Former Legco president says Lam’s chief executive election pledges would have been useful when she was in government
Jasper Tsang has also criticised Lam’s rival John Tsang for policies that apparently contradicted his stance whilst a minister
Former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing has questioned chief executive contender Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s election platform, asking why she had not done more to solve the problems she claims to be fighting back when she was the city’s No 2 official.
Lam, seen as Beijing’s preferred choice to be the city’s next leader, unveiled a partial manifesto on Monday promising “new resources for education, new hopes for home ownership and new direction for taxation”.
In his column published in the Chinese-language newspaper AM730 on Thursday, Tsang wrote that Lam’s emphasis on “new” policies showed that she noted the people’s hope for change.
“But the problem is that Lam used to be a top official for many years,” the veteran Beijing loyalist wrote.
“For example, Lam openly criticised that ‘there are problems in the vision and execution of education policies’, yet the Education Bureau came under the chief secretary’s supervision. Did she notice and identify those problems when she was the education minister’s boss?”
He also questioned Lam’s pledge to offer “new hopes for home ownership” when the current administration “had done its utmost in finding land to build new homes”.
“This government inherited the land and housing shortages from the last administration, and that administration’s development secretary was called Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor,” he wrote.
After the popular underdog John Tsang Chun-wah promised to reform the city’s tax regime, Lam had questioned why he had not done so during his tenure as financial secretary.
Jasper Tsang said while Lam’s question was a good one, people would ask if she is similarly “overthrowing her own self with her ‘new’ manifesto”.
Jasper Tsang is not a member of the 1,194-member Election Committee which will pick the city’s next leader on March 26. He had previously vowed to throw his hat into the ring to create a contested election, but many commentators believe that it is now unlikely as there are already four candidates in the race.
Writing in the same column on Monday, Jasper Tsang had also questioned John Tsang’s promise about introducing a progressive profit tax and a negative income tax.
“The idea of the two taxes do not match the conservative principles of public finance when John Tsang Chun-wah was the financial secretary, and these principles were followed by the government for a long time,” Jasper Tsang wrote.
“Lam had announced that if she were elected chief executive, she would adopt a new philosophy of public finance. Would it be the end of a conservative public finance policy that has been in place for decades?” the former Legco president asked on Monday.