New Democratic Party lawmaker feels the weight of expectation
Albert Wong talks to Kam Nai-wai as we continue our series on the winners and losers of the Legislative Council election
The Democratic Party's newest lawmaker recognises that the pressure is now on him to perform and pay back the confidence the party and the public have placed in him.
Kam Nai-wai will be the only Democratic Party representative on Hong Kong Island, taking over from Martin Lee Chu-ming and Yeung Sum, after winning a seat in the September 7 election.
'During the campaign, obviously there was a lot of pressure. But in fact, it is now, after the election that the pressure is really on,' Mr Kam said.
He said he was aware of the responsibility that came with his party's backing, made possible after Dr Yeung took second place on the party ticket. He thanked Dr Yeung for effectively sacrificing his own chances to ensure the party could deliver fresh talent into the legislature and rejuvenate the democracy movement.
'The Democratic Party's development on Hong Kong Island will now rest on me, Kam Nai-wai,' he said.
'Despite the party making this decision [risking Dr Yeung's election chances], we received nearly 40,000 votes. This shows citizens have high expectations,' he said, noting the intense scrutiny he expected to receive from the public.
The social worker has been elected to Central and Western District Council since 1994 and is a founding Democratic Party member.
He noted that the Civic Party had conceded it still had a lot of work to do to improve its district work. 'But this is exactly where we can excel, especially amongst the pandemocrats.'
He said it remained to be seen whether the Civic Party's Audrey Eu Yuet-mee would retain her seat in 2012. 'If she does not - then as we did with the retirement of Martin Lee Chu-ming - they will lose a drawcard for voters.'
He also questioned whether Tanya Chan, who headed the Civic Party's ticket on Hong Kong Island, would be able to attract enough votes on her own to bring a second, fresh face into Legco.
Mr Kam said his path to the legislature, via the district council, should not be the only means of developing a career in politics.
'We have to try to attract young, capable professionals to join the party and stand for Legco elections, without sacrificing our record of providing genuine service in the districts.'
Mr Kam will take over the environment portfolio held by Mr Lee and Sin Chung-kai.