The Policy Address 2000

Listening to the People, Learning from Experience

28. The reforms we have implemented embody the suggestions and ideas of many of our citizens. Academics, professionals and people from all walks of life have made many valuable recommendations which the Government has taken on board when carefully examining the reform measures. We have weighed the impact of the various reforms on the target groups and taken account of the interests of the community as a whole. The measures were then considered at the policy level where priorities were set before final decisions were made. I believe the majority of the people support the reforms which have been made with the best interests of the general public in mind.

29. Yet there are criticisms in our society that the Government is attempting to do too much, too fast. Some even question the necessity of the reforms. I can understand these concerns. First, some measures may not have been prepared or implemented in the best possible way. Second, we may not have explained clearly enough the need for the reforms, the processes involved or the benefits flowing from them. Third, there are bound to be voices of scepticism and opposition at the initial stages as the reforms touch on the immediate interests of some people and it takes time to reap the full benefits. This is quite understandable.

30. In summing up, we have learnt from this experience. In future when moving forward with our reforms, we will pay greater attention to the need for effective communication and full consultation, and in particular, listen more carefully to dissenting voices. In carrying out reforms, we will plan more carefully and conduct comprehensive assessments of their impact on all stakeholders beforehand to allow different issues to be handled differently. We will also ensure that the groundwork is thoroughly prepared so that problems arising in the course of implementation can be solved in a timely manner.

31. The success of these reforms will eventually enhance our competitiveness, foster economic development, create employment opportunities and improve the living conditions of low-income families. With careful planning and better estimates of our capabilities, the reforms can be implemented more satisfactorily in future. Given the support of the community at large, I am confident that our objectives can be achieved.

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