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Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 00:15

Lam: HK needs action, not rhetoric

By Shadow Li and Willa Wu
Lam: HK needs action, not rhetoric
(Graphic by China Daily)

Hong Kong needs action instead of rhetoric to unite society, Chief Executive aspirant Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told an election forum broadcast live on Tuesday.

Lam offered her vision of a society in which everyone will have a fair chance to achieve their ambitions. She said that to unite society, the next CE must have the ability to execute workable policies and deliver the desired outcomes.

"Hong Kong is standing at the crossroads,” said Lam, noting concerns from different sectors of the community.

Lam said two months campaigning had made her more determined to contest for the top job

Nevertheless, politics is not the only way to heal the rifts in society, Lam stressed in her closing remarks. More down-to-earth work to improve people’s lives could also unite them, she added.

She envisages Hong Kong becoming a city where children enjoy happy childhoods, young people reach their full potential, adults live in peace and the elderly enjoy a decent retirement.

READ MORE: Lam unveils full election manifesto

Explaining her reasons for running, Lam said she hopes to keep serving Hong Kong for another five years. The former chief secretary has served for 36 years in 20 different positions in the SAR government.

Lam said two months campaigning had made her more determined to contest for the top job.

The election debate forum was held by seven electronic media in the city. It is the first time all three candidates could ask each other questions.

Lam is stressing housing, education and the economy in her manifesto. She vowed earlier when unveiling her election platform she would introduce “a new governance style”. Lam also said she would act as “facilitator” and adopt a “new fiscal philosophy”.

In a two-pronged policy to tackle the city’s housing shortage, Lam proposed setting up a designated subsidized housing project for the city’s first-time home buyers. She also wants to boost the supply of rental properties by allowing the city’s 250,000 owners of flats under the Home Ownership Scheme to rent their flats without paying the premium.

Lam: HK needs action, not rhetoric
Chief Executive candidates (L-R) former f inancial s ecretary John Tsang, former c hief s ecretary Carrie Lam and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing pose for photos before a debate in Hong Kong, March 14, 2017. (Photo provide to China Daily)

To boost the city’s economy, Lam suggested reforming the tax system. She discussed introducing a tax cut from 16.5 percent to 10 percent for the first HK$2 million profit made by enterprises and granting a 200 percent tax deduction for research and development.

Highlighting education in her election manifesto, Lam has promised increasing recurrent education expenditure by HK$5 billion annually. She wants a more caring, stable and inspiring environment for students, teachers and parents.

READ MORE: Carrie Lam has all the talents needed in a CE

The other two candidates – ex-financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing – also attended the forum.

This is the fifth election forum since the three candidates were officially validated on March 1, when the nomination period ended. Lam, with her eloquence and experience, clearly stood out, commentators said.

There is another debate to come – an election forum on Sunday, jointly held by members of the Election Committee. The committee will elect the city’s next leader on March 26.

Any winning candidate must at least take 601 votes from the 1,194-strong committee to get appointed by the central government.

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