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Legislator Alice Mak

Dear Hong Kong fellow citizens,

It has been stormy these few weeks, with thunders and rain, I hope your spirit isn't too dampened by the weather. We all look forward to seeing bright sunshine and blue sky again next week. Like how we expect for the weather, we hope that the third wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong will soon come to an end, and we can resume our normal daily lives. It's now the 9th month of our fight against Covid-19, confirmed cases are diminishing since the start of the third waves in early July. We finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

As this round of COVID-19 comes to an end, it is time we plan for a new start. After 3 quarters of a year occupied by the novel virus, in addition to months of social unrest last year, Hong Kong’s economy has been through a long and hard winter. With the unemployment rate rising, our society has been in a dull mood, as if a gloom has come over our whole city. This is the most critical time for the government of Hong Kong to have the courage and determination to make some significant changes, to give Hong Kong people hope and a bright future to look forward to. That is why the HKFTU and I have proposed the set-up of a “New Start Committee” to the Chief Executive during the policy address consultation session.

Although the third wave of the pandemic seems to be almost over, it appears that we will not be completely rid of the virus yet in the foreseeable future. Technology has played its part well during this pandemic. Many countries such as Singapore has used technology such as apps and trackers to control the spread of the virus to great effect. We must discuss how to incorporate these methods into our new attempt in containing this virus. We must also redouble our efforts in establishing the health code system for the restart of safe cross-border traffic. Many workers with cross border jobs have already not been able to work for the majority of the year, have been longing for the establishment of the health code, eager to resume work. Many cross-border families and students who also need the health code system to cross borders safely. In addition, plans for attracting travelers when the virus is under control and with the use of the health code, should be made to ensure that the various businesses and workers that are in those industries that rely on tourism can regain momentum again as soon as possible to ensure that our economy would not be held still because of the coronavirus.

For local changes, the most urgent priority would be to increase both short-term and long-term jobs to ease the rapid rise in the unemployment rate. Consumption voucher is a short-term measure to stimulate consumption on food and retail industries which provide most jobs in the market.  
For more long-term plans, the New start Committee should make up plans to reform Hong Kong’s future economy, especially on the structure of our economy. Ever since the last structural change in the 80s and the 90s, Hong Kong has had an over-reliance on tertiary industries, with the service sector contributing more than 90% to our GDP. However, jobs in tertiary session fluctuate with economic tides. The HKFTU believes that jobs are more secured in the industrial sector and so the Committee should promote the diversification of Hong Kong’s production structure by putting forward policies for reindustrialization. For that, we should encourage the development of the production of high technology goods and encourage high value-adding industries to return to Hong Kong, as well as elevating and transforming traditional industrial work to create jobs for Hong Kong’s skilled workers. 

The Central Government has recently announced the dual circulation plan, where there would be a new heightened emphasis on local consumption. Now would be a most suitable time for Hong Kong to incorporate into the Greater Bay area. The New Start Committee should formulate strategies on how to join in on the developments of the domestic and international circulation as part of China’s new dual circulation plan.

In this difficult time, I must stress that we need strong governance and wise leadership now more than ever. We also crave leaders with visions and insights, giving Hong Kong people hope and aspirations. The Government cannot just sit in their offices behind closed doors, they must reach out to the public, listen attentively to comments and criticism. They must also show their determination to Hong Kong people, reassuring us of what they have done and what they will do to help Hong Kong overcome these obstacles in the future.

Yours faithfully,

Letter To Hong Kong

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