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Friday, January 13, 2017, 23:47

Public support for Carrie Lam is no surprise

By Yang Sheng

Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor tendered her resignation to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Thursday. She said the only reason for the move is to run for the office of CE. It is safe to say no observer was surprised that initial responses from the public to her announcement were overwhelmingly positive. Indeed, many local residents went on social media to express their joy at Lam’s decision and support for her to run for the top job.

With 36 years of experience working up the government hierarchy, Lam has proved her mettle and capability time and again that she is a no-nonsense, committed and meticulous problem-solver who always does her best. That is why, as chief secretary of the SAR government, she was rated the most popular principal official in many public opinion polls. So much so many people waited rather anxiously for months until she announced her CE election bid on Thursday, hence the excitement on social media afterward.

A career woman but also a wife and mother, Carrie Lam has many reasons to be proud of her track record, but she has never advertised her past laurels. She has an impressive resume that shows her quality and capability in the departments she has worked in so far. As she was promoted to higher positions over the years her jobs became increasingly challenging, as expected. More than once she practically “did the impossible”, where others might have given up in the face of obvious adversity. And quite often she did her job without fanfare, which led to little if any publicity.

For example, she was tasked with persuading the protesters to leave the scene of contention during the Queen’s Pier incident in Central back in the summer of 2006. This was when some diehard conservationists occupied the pier and refused to allow the government to pull it down to make way for development. It was such a heavily publicized controversy most senior officials chose not to speak to the protesters face-to-face. Lam did. She went to the site alone and talked to people as best she could. The effectiveness of her efforts aside, she demonstrated once again how committed she was to her responsibilities regardless of the circumstances.

Her dedication and determination was also apparent in the way she handled her duties as chief secretary and head of the Constitutional Development Task Force during the illegal “Occupy Central” movement in fall 2014. Lam played an important role in handling the testy situation and keeping government operations going as usual. At the height of the illegal movement she led a team of officials and met with some student leaders in a bid to end the chaotic situation. Later, she also visited some scenes of “occupation” and talked to frontline police officers to show that she appreciated their professionalism.

The upcoming CE election in March is expected to be the most intensely contested one so far. The central government has made it clear the next CE of the Hong Kong SAR has to be one Beijing trusts, capable of leading the SAR government to fully and accurately implement the “One Country, Two Systems” policy according to the Basic Law, and enjoys public support. Many people in Hong Kong believe Carrie Lam is the best candidate for the job and expect her to win the CE election. Their reasons for this are obvious.

The author is a current affairs commentator.

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