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Friday, April 14, 2017, 00:45

Academic advises Lam to tackle livelihood issues

By Joseph Li
Academic advises Lam to tackle livelihood issues

Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, suggests Chief Executive-designate Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor puts the relatively non-controversial and popularity boosting livelihood issues such as housing at the top of her to-do list. (Joseph Li / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Chief Executive-designate Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor should focus on measures which benefit people’s livelihoods and make a quick impact in the early days of her government, advised Professor Lau Siu-kai – vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, a national think tank.

Lau believes Lam’s election victory gives the opposition camp an opportunity to set aside their antagonistic mindset. If the government’s livelihood measures bring success, public opinion will go the government’s way and encourage the opposition to work with it.

In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Lau said Lam should prioritize livelihood measures such as housing, land supply, education, elderly services and youth affairs. If these work out, this will enhance her popularity and the prestige of the government.

He suggested: “Livelihood measures will likely yield positive impacts quickly because they are not controversial and will have the support of the Legislative Council.

“Also, she can improve the relations between the government and the opposition camp through working together.”

In his opinion, Lam may also announce Hong Kong’s greater participation in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Should this participation come into being, it will provide a bigger environment for Hong Kong people to work and live in, without adapting to new lifestyle, language and culture.

Meanwhile, Lau anticipated Lam will encounter problems in selecting talented, credible people to become principal officials.

Lau knows Lam sets very high standards for the post of chief secretary for administration, which she held for nearly five years until she resigned to run in the election. A competent chief secretary will relieve her from daily issues and let her concentrate on high-level affairs.

For other senior posts in the administration, Lau said Lam may have some people in mind, yet they may be reluctant to join the “hot kitchen” because of the adverse political climate.

“For renowned people who work in the business and financial sectors, there is no reason to give up their lucrative jobs that are worth tens of millions of dollars to take up the financial secretary post,” he said.

“The secretary for justice and director of public prosecutions are very sensitive and important posts as they will need to tighten law enforcement,” the academic explained.

“However it is not easy to find willing senior counsels who have a high standing in the legal sector and are able to resist political pressure,” he said.

As for the Executive Council, Lau suggests a cabinet style that comprises only government officials, instead of the present mix of officials and non-official members.

His rationale is that too many members are not conducive to useful discussions at meetings. Moreover, non-officials cannot help explain government policies much, or secure votes from the LegCo even if they come from political parties.

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