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Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 00:53

Lam garners further support

By Shadow Li and Willa Wu

HONG KONG - Chief Executive hopeful Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor continues to attract support across Hong Kong - after the last of six election forums was held on Sunday in the lead-up to the March 26 election.

Lam was praised for “having gradually got better in her role” as a first-time CE election candidate.

She proved herself to be a tolerant and capable candidate, said Lau Siu-kai, former top adviser to the Hong Kong government. Lam attended five of the six election forums, which started on March 5.

Carrie Lam was praised for “having gradually got better in her role” as a first-time CE election candidate

Candidates vying for the top job use these forums to explain their manifestos and attract support from the 1,194 members of the city’s Election Committee (EC), which is responsible for choosing the next CE.

Lau said Lam showed she was broad-minded and had an inclusive style. This was evident during the past election forums; she did not become combative despite repeated attacks by the other two candidates.

Lau, who is now vice-chairman of the think tank Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, had worked with Lam for five years when he led the Central Policy Unit. In this role he offered advice to the CE, chief secretary for administration and financial secretary.

Lau said the hard-working Lam set high standards for herself and her staff.

He said she also had a solid policy-oriented manifesto. But Lau suggested Lam should elaborate further about how Hong Kong should position itself in line with the nation’s future development.

Lam’s eloquence, composure and knowledge of government policies during the election forums have won over many EC members. Some have announced their decision to vote for her.

Adam Kwok Kai-fai, a member from the real-estate and construction sub-sector of the EC, said Lam’s performance showed her pragmatism and knowledge of government.

Labor sub-sector EC member Chow Luen-kiu, who leads Hong Kong’s biggest construction workers’ union, worked with Lam when she was secretary for development.

Chow said Lam cared about the well-being of construction workers. She produced labor-friendly policies, such as the standard contract to protect workers from being exploited and a subsidy scheme to help owners of old buildings carry out renovations.  

Bunny Chan Chung-bun, a deputy to the National People’s Congress and former chairman of the Youth Commission of the Hong Kong government, praised Lam for tackling youth issues.

“Her approach is aimed not at pleasing young people but at finding practical ways to address their concerns, and to help them seek opportunities,” Chan said.

He said the proposed HK$5 billion increase in educational recurrent spending will support students at school. But it will also be used to help graduates.

Lam has suggested using additional recurrent education expenditure to reduce the tuition-loan burden.

Former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing are competing with Lam. The winning candidate must gain at least 601 votes from EC members and then be appointed by the central government.


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