Regaining public trust should be next Hong Kong leader’s first task, says Executive Council convenor

Lam Woon-kwong urges politicians including chief executive candidates and lawmakers to be open to compromise

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 February, 2017, 12:56pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 February, 2017, 1:11pm

Hong Kong Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong on Saturday stressed that restoring public trust in the government should be the top mission of the city’s next leader, and that the current administration “had not done enough” in areas such as medical services.

Lam said he would not join any election campaigns, including that of Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, but he believed all four chief executive hopefuls are capable of uniting the society.

The head of the chief executive’s top advising body said the difficult governance was due to the failure of previous political reform attempts, which left Hong Kong society deeply fragmented, and caused divisions in the political landscape.

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Asked whether Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s ruling style should be blamed for the situation, Lam said: “Due to my current role in the Exco, it is not appropriate for me to pinpoint anyone and comment on it. But I think we should look forward.

“The active role [to restore relationships] should be done by the government, to offer an olive branch and start a dialogue with opposing parties. It should not just be sitting there,” Lam said on TVB’s televised programme On The Record on Saturday morning.

He urged politicians including chief executive candidates and lawmakers to be open to compromise, warning that Hong Kong would have no future otherwise.

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Lam believed the city’s next leader should first rebuild public trust and restore relationships with different parties before launching another round of political reform – else it would not gain a pass.

The convenor also said the current government had not done enough in improving medical services, partly due to objections in the Legislative Council. Lawmakers did not pass reform plans involving the medical watchdog and a long-delayed voluntary health insurance scheme.

“The scheme has been dragged on over a few administrations, and it has been so watered-down now that it might not mean much anymore. This is rather disappointing to me,” he added.

The next government should not “go soft” on these issues, though tackling the city’s housing problem should still be the major concern, he said.