Lam caring and capable, says Tang

Local | Sum Lok-kei 20 Mar 2017

Former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen defended Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's character after a local critic branded her a "control freak."

Tang spoke yesterday in response to commentaries on Friday and Saturday that chief executive candidate Lam had made a high-ranking civil servant cry, and that three permanent secretaries may resign if she is elected CE. Pundit and blogger Lau Sai-leung also attacked Lam, calling her "a control freak" in a Facebook post Saturday.

In the short post, Lau claimed that Lam is known to be intolerant of opposing opinions, and had penalized administrative officers for harboring such opinions in the past. Lau also said she had once muscled then-financial secretary Tang by threatening to quit her job as secretary for development, when Tang tried to overrule her decisions.

In stark contrast to these rumors, Tang - who was FS from 2003-07 and chief secretary from 2007-2011 - said he knew Lam to be a "caring" and "capable" person, and that these accusations are an inevitable part of the election. Tang added that is it understandable that Lam had high expectations for her colleagues.

"People make a lot of claims during elections, it is only normal. Compared to the race in 2012, this 'show' is less exciting," Tang said.

Tang, who ran in the 2012 CE race, had once accused rival candidate and eventual winner Leung Chun-ying of being a liar during a televised debate.

Meanwhile, several students on RTHK's City Forum threw questions at Lam's campaign officer Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan yesterday.

"You said the central government wants a chief executive who loves the country and Hong Kong - is Tin Shui Wai not part of Hong Kong?" one asked, in a reference to a meeting Lam's office canceled on Saturday with 17 grassroots concern groups in the area, as Lam was "too tired" to attend and "in need of rest."

"If Lam can excuse herself from the meeting because she is tired, what will happen if she becomes the next chief executive? Will she also call in sick whenever she could not be bothered?"

Cheung said Lam had wanted to attend the meeting but it was canceled due to "miscommunication" with the organizer. Pan-democrat lawmaker Charles Mok was not convinced, saying Lam had been shifting the blame to her staff whenever an issue arises.

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