Lam's approach gives HK people hope
Updated: 2017-02-15 07:42
The nomination period of the 2017 Chief Executive election began on Tuesday. So far we have four hopefuls gunning for nomination and one has emerged as the clear front-runner - former chief secretary for administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.
Lam has yet to present her official policy platform, but the main points she has articulated publicly have generally played well with the electorate - members of the 1,194-strong Election Committee.
So far Lam has secured the support of some 400 Election Committee members, according to a ballpark estimate, while the others are still working on securing the required 150 nomination tickets. The landslide for Lam could be explained to a large extent by her pragmatism, though many supporters also endorse her strong execution and vast experience in the government. From the policies Lam has already revealed we can see she put a lot of thought into addressing the issues people care about the most, with an eye on workable approaches.
Hong Kong society always values pragmatism highly and expects the government to act accordingly. Carrie Lam has said economic development, education reform and housing will top her policy platform. This is because she recognizes these are the issues Hong Kong people are most concerned about but which have proved very difficult to resolve. It is safe to say anyone who avoids these tough issues is highly unlikely to win the CE election, even if he or she somehow gets nominated. Lam's intention to significantly increase funding for education hit a big score and won many people's hearts.
While Lam has prioritized and focused on livelihood issues, other hopefuls have offered to address issues that are not as pressing as improving people's livelihoods. For example, some hopefuls have said they would restart the electoral reform and work on national security legislation according to Article 23 of the Basic Law. Important as they are, society is just not ready to reach the necessary consensus on these contentious issues.
Lam was the head of an electoral reform task force back in the day and she did her best under the circumstances. It was not her fault that opposition lawmakers scuttled the "ship" she helped build. And she knows very well that now is not the best time to try again. That is why she put her focus on policies aimed at livelihood issues, particularly education, poverty alleviation and land supply for residential housing development. Although these are among the most stubborn problems Hong Kong has been wrestling with for years, Lam's approach gives people hope because she emphasizes practicality.
(HK Edition 02/15/2017 page8)