this aspect.

Lastly, I wish to point out that tourism infrastructure is also very important and some Honourable colleagues have talked about the third runway earlier. We can see that there are not many tourist spots in Hong Kong and places like Sentosa and Marina Bay in Singapore, Johor Bahru in Malaysia, and so on, have built new scenic spots. We hope that the Government can build more matching infrastructure facilities in North and South Lantau as well as shopping facilities at the landing point of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
President, I am from the business sector and as businessmen, we value time and as time and tide will wait for no one, an opportunity slipped away will mean money wasted.
With these remarks, I support Ir Dr LO Wai-kwok’s motion.


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