Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Wednesday denied a claim he was at odds over issues with Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, saying instead they worked well together.
The claim was made by a Leung ally, Hang Lung Properties chairman Ronnie Chan Chi-chung at a forum on Tuesday.
At the forum, Chan said Tsang was “a big sinner” for allowing Hong Kong to sit on huge fiscal reserves without spending them appropriately and said he was at odds with the chief executive.
Leung said on Wednesday his one-year partnership with Tsang was good.
“The financial secretary and I share the same values, and we work very smoothly together,” he said, noting that they were now preparing the next policy address and budget.
Tsang, who was on a visit to Guangzhou on Wednesday, also responded to Chan’s comments.
“It is sad to hear this,” he said when asked to comment on the “big sinner” accusation.
“We welcome criticism, but I also hope people can give some concrete suggestions,” he added.
Tsang also directly denied that he failed to spend Hong Kong’s reserves appropriately, noting that over the past six years while he has been financial secretary Hong Kong’s expenditures had increased 80 per cent.
“If you do the math, you will get a double-digit increase for each year,” he said. “This is not easy to achieve for any developed economy,” he said.
On his relationship with Leung, Tsang said: “We meet every day. How could it be strained?”
Last month, there were rumours of Leung also having a strained relationship with another of his top ministers.
Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang speculated that current Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor might quit as she was dissatisfied with her role in the government.
But Lam rejected speculation that she might quit and, like Tsang, denied there was any strain in the relationship.