Chief Executive contender Woo Kwok-hing has said that principal officials with low popularity will “definitely” not serve in his administration.

The 70-year-old former judge said on Friday morning that an official’s popularity is an indicator of whether their work is successful and resonates with people’s beliefs. He added: “If they do not suit [the public] and have low popularity, then they must not stay.”

Woo Kwok-hing. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

Woo said that people should not be worried that he lacks governing experience or a team of experienced bureaucrats.

“This should not be a concern – Donald Trump is still screening candidates this long after the election,” he said. “In Hong Kong, there is a lot of talent in both the private and public sectors. The most important thing is that Hong Kong lacks a good leader to guide the team forward.”

Woo added he has communicated with six or seven principal officials, all of whom agreed to be part of his administration if he wins the election in March.

‘Lacking’ broad vision

Following his policy announcement on Wednesday, some pan-democrats cast doubt over his vision for Hong Kong. Andrew Wan Siu-kin, a lawmaker from the Democratic Party, said Woo’s proposals lacked a broad picture and “looked like those suggested during the legislative elections.”

Woo said he had discussed important topics with the pan-democrats and referenced their opinions when compiling his platform. “It’s not about gathering some policy proposals here and there. In fact, they can see that I have accepted some of their suggestions,” he added.

Pan-democrats in the Legislative Council. Photo: HKFP.

On Thursday, Ip Kin-yuen, a pro-democracy lawmaker who represents the education functional constituency, initiated a non-binding motion stating the qualities that the next Secretary for Education should possess. In the motion, he criticised the current secretary Eddie Ng Hak-kim for neglecting his duties and having poor performance during his term.

Tanya Chan Suk-chong, a legislator for the pro-democracy Civic Party, quoted statistics and pointed out that Ng’s net popularity rate remained negative throughout his tenure.

Ip’s motion was amended by pro-Beijing lawmaker Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan, who deleted his criticism of Ng. Cheung’s amendment was later passed in the legislature.

The Chief Executive election will take place on March 26. Both Woo and lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee have declared their candidacies for the position. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has handed in his resignation and is expected to launch his bid soon.

Eric Cheung

Eric is currently a Bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Hong Kong. Eric has his finger on the pulse of Hong Kong events and politics. His work has been published on The Guardian, Reuters and ABC News (America).