Ip chokes back tears over Lam praise

Top News | Chan Ho-him 18 Jan 2017

A teary-eyed Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said she "shoulders responsibility" too, after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying praised his former No 2 official Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor but seemed to forget the work of the former Executive Council member.

Leung praised Lam for her "ability and willingness to take on responsibilities" to govern Hong Kong, a day after she announced she would run for the leadership post.

This comes as Michael Tien Puk-sun, of Ip's New People's Party, complained the chief executive race is being guided by an "invisible hand." Many Election Committee members, including himself, had received calls asking them to support a certain candidate.

With Lam and former No 3 official John Tsang Chun-wah's expected bid to be announced tomorrow, political analysts said that could endanger Ip's chances of getting the minimum 150 nominations for chief executive. The fourth candidate is retired judge Woo Kwok-hing.

Ip, 66, was responding to a question about Leung's praise for Lam when she became emotional and wet-eyed at a media gathering yesterday.

"In the past 10 years I started from nothing, working hard bit by bit, splashing out my own money, putting in much mental and physical effort," Ip said as her voice shook. "Can you say I had not taken on responsibilities for the Hong Kong society? When I handled Article 23, I did not perform satisfactorily? I have taken responsibility under the accountability system and have already apologized multiple times.

"I was not shameless, I did not hold onto my powers. I stepped down from the administration.

"I'll leave for society to judge whether I have the guts to take on responsibilities. I definitely have taken on a lot of responsibilities."

Asked what she wanted to express to the central government, Ip said: "I only hope for a fair and just election with real competition. Only that can be beneficial to Hong Kong in the long run. Forcing a candidate to withdraw would only be counterproductive."

Speaking before the weekly Executive Council meeting earlier yesterday, Leung said Lam was capable of tackling long-standing problems such as boosting housing and land supply.

"The real difference between various candidates is whether they are willing to take on responsibilities when handling long-standing social problems so as to achieve more," he said.

Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man also praised Lam's "dedication in serving the public," describing her as capable and passionate.

Ip, chairwoman of the New People's Party, also revealed two or three members of the 1,194-strong Election Committee, including businessman Allan Zeman, have turned their backs on her to support Lam.

She is confident in securing 150 nominations and will not give up, saying her sources of support could come from the business and trading sectors.

"Some Election Committee members told me they might not nominate me in order not to end up betting on the wrong horse, while some said they might bundle their votes," Ip said.

Ip's campaign team includes former deputy secretary for economic development and labor Miranda Chiu Shung- kwok as her campaign manager and Alex Wong Yin-fun, who served in the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, as vice campaign manager. She disagreed four candidates entering the race would be too many as none of the potential candidates should be asked to withdraw from a race with real competition.

During a radio program yesterday, Tien said an "invisible hand" offering blessing to "only one candidate" has made the race increasingly without competition.

Competition should be free and fair, he said, as he revealed having recently received a call asking him to support a certain candidate.

"I asked the person who called me: 'Are you asking me to betray Ip who is my party colleague?' I've already showed my support for her and promised her my nomination," he said. "There can be no fair election under these circumstances."

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