Date
20 July 2017
The government and MTR Corp are set to launch a massive publicity campaign to pitch the co-location arrangement to the public. Photo: HK Govt
The government and MTR Corp are set to launch a massive publicity campaign to pitch the co-location arrangement to the public. Photo: HK Govt

Can Carrie Lam get the public behind co-location arrangement?

Before Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her new administration were sworn in last Saturday, she had appeared on a televised English interview program, during which she outlined some of her new policy initiatives over the next 100 days, which will be finalized in her first policy address to be delivered in October.

According to government sources, less than one week in office, Lam has already gone into overdrive in putting together her policy address.

And in order to facilitate cooperation and coordination among her cabinet members, as well as to discuss the details of the upcoming policy address, sources said Lam called a special brainstorming session for this Saturday and required all of her new bureau chiefs to attend.

The sources added that apart from discussing the policy address and allowing her bureau chiefs to get to know one another better, Carrie Lam may also try to outline the overall policy agenda of the new government during Saturday’s meeting.

It is said that in order to make the meeting less formal and allow her cabinet members to brainstorm new ideas in a more relaxed environment, the meeting will not be held at government headquarters in Admiralty.

However, while the announcement of Lam’s first policy address is still three months away, at the moment, there is a much more urgent and imminent task facing the new administration, which is to press ahead with the so-called co-location arrangement at the Hong Kong terminal of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link according to schedule.

Sources said the government has finalized the details of the arrangement and will, along with MTR Corp., launch a massive publicity campaign next week to pitch to the public the merits and benefits of the express rail link, as well as the co-location arrangement through TV, radio and online commercials.

However, trying to convince the public that the co-location arrangement will not compromise Hong Kong’s autonomy and blur the boundary between “two systems” could prove a daunting task for the new administration given the rapid rise of “mainlandphobia” in recent years.

It appears it is going to take a lot more than brainstorming and arm-twisting for Lam to resolve this highly complicated and sensitive issue.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 6

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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RT/RA

Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.

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