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

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By LUIS LIU and WILLA WU in Hong Kong Con­tact the writ­ers at luis­liu@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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.

PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY

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.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

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.

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