Dark clouds over Lam Legco address

Top News | Jane Cheung 9 Oct 2019

Live or livestream? Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor may be forced to make hard choices and opt out of delivering her third policy address in person if things are not going well at the Legislative Council next Wednesday.

Lam, who invoked emergency powers to impose an anti-mask law that triggered multiple protests across the city over the long weekend, said yesterday that she wants to deliver the address the usual way - by reading it out at Legco.

But Lam said she and her team have had their hands full managing protests that are now in their 19th week.

"This policy address will not be the usual address that will be very elaborate, very comprehensive, covering almost every aspect of the government," Lam said.

"I'm getting it ready for announcement on October 16. Whether I can do it in a normal fashion - that is, walking into the Legco chamber to read it out maybe for an hour - is not something that I can determine on my own.

"It depends on the reception at Legco and what will happen outside of the Legco building.

"We have to monitor the situation and plan alternative methods of getting the address into the public domain."

When asked if she would consider livestreaming the speech, Lam did not respond directly but said she wants to read it out "if things go well."

There will be no television or radio forums on the address the night after it is delivered or the morning after due to "uncertainties that may happen near Tamar government offices," a government spokesman said.

Lam was supposed to attend a television forum next Wednesday evening - hours after the address - and a radio program jointly hosted by three local radio broadcasters the next morning.

Legco will resume meetings on the day of the address, president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said, amid the increased security of an amber alert after an extended summer recess due to the siege of the complex.

"The amber alert is issued based on an evaluation of the current situation, as we wish to conduct meetings in a peaceful environment," said Leung. "Hopefully the Legislative Council can operate normally."

He added: "Currently we are preparing for the chief executive to read out her policy address in the chamber."

Leung said Legco meetings cannot begin if lawmakers cannot enter the building safely.

"I hope everyone will remain peaceful. The address concerns the government's policies and strategies to boost livelihood in the upcoming year," he said. "I hope we can all make sure it goes well."

He said there is no backup plan if protesters surround the complex.

jane.cheung@singtaonewscorp.com

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