Former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang has criticised chief executive contender Carrie Lam, challenging her over whether she can truly present a new government if she is elected.

Lam has often claimed she would bring a new governance style, a new finance philosophy, or new education resources to the government.

“Obviously she saw people were discontented about the policies of the current administration, so she hopes the new administration can bring change,” Tsang wrote in his AM730 newspaper column on Thursday. “But the question is: Lam was a top official, she was even the chief secretary before she quit, number two on the team.”

Jasper Tsang. File Photo: Facebook.

“She had mentioned that she was a close partner of incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, and said she ran in order to extend the policy ideals of the current administration.”

Jasper Tsang, often seen as a supporter of another contender, John Tsang, said the chief secretary did not manage issues such as public finance, but the position does have influence in the government.

“Lam now openly argues that there were problems in the ideals and execution of education policies, but the Education Bureau is under the chief secretary – was she aware of the problems she talks about now when she was the boss of the Secretary of Education? Has she pointed that out?” he wrote.

Carrie Lam (front) Eddie Ng (back). File

Tsang added that Lam often supported the education chief in introducing controversial education policies: “If she gave an opinion on education, would the secretary dare not to follow?”

Tsang also criticised Lam’s new housing plans, pointing out that the current administration failed to find land to provide housing, and left the problem for its successor: “The Secretary for Development of the last administration was called Carrie Lam.”

Carrie Lam and John Tsang. File Photo: Stand News/Apple Daily.

“When another contender, John Tsang, the former financial secretary, mentioned a tax reform proposal in his platform, there was a good question from Carrie Lam: Why didn’t Tsang put forward these reforms when he was in charge of finance?” he wrote.

“As for Lam’s ‘new’ platform, people will also ask: isn’t the present Carrie now contradicting the old Carrie?”

Tsang previously claimed that he might run if Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying sought re-election, but after Leung’s surprise exit from the race, the plan did not go through. Tsang did not rule out running, but it is unlikely he will join now, with four major contenders and in light of the fact that the nomination period has started.

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.