Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has commended former chief secretary Carrie Lam for having a strong sense of responsibility and the ability to govern Hong Kong.

Leung was asked at a press conference on Tuesday as to whether he supports Lam in her bid for the city’s top job. Without responding to the question directly, Leung said: “Lam is a responsible and competent official who is willing to tackle deep-seated issues facing Hong Kong society.”

CY Leung (L), Carrie Lam (R). File Photos: Apple Daily.

He said that no matter who becomes the next leader of Hong Kong, the job requires meeting various demands of society, such as poverty alleviation, elderly care and housing.

Leung said his administration had, in the past five years, been making policies in response to the demands of the public. Leung, who will not be seeking re-election, said that the chief executive candidates differ in their willingness to take on responsibilities and desire to achieve.

Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man also said on a Commercial Radio programme on Tuesday that Lam is a responsible and capable supervisor that he admires.

“[I]n the past four and a half years, I have been working very closely with Mrs. Carrie Lam. I consider Mrs. Lam to be a very capable person with the heart to serve Hong Kong people,” Ko said.

Ko Wing-man. File Photo: GovHK.

‘Extend Leung’s good policies’

When formally announcing her candidacy on Monday, Lam said she will “extend the good policies” of Leung’s administration.

The pro-democracy camp has warned against a return of Leung’s combative style should Lam become the next chief executive. Calling Lam a “copy” of Leung, Civic Party lawmaker previously said the city does not want to see “CY Leung number 2 in the near future while divisions run deep in Hong Kong.”

Lam also came under criticism after she indicated her desire to run for the job last week before Beijing approved her resignation, as public officers – as she then was – are prohibited from being nominated as candidates. The Electoral Affairs Commission defines a “candidate” as anyone who has publicly declared an intention to run for chief executive, even if they have not submitted a nomination form.

Pro-democracy lawmakers accused Leung of purging them over the legislature’s oath row. File Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Meanwhile, Lam has received support from many in the pro-Beijing camp. Since Saturday, Beijing-backed papers Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao have been running positive reports about Lam on their front pages.

Beijing also approved on Monday the resignation of former finance secretary John Tsang. He is expected to announce his candidacy this week.

The other two publicly declared candidates are lawmaker Regina Ip and ex-judge Woo Kwok-hing.

Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.