Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has given her “parting words” as an official, further hinting at her wish to retire from public office.

Lam made the statement at a forum on Monday morning. Lam reportedly expressed her wish to retire at a closed door event two weeks ago, but she has refused to repeat the statement publicly when asked by reporters later.

“My following speech, of about 20 minutes, is not a platform for running for Chief Executive – you can view it as ‘heartfelt words’ from an official who served the public for 36 years. I also would not mind if you see it as parting words from this official,” she said.

Carrie Lam. Photo: GovHK.

In her speech, entitled New Vision for Hong Kong, she said that the city should consolidate upon its advantages and confidence in the future.

“I understand that there have been worrying and even sometimes heart-aching situations in Hong Kong in the past few years – it is difficult for some people not to get discouraged,”  Lam said, as her voice was shaking and she appeared to choke up with tears. “But I believe if we still love this city, the visions I mentioned can still come true.”

Ip tipped to run

Also at the forum was lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing. Tsang, citing a rumour he heard, asked Ip as to whether she will resign from the Executive Council on December 14. The election for the election committee of Chief Executive is to be held on December 11.

“Don’t poke fun at me, [you are] putting me in a difficult position,” she said.

Ip had previously said she was interested in the city’s top job, whilst Tsang was also tipped to be a potential candidate. She said that she will announce her decision as to whether to run for Chief Executive “no later than Valentine’s Day” on February 14.

“You and I will not hijack this occasion to make any announcements,” she told Tsang on Monday. “My heart to serve Hong Kong is firm. I will announce at an appropriate time, that’s all I can say.”

Carrie Lam, Jasper Tsang, Regina Ip and Antony Leung at a forum. Photo: GovHK.

Ip also said that it was “a very good thing” that the central government in Beijing has given no indication as to who it will support as Chief Executive. She said she believed that the central government is still considering who can govern effectively for the next five years among civil servants and lawmakers, and considering who will not cause mass protests in Hong Kong after the election.

Tsang said he has yet to fully grasp the situation with regards to the election: “I love to read detective stories. What detective stories attract people are those in which you can never guess the ending. If we guess the ending today, politics would be much less interesting.”

Tsang also said that he understand the central government has yet to indicate whether it will support Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s re-election.

He added that the next leader must have three qualities: that they are trusted by the central government, supported and accepted by Hong Kong people, and that they have the ability to govern.

Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing is the only significant political figure that has announced his intention to run and has arranged meetings with potential electors.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.