Stepping up communication with youths
30 June 2019
The incidents that took place in the past few weeks have led to controversies, disputes and anxieties in society. Learning from what happened, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will take a humble and open-minded attitude and listen to the views of people from all walks of life and accept criticism with patience and sincerity. We need to feel the pulse of our society by making critical assessment of the situation and adopting a firm yet humane approach to bring our policies more in line with public opinions and live up to the needs and aspirations of the community. We will endeavour to promote the overall interests and well-being of the Hong Kong community.
Restoring social order and harmony, stabilising the business environment and bringing Hong Kong back to the right track as early as possible are the Government’s top priorities. Hong Kong is our home. Let’s put aside our conflicts and differences for the common good and try to achieve mutual understanding which allows the city to forge ahead in a pragmatic manner.
In the next three years, the HKSAR Government will focus on improving people’s livelihood, boosting economy and stepping up all-round communication with various sectors of the community, young people in particular. The Government will listen attentively to young people’s voices through different channels in order to understand their ideas and needs, and take into account their opinions and recommendations.
Last week, I met with more than 20 members of the Youth Development Commission and listened carefully to their views on recent incidents and the Government’s work. We will continue to reach out to different youth groups to have a firmer grasp of their pulse in a bid to create greater room for their development and promote their upward mobility.
“Caring for the youth” is not a slogan but a commitment to do solid work and build mutual trust. It covers a wide spectrum of policy areas. While striving to address young people’s concerns about education, career pursuit and home ownership, and encourage their participation in politics as well as public policy discussion and debate, the Government will adopt a “youth-oriented” approach in its future work, ditch the “paternalistic mindset”, take a softer stance and listen to young people’s voices with patience. Young people’s views and recommendations should be taken account of as appropriate and as far as practicable when government policies are implemented.
In this connection, the Youth Development Commission will play a more proactive and forward-looking role in enabling young people to know more about the Government’s operation. The Member Self-recommendation Scheme for Youth (MSSY) is one of the means for this purpose. Regularised last year, the MSSY rolls out two rounds of recruitment each year and extends to cover 25 government advisory committees1, offering 51 seats for application. The MSSY Phase III, offering 20 seats, is now open for recruitment till 17 July. Young people who wish to serve the community and participate in public affairs are encouraged to apply.
The MSSY Phase III covers ten government advisory committees2, which involve a wide spectrum of policy areas including fight crime, mental health, telecommunication services, film development and employment of people with disabilities.
I encourage our young people to voice their opinions on specific policy areas through active participation to enable the government to take into account extensive views in the policy formulation process.
The Government casts its net wide in scouting for talents and encourages participation of young people in policy discussion and debate. Our aim is to provide opportunities for them to take part in public affairs by appointing them to different advisory structures and engaging them in the promotion and study of public policies. Currently, about 4 500 members of the public have been appointed to serve on about 430 advisory and statutory bodies, taking up around 6 900 posts. The percentage of young members (i.e. those aged between 18 and 35) sitting on these bodies has increased from 7.8% (or 464) in 2017 to approximately 10% (or 620) at the end of 2018. Our goal is to increase the percentage to 15% within the current term of the Government (i.e. by 30 June 2022).
Moreover, in order to strengthen the Government’s “talent pool”, we have invited all applicants attending MSSY interviews to give their consent for inclusion of their personal particulars in the Central Personality Index (CPI) database to serve as reference for various bureaux/departments in identifying suitable candidates for appointment. The percentage of young people in the CPI database has greatly increased from 6.5% (around 940) before the launch of the pilot MSSY (i.e. October 2017) to the current level of approximately 20.4% (around 3 500), representing a more than twofold increase. The progress is encouraging and reflects the enthusiasm of many young people for participating in public affairs and sharing their views with the Government.
Youth development is an on-going task which requires both time and enduring efforts. I hope that with love and conviction, we can all work together to nurture our younger generation.
1 The 25 committees include:
the five committees under the Pilot Scheme, namely Youth Development Commission, Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education, Environmental Campaign Committee, Committee on Innovation, Technology and Re-industrialisation and Action Committee Against Narcotics;
the ten committees under the MSSY Phase I, namely Lantau Development Advisory Committee, Council for Sustainable Development, Advisory Committee on Enhancing Self Reliance Through District Partnership Programme, Transport Advisory Committee, Community Investment and Inclusion Fund Committee, Committee on Community Support for Rehabilitated Offenders, Community Sports Committee, Joint Committee on Student Finance, Food Wise Hong Kong Steering Committee and Advisory Committee of the Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged; and
the ten committees under the MSSY Phase II, namely Ping Wo Fund Advisory Committee, Commission on Poverty, Committee on the Promotion of Racial Harmony, Hong Kong Advisory Council on AIDS, Aviation Development and Three-runway System Advisory Committee, Committee on Home-School Co-operation, Animal Welfare Advisory Group, Museum Advisory Committee, Advisory Committee on Gifted Education and Working Group on Green Burial and Related Matters.
2 The ten committees under the MSSY Phase III include Fight Crime Committee, Advisory Committee on Mental Health, Telecommunications Users and Consumers Advisory Committee, Culture and Promotion Working Group under the Chinese Temples Committee, Board of Management of the Chinese Permanent Cemeteries, Panel on Manpower Development under the Hong Kong Council for Testing and Certification, Hong Kong Film Development Council, Advisory Committee on Enhancing Employment of People with Disabilities, Country and Marine Parks Board, and Public Libraries Advisory Committee.