Lam, Lee playing to their strengths

Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu will focus on national security and not on other policies such as poverty alleviation, in which Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor does not expect he would be able to do much anyway.

Lam said she will continue to handle issues including poverty, youth policies and ethnic minorities’ rights, given Lee’s lack of experience on those areas.

And there is only 12 months left in her term, Lam said on radio yesterday, so “I have told Lee, ‘I do not expect you to do all the work on poverty alleviation, youth and ethnic minorities because you are not that familiar with those issues.’ “

She said she is “more familiar with those areas and I’ve been working on them in the past years, so perhaps I will continue to work on them.”

“But,” she added, “he must deepen the work in relation to national security, especially in preventing and stopping such threats.”

Lam and Lee are playing to each other’s strengths, she said.

Her emphasis on her broad experience comes as the chief executive race heats up, with speculation that Beijing may prefer those from disciplinary forces to take up the top post. Those who were chief secretary were often considered a strong candidate for the chief executive position, such as Henry Tang Ying-yen, who ran against Leung Chun-ying in 2012.

Lam said land and infrastructural development will be the emphasis of her last policy address in her current term, although she admitted the problem of surging home prices and long queues for public housing cannot be alleviated in the coming year.

“Land development is a lengthy process,” she said, adding the government is trying to shorten the time and that land supply will also be inclined toward building subsidized housing.

Lam said the government wants to build land reserves so people can hope that the housing issue could be resolved.

She said the policy address will not be an occasion for handing out gifts and fulfilling wishes of various political parties. Instead it would focus more on mapping out Hong Kong’s future based on her vision.

“We have to understand that the way the public views Hong Kong should be different from the view of the SAR’s administration,” she said.

“The Hong Kong government should be able to foresee the future rather than feeling complacent about resolving the current problems.”

Lam’s fifth policy address will be delivered on October 6.

About 30 sessions of public consultations will be conducted to listen to views and suggestions from lawmakers, representatives of different sectors and the public.

It will sound like a policy address of a new chief executive, Lam said.

Asked if it is a prelude to many more addresses to come, Lam said gaining personal support for her reelection is not what is in her mind. She also sidestepped the question of whether she will seek another term.

Lam said she has done “a not too bad job” when reviewing her work over the past four years, adding she has fulfilled the vast majority of about 900 initiatives.

She said she has fought against opposing views on increasing the public housing supply from 60 to 70 percent.

And the government has initiated many groundbreaking land policies, including the transitional housing projects and rent control in the past four years.

Lam got emotional when asked about her family.

“I really cannot talk about my family. Once I talk about them I will get teary-eyed. They have made a lot of sacrifices for me.

“We understand each other. My two sons will not ask their mother to thank them publicly. The same goes for my husband. But I really can’t talk about it. Once I talk about it I will feel very [emotional].”

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