Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that he has asked authorities to look into developing country parks for residential use.
Leung, who has five months left in office, suggested in his last policy address last week that the public should consider developing “a small proportion of land on the periphery of country parks with relatively low ecological and public enjoyment value” for public housing and non-profit-making elderly homes, in exchange for incorporating more land with high ecological value into country parks.
“I must restate that country parks are valuable assets of Hong Kong, but we have to judge and weigh,” he said ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, adding that one opinion he heard was that there was a need to know which parts of country parks could fit the criteria.
“Therefore I decided to ask relevant authorities, including environmental protection departments, to look into the issue of site picking; this is a preliminary study,” he said. “Once we have the result of the preliminary study, we will give our considerations on location and all aspects as soon as possible, so that society can consider this issue concretely with the government, to judge and weigh.”
Asked if the study could finish in his term, Leung did not give a definitive answer but said: “as soon as possible.”
Former financial secretary John Tsang, now a chief executive contender, said that as Paul Chan had replaced acting finance chief Chan Ka-keung, Paul Chan has to restart many parts of the process of preparing the annual budget.
Leung said he would not comment on this as he has not heard the statement himself.
On the subject of the next chief executive extending his administration’s policies, Leung said: “I believe any policies that are welcomed and supported by the public will be extended. Because I believe the next administration also needs to respond to public demand on policies.”
Asked about chief executive contender Carrie Lam’s recent gaffes in which she appeared to have no knowledge of using an Octopus card, could not buy toilet paper, and stumbled into the Hong Kong Palace Museum controversy, if she is still the appropriate candidate for the top job, Leung said he would not comment on the capability of individual candidates.
Leung said he believed the problem of the controversial TSA test – of which a rebranded version described as city-wide “research” was announced on Monday – was because of homework drills.
“Last year when society was debating this issue, I randomly bought a huge pile of TSA exercises at bookstores, and compared them with real test papers,” he said. “The mock exercises I bought at bookstores were much more difficult. So I hope schools, parents and society can attach importance to the issue of excess homework drills.”