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Saturday, December 17, 2016, 00:23

Ip vows to be more proactive on economy if elected

By Luis Liu

HONG KONG - Chief Executive election contender Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee cautioned on Friday that the Hong Kong government should take more proactive stand on fiscal and economic policies.

She made the remark after announcing her election manifesto on Thursday.

Blasting the SAR government’s current fiscal policy of being “conservative”, Ip said the city needs to adjust its policy in accordance with the economic momentum.

According to the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall follow the principle of keeping the expenditure within the limits of revenues in drawing up its budget, and strive to achieve a fiscal balance, avoid deficits and keep the budget commensurate with the growth rate of its GDP.

Ip said whoever governs Hong Kong should comprehend that avoiding deficits does not necessarily mean the city must never borrow money. She said she will use the city’s reserve to solve some of Hong Kong’s deep-rooted issues if elected, instead of offering one-off relief measures in every budget.

Meanwhile, indicating an inclusive approach, Ip said she will select people from a wide political spectrum for her cabinet if elected.

Currently, Hong Kong’s opposition acts with a radical approach, Ip said. She welcomed “loyal opposition”, which pays allegiance to the SAR and upholds the Basic Law, to join the government.

By taking this step, Ip hoped the opposition camp can drop its uncooperative behavior and radicalism and act more responsibly in tackling social issues.

Known as Hong Kong’s “Iron Lady”, Ip joined the city’s government in the 1970s and became the first woman to be appointed as secretary for security, the post which heads the disciplinary service in Hong Kong.

During her time in office, Ip promoted the national security legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law in 2003. However she faced a massive protest and the government withdrew the proposed legislation. Ip resigned from office afterward, citing personal reasons.

In the Legislative Council election this September, Ip was re-elected in the Hong Kong Island geographical constituency. She was the lawmaker from the constituency with the most votes – more than 60,000, accounting for 16 percent of the total.

luisliu@chinada ilyhk.com

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