Former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung called on the government to allocate some of the land reserved for country parks for residential use to provide homes to about one million people, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported on Monday.
Leung, now Nan Fung Group chief executive, made the remarks during a roundtable discussion on balanced development sponsored by the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.
Leung said Hong Kong has to attract more talents in the next two decades to develop itself into a cosmopolitan city of 10 million people.
A more open fiscal policy regime should be adopted to enhance the social security system, promote the mobility of different social classes, and help the youth resolve their problems.
Hong Kong’s advantages in the movement of people, goods, services, funds and information should be further developed, he said.
Leung criticized certain localization advocates for being protectionist, noting that protectionism is of no use to the city’s economic development.
Meanwhile, he refused to comment when asked whether he will run for chief executive in the 2017 election.
In 2013, Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po raised the idea of transforming some country park areas into residential sites.
However, due to strong opposition from the public, Chan early this year pledged the government will not build flats in country parks.
On Sunday, he wrote in his blog that it is not an easy job to use the city’s “idle sites”, which are separated from each other and relatively small in sizes.
He said most of the large idle sites have been put under government review.
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