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Friday, March 24, 2017, 11:10

Lam pledges to tackle livelihood issues

By Willa Wu and Shadow Li
Lam pledges to tackle livelihood issues
Supporters greet Chief Executive candidate Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor after she met with community concern groups in Tin Shui Wai in the northwest New Territories on Thursday. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Chief Executive candidate Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday pledged to continue striving to mend social divisions and improve people’s living conditions if elected.

Bazaar spaces serve not only as facilities that generate profits, but also create opportunities for people to earn a living

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong Chief Executive candidate

Lam made the remarks when visiting elderly people living in plank-partitioned flats in Sham Shui Po, an underprivileged part of the city.

Earlier the same day, Lam also visited Tin Shui Wai in the northwest New Territories, where she had a closed-door meeting with concern groups and met hawkers in Tin Chak Market.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the former chief secretary for administration said she would regularly visit grassroots communities if elected.

She also noted that Tin Shui Wai residents faced a shortage of public markets, and promised to launch studies into the feasibility of opening more bazaar spaces.

READ MORE: Campaign manager upbeat on Lam’s election chances

Bazaar spaces serve not only as facilities that generate profits, but also create opportunities for people to earn a living. Providing fresh and affordable food for the neighborhood was vital, Lam said.

More bazaar places and public markets for districts that lacked such facilities was a policy direction included in Lam’s election manifesto.

Lam also drew overwhelming support from the city’s construction industry, with four Election Committee (EC) members from the city’s major contractors’ association and three from the city’s largest construction workers’ union unanimously throwing support behind her on Thursday.

Allan Chan Sau-kit, president of Hong Kong Construction Association and also an EC member, said his association’s four votes would go to Lam. He praised Lam as a sincere listener and a pragmatic doer.

He said while serving in the government, Lam had actively implemented a number of policies, including the transformation of Kowloon East and the Revitalizing Historic Buildings through Partnership Scheme.

Chan’s endorsement was echoed by Raymond Chan Kin-sek, an EC member and former president of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, who will also cast his vote for Lam. He had worked closely with Lam for four years before he retired as head of the Geotechnical Engineering Office in 2011.

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He commended Lam's efficiency in carrying out policies that concerned public safety, noting that Lam took only three months to successfully include the handling of natural hillsides into the government’s Landslip Prevention and Mitigation Program.

Chairman of Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union Chow Luen-kiu said his union’s three votes will be given to Lam. Chow, an EC member, attributed the improved employment relationship within the construction industry to Lam.

Lam, in 2010, helped line up the construction community fund, intended for the families of construction workers who died in work-related accidents. The fund had benefited more than 250 families by March this year, with HK$23 million handed out.

In another move to protect labor rights, Lam in 2015 led the effort to establish a qualification accreditation mechanism for construction workers to raise their social status and build up a reliable workforce for the industry.

Lam also made considerable contributions to enhancing work safety on construction sites, as well as training new blood.

Chow noted Lam had visited the union many times when she headed the Development Bureau, listening to union members’ concerns and discussing ways to find practical solutions.

Lawrence Ng San-wa, president of Hong Kong Construction Sub-contractors Association, praised the Operation Building Bright project which Lam spearheaded in 2009.

Ng said the project had provided a lifeline for many players in the industry, especially small and medium-sized companies.

The other two CE candidates are former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing.

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