Business bodies voice support for Lam

Updated: 2017-03-25 07:22

By Willa Wu in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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 Business bodies voice support for Lam

Chief Executive candidate Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor enjoys a photo session with Election Committee members after the March 19 CE election forum at AsiaWorld-Expo. Roy Liu / China Daily

Chambers welcome former chief secretary's approach to economy

Chief Executive race front-runner Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has won overwhelming support from the city's business sector, with many business leaders hailing her as the most suitable person to lead Hong Kong.

Jonathan Choi Koon-shum, chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber's 6,000-plus members considered Lam the most suitable candidate because of her hard work and dedication to serving the city.

The chamber's decision to endorse Lam, with all its 18 votes to go to her, is based on her 36 years' service in the administration, her devotion to the city she was born and raised in, and her strong sense of responsibility and national identity, Choi said.

He praised Lam for being an all-rounder, having managed to handle social welfare and economic issues well.

He recalled that in the past three years Lam had attended all the three business forums organized by the chamber - in Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam - and sought business opportunities that could boost Hong Kong's economy. She played an active role in reinforcing Hong Kong's external business ties.

Jimmy Kwok Chun-wah, vice-chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, said the city would expect to see smooth sailing under Lam's leadership if she is elected.

He noted that Lam was responsible and always took the initiative to follow issues through. "She contacted us after every meeting, informing us of what had been achieved, what was being processed, and what would be done," Kwok added.

The Federation of Hong Kong Industries, with more than 3,000 member companies, holds 18 votes.

Robert Ng Chee-siong, executive vice-president of the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong and chairman of the Sino Group, confirmed he would cast his vote for Lam.

He thought highly of Lam's election manifesto, finding it comprehensive and pragmatic. He added that Lam's manifesto would gain majority support from the city.

Cheung Hok-sau, president of the Hong Kong Chinese Importers' and Exporters' Association, said Lam could lead Hong Kong to reinvent itself through her new thinking, vision and governing style.

Cheung said Hong Kong's development was closely connected with the central government's support. Lam, with the trust of Beijing, will bring closer integration between Hong Kong and the mainland.

Lam would also help Hong Kong enjoy more prominent roles and abundant opportunities in the Belt and Road Initiative, the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. This would contribute to maintaining social harmony and stability in Hong Kong, added Cheung.

Stephen Ng Tin-hoi, chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, who gave Lam his nomination, said he would vote for her. He had learned that most of the chamber's 18 votes would go to Lam.

Ng noted that the top priority for next CE should be the economy, and this was one of the three key policy areas of Lam's election manifesto; she proposed multi-pronged measures to address economic development, including a two-tier taxation system that will benefit the city's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Eddy Li Sau-hung, president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, emphasized that Lam best met the four criteria outlined by the central government for the CE, adding he would definitely vote for Lam.

Spokesman for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Wang Guoqing said early this month that the central government was confident Hong Kong people would select a new leader who loved both the country and the special administrative region, was trusted by the central government, capable of governing the city, and enjoyed public support.

Li said his decision was made after comparing the three candidates' election manifestos. Only Lam had made specific policies supporting SMEs, Li added.

The chamber, with more than 3,000 member companies from various sectors of industry and trade, is one of the most representative industrial associations in Hong Kong. It holds 18 votes in the Election Committee.

The Chief Executive election will be held on Sunday. The other two candidates are former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing.

Business bodies voice support for Lam

(HK Edition 03/25/2017 page3)