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Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 00:41

DAB proposes bay area legislator tour to boost relations

By Luis Liu

HONG KONG - The SAR’s largest party – the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) – suggested in a meeting with Chief Executive-designate Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Monday that the government organize visits for all local lawmakers to Greater Bay Area cities in Guangdong province.

The move could be a good start toward reconciliation between the government and the legislature, the DAB said.

Improving administrative-legislative relations was one of Lam’s election promises. She started to fulfill her pledges on Monday by meeting two influential political parties – the DAB and the city’s biggest labor organization, the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU).

Lam hoped the new government can break the current impasse as she reaches out to political organizations across the political spectrum.

Participation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is vital for the city’s development. The government should arrange for Hong Kong lawmakers to tour the area so they gain a more comprehensive knowledge of the region’s development, DAB Chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king said. She made the comments after the closed-door meeting between Lam and 15 key DAB members.

The tour could facilitate the government’s work in strengthening Hong Kong’s role in the national strategy, Lee explained.

The move would also serve as a golden opportunity for Lam to start efforts to garner support from parties under various political affiliations.

The State-level bay area blueprint was laid out by Premier Li Keqiang when he delivered the Government Work Report to the National People’s Congress last month.

Li pledged to press ahead with development of the Greater Bay Area for higher-level cross-boundary collaboration. The central government plans to turn the region into one of world’s major city clusters.

The establishment of the area also served as a key strategy in the country’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The 56,500 square-kilometer Greater Bay Area comprises 11 cities. These include the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions and the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing in Guangdong province.

The region has a population of 67.7 million and annual GDP $1.3 trillion (HK$10.1 trillion), according to an official document.

The National Development and Reform Commission applied a principle of “complementary development” where all cities would magnify their individual strengths, according to a Hong Kong government source who was in discussion with central government authorities.

Meanwhile, the DAB also highlighted their request for the next administration to communicate with various stakeholders in society regularly and thoroughly. It said such a change can help the government implement its policies.

FTU members also met with the incoming CE. They urged the new administration to abolish the controversial offsetting mechanism of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF), increase maternity and paternity leave and write standard working hours into Hong Kong’s law books.

Lam had responded “positively” to most of the suggestions tabled in the meeting, FTU legislator Wong Kwok-kin said.

luisliu@chinadailyhk.com

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