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The CE's policy address: what happened to ICT?

Chief Executive Donald Tsang last week delivered his annual policy address. He tackled pressing issues like housing and environment, but this address seemed different from those in previous years. This stage in his journey as CE is unique, as he nears the end of his tenure.
 
In the USA, there's a term used to describe officials like Tsang who are wrapping up their term and won't be reappointed ("re-election" doesn't exactly apply in this case). The term—"a lame duck"—isn't derogatory: it simply means your ability to create change is limited, because you won't be in power much longer. The problem is that when you're a lame duck, you can safely ignore issues which need to be addressed.
 
You can't blame Tsang for playing it safe, but one thing stood out in this most recent policy address: the absence of proactive IT schemes. True, Hong Kong's private sector is highly IT-savvy—we have excellent connectivity and many of our banks and other institutions (the Jockey Club, the MTR and CLP, just to name a few) are world-class in the use of IT. But our government, I feel, has a role to play in the IT sector. True, we have the OGCIO, and GCIO Jeremy Godfrey has proven not only that he cares about Hong Kong but this government office is working to promote ICT in the HKSAR—Godfrey has a switched-on staff from Deputy GCIO Stephen Mak on down.
 
But Tsang didn't mention the OGCIO in his policy address. Nor did he mention Science Park in Shatin, or Cyberport (ironically, it was Tsang as financial secretary who introduced the project in 1999, during the dotcom boom). It seems the CE doesn't consider the development and promotion of ICT in Hong Kong to be on the government's current action-list.
 
I respectfully disagree. True, much of Hong Kong's tech-strength is private-sector-based. But let me give you an example of where government leverage is needed.
 
We recently conducted a roundtable discussion in Macau and it was clear that lack of IT workers was a critical concern for Macau's CIOs, who have new projects coming on-stream. It would show good faith to help out our fellow SAR by contacting the relevant government department to see if we can ease the employment process for qualified Hong Kongers to gain Macau work-permits.
 
Isn't this what governments do: help if possible? Aren't we LITERALLY building a bridge to Macau? Why can't the CE, possibly with the help of the good folks at the OGCIO, draft a few sentences about looking into this possibility? Are we incapable of working with our fellow SAR, when they need our help?
 
There are many other ICT-related issues I could mention related to the CE's policy address. Frankly, housing and environmental pollution are critical issues and deservedly at the top of his agenda. But the government of a world-class city like Hong Kong is tasked with many issues, and does not have the option of ignoring a sector as important as ICT. "Lame duck" or not, I am not satisfied with Mr Tsang's lack of action when it comes to promoting ICT education and business in Hong Kong in this address...or even mentioning the existing government department and facilities that do.
 
Perhaps some pages fell out of Mr Tsang's policy address on the way to the podium. If so, he is welcome to e-mail me directly and tell me what was missing. In fact, anyone reading this is welcome to give me direct feedback: good, bad or indifferent. My e-mail address remains:
 

 



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