Carrie Lam to join race for CE
City leaders say outgoing chief secretary has the experience and ability necessary to perform well in Hong Kong’s top job
Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she intends to run in the race to be Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive — pledging to uphold the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”.
Lam tendered her resignation to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Thursday — taking her first step to join the contest to be the next head of Hong Kong government.
The CE office had submitted her resignation to the central government for approval, according to its official statement. Lam will go on leave from Friday.
Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung will be acting chief secretary during the interim, according to the statement.
Facing the press, Lam said the “only reason” for her to resign at this juncture was to prepare for participation in the upcoming CE election in March.
“It was my privilege and honor to have served the people of Hong Kong for over 36 years,” Lam said. She expressed her gratitude to incumbent CE Leung Chunying and former CEs — Tung Chee-hwa and Donald Tsang Yam-kuen — for their support.
Although she has not yet released her election platform, Lam made her vision clear in a public speech a month ago, in which she prioritized creating quality job opportunities, especially for young people, by promoting innovation, technology and the cultural creativity industry. She also stressed budget increases for social welfare.
Lam joined the Hong Kong government in 1980. She served as the permanent secretary for home affairs and secretary for development before she was appointed chief secretary in 2012.
During her time in office, Lam put great effort into livelihood issues, including poverty alleviation and elderly care.
She had also brought closer cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland through joint projects.
She oversaw a reconstruction project of the Sichuan province. This was after a magnitude-8 earthquake hit the province’s Wenchuan county in 2008.
She also played a leading role in the collaboration with Beijing’s Palace Museum to set up the Hong Kong Palace Museum, and signed a part- nership agreement with Shenzhen authority in developing a joint science park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop.
Leaders from across the political spectrum recognized her work and spoke highly of her suitability for the city’s top job.
Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the city’s largest political party — the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), applauded Lam’s work in alleviating the poor, enhancing care for senior citizens and strengthen cooperation with the mainland.
Lee said Lam has abundant experience in administration and governance. She also has a track record for taking the initiative and being tenacious when faced with daunting challenges, Lee said.
As Hong Kong is still mired in political wrangling and social conflict, Lee said she hoped a person capable and willing to take sensible measures beneficial to Hong Kong would be the next CE.
She said the DAB will thoroughly examine Lam’s pending election platform before making any decisions.
Convener of Path of Democracy Ronny Tong Ka-wah said Lam had proved her ability to the public during her time in office. In appreciation of Lam’s work and praising her vision for Hong Kong’s future, Tong said Lam has “a very deep and complete set of ideals for governing Hong Kong”.
Creating quality job opportunities, a budget increase for social welfare and safeguarding the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” are priorities in outgoing Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuetngor’s vision for Hong Kong.
Lam made her goals public last November when she brought up an eight-point “achievable new vision” for the city, when she was addressing a local forum on the city’s future development.
Lam said the city’s next leader must create opportunities for quality jobs by promot- ing innovation, technology and creative industries. She put great emphasis on the development of the Hong Kong Science Park and said the city’s leader should look for more land to expand it.
Focusing on the city’s future, she identified the need to help young people and attract skilled workers from overseas to meet the challenge brought by a growing aging population. Lam noticed that the university quotas were insufficient. Her solution was to give more resources to tertiary education.
In terms of poverty alleviation, Lam said the city should increase its social welfare budget. She explained that while keeping Hong Kong as a free market economy, the government should shoulder more responsibility. It should keep updating the poverty threshold — the minimum level of income deemed adequate — every year.
To keep the city prosperous and stable, Hong Kong should safeguard the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, Lam said.
As Hong Kong’s shipping and port business ranking has shrunk from the first place to fifth last year, the industry should examine how to add value by developing insurance and arbitration services, Lam said.
Lam also urged the city to consolidate its strengths with determination and confidence. She highlighted the city as one of the most liberal economies and was determined to preserve the city’s advantages as a free market with a simple tax system and a free flow of capital and information.
She also valued the city as an international financial center and the biggest offshore renminbi business hub, thanks to preferential policies from the central government.
Lam said the city’s future leader should endeavor to maintain the city’s fine reputation for judicial independence, running an efficient and honest SAR government, and for being a safe,orderly society.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announces she will resign from the post of chief secretary for administration and join the race for the Chief Executive election during a press conference at Central Government Complex on Thursday.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor receives the Grand Bauhinia Medal from Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying at the 2016 Honours and Awards Presentation Ceremony on Oct 29, 2016.