1998 Policy Address

In his Policy Address delivered today (7 October), the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr TUNG Chee Hwa set out the plans and programmes the Government will implement to spur economic growth, to anchor Hong Kong's fundamentals and to improve the quality of life. The following are some of the key points.

The Economy

Strategies for Growth

  • Strengthen government support for innovation and technological development by setting up an Applied Science and Technology Research Institute.
  • Set up a HK$5 billion Innovation and Technology Fund to provide finance for projects which will contribute to the improved use of innovation and technology in our industrial and commercial sectors.
  • Position Hong Kong as an Internet hub for the Asia Pacific region to help Hong Kong, Mainland and overseas businesses to produce, distribute and market their goods more effectively both within the region and beyond.
  • Establish an on-line Government Electronic Services Delivery Scheme to allow 24-hour access to government services and information.
  • Develop a world class teleport at Chung Hom Kok to provide the best possible global satellite links.
  • Set up a HK$100 million Film Development Fund to promote creativity and the use of technology in local film production.
  • Take forward proposals aimed at establishing Hong Kong as the international centre for Chinese medicine, including the setting up of an Institute for Chinese Medicine.

Building on Our Strengths

  • Enhance Hong Kong's role as an international financial services centre by strengthening regulatory systems and developing new products, such as a Venture Board for the trade of shares in smaller and emerging companies.
  • Draw up plans for a new state-of- the-art performance venue in Kowloon to boost Hong Kong's status as Asia's entertainment and events capital.
  • Establish a Heritage Tourism Task Force to promote our heritage sites and develop opportunities for joint tourism promotions with the Mainland.
  • Appoint a Commissioner for Tourism whose role will be to help stimulate further growth in the tourism industry.
  • Open a Small and Medium Enterprises Office in the Industry Department to co-ordinate services and assistance for smaller businesses.
  • Build three major railways: the West Rail Phase I, the MTR Tseung Kwan O extension and the Ma On Shan Railway, at a cost of HK$110 billion.
  • Improve cross-boundary traffic by building a KCR spur line from Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau for completion in 2004.
  • Expand Hong Kong's network of highways by building Route 16 connecting Sha Tin and West Kowloon and Route 10 between North Lantau and Yuen Long, and plan for the Central Kowloon Route and Route 7 between Kennedy Town and Aberdeen.

Our Quality of Life


  • Continue the construction of an average of 50 000 public sector flats in the next four years.
  • Stabilise property prices and review the nine-month moratorium on land sales by early 1999.
  • Build up a land bank to ensure long term stability of the property market.
  • Rationalise the loan schemes offered by the Government, the Housing Authority and Housing Society which provide assistance to home buyers.
  • Formulate an Urban Renewal Strategy to provide a comprehensive framework for urban renewal.

Investing in Human Capital

  • Increase government spending on education to HK$44 billion annually.
  • Provide over HK$500 million in grants to public sector schools from 1999 to 2003 to help improve their management and the quality of education.
  • Work towards the target of providing primary school students with whole-day schooling from 2007-2008.
  • Invest HK$630 million to promote the further use of information technology in education.
  • Unify the various vocational training institutions to form a new Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education by 2002.
  • Grant HK$500 million to the Employees Retraining Board to enable it to provide more and better courses for the unemployed.

A Better Environment

  • Upgrade Hong Kong's sewerage systems by spending HK$12 billion over the next five years on new projects to collect and treat sewage.
  • Ban the sale of leaded petrol in 1999.
  • Work towards requiring all new taxis to use cleaner fuel by the end of 2000.
  • Publish a green paper on environmental policy in 1999.

Taking Care of People in Need

  • Provide 8 000 new elderly residential care places by 2002.
  • Employ more caseworkers to give additional help to families in need of counselling and other services.
  • Improve services to the disabled by providing over 400 extra day and residential places.

Health Care and Public Hygiene

  • Upgrade pharmaceutical services at Department of Health clinics so as to improve service levels and reduce the likelihood of dispensing errors.
  • Bring into service an additional 853 beds in public hospitals in 1999.
  • Establish a new Radiotherapy Centre in Princess Margaret Hospital to improve services to cancer patients.
  • Spend HK$22 million in 1999 to upgrade our monitoring, prevention and control of communicable diseases.

Review of District Organisations

  • Set up a new policy bureau to co-ordinate and direct policy on environmental protection, environmental hygiene, waste management, food safety and nature conservation.
  • Appoint an advisory committee to give input into and monitor the Government's work in the areas of food safety and environmental hygiene.
  • Enhance the role of District Boards and prepare for elections to take place in late 1999.
  • Develop a new administrative framework for the arts, culture, sport and leisure services before the end of 1999.

Strengthening the Institutions of Society

  • Maintain the rule of law and continue to upgrade the services provided by the Police.
  • Enhance the ICAC's ability to combat corruption crimes which use sophisticated electronic and complex financial techniques.
  • Re-affirm the Government's commitment to maintaining Hong Kong's fundamental characteristics as a free and fair society.

More Efficient and Cost-effective Government

  • Undertake an Enhanced Productivity Programme to improve the cost-effectiveness of the Civil Service.
  • Review entry-level pay for civil servants to ensure broad parity with private sector practice.