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HK govt seeks LegCo's assistance to address socio-economic issues | Updated: 2019-10-13 20:26
The Chinese national flags and flags of the Hong Kong SAR flutter in Hong Kong. [Photo/Xinhua]

Hong Kong's Chief Secretary for Administration, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, called on Sunday on the city's legislators to support the government's efforts in addressing the deep-seated social and economic problems that have fueled public discontent.

Such efforts will form the basis of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's Policy Address, scheduled to be presented before the Legislative Council on Wednesday, the city's No 2 official wrote in his weekly online blog.

LegCo will reopen next week following the completion of repair work on its building months after it was seriously vandalized by radical protesters on July 1.

A harmonious relationship between the executive branch and the legislature is key to effective administration, Cheung wrote, adding that government was striving to improve public benefits in a joint effort with lawmakers.

The new policy initiatives to be spelled out in the address will center on deep-rooted societal issues in a bid to improve people's livelihoods and bring the city forward from the protracted violence and chaos, Cheung wrote.

In his Sunday blog, Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po pledged to offer more measures to support enterprises and employees affected by the protracted unrest and the consequent economic depression.

On the same day, Hong Kong Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong hinted in his blog that the address will include some female-friendly measures covering employment, health and family relationships in these difficult times.

Elderly Commission Chairman Lam Ching-choi, who is also a nonofficial member of Hong Kong's Executive Council, said on Sunday that the address is also expected to include measures that will further alleviate the hardship of low-income groups.

Lam said he expects there will be an improvement to the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme and an increase in the Old Age Living Allowance.

Stanley Ng Chau-pei, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, the city's largest labor group, said he hopes the government will show more resolve in efforts to break up monopolies that have a major impact on people's livelihoods, especially those in land and housing.

Ng said that, in the long-run, such efforts will help control skyrocketing housing prices and improve people's quality of life.

He called for lawmakers' assistance in government endeavors. He said the opposition camp may intensify disruption of government-proposed bills, which may further slow the recovery of society. He called for all sectors to put aside political disputes and prioritize the well-being of all Hong Kong people.

Besides livelihood concerns, political wrangling still prevails in the city.

On Sunday, the Commissioner's Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region condemned United States senator Ted Cruz's remarks regarding Hong Kong's ongoing violent protests.

Such remarks had openly trampled upon international law and basic norms governing international relations, a spokesman for the office said.

During a brief visit to Hong Kong, Cruz accused Hong Kong police of using excessive force and alleged the Chinese government was deploying agents to cause violence. He also insisted that he had never heard or seen evidence of rioting, vandalism or mob attacks during the monthslong unrest in the city.

All Chinese people including Hong Kong compatriots were resolutely against provocations by lying politicians like Cruz and were rock-solid in defending national sovereignty and security along with Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, the spokesman said.

"We urge Cruz and his ilk to take off their black clothes and remove their black hand from Hong Kong affairs," the spokesman said. "China's territory is not somewhere they can run wild."

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