Buck for Hong Kong ministers does not stop with bosses, chief executive hopeful Carrie Lam says

Former chief secretary was speaking in ­response to her criticism of the education ­system even though the minister had ­reported to her for past five years

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 February, 2017, 11:35pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 February, 2017, 11:36pm

Ministers should be held accountable for their policies, not their bosses, chief executive hopeful Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said.

The former chief secretary was speaking on Saturday in ­response to her criticism of the education ­system even though the minister responsible had ­reported to her for the past five years.

“All officials under the ­accountability system are nominated by the chief executive and appointed by the central people’s government. There is no subordinative relationship among them,” Lam said in a Cable TV interview. She has publicly criticised education policy as “problematic” during her campaign, and vowed to “comprehensively review the whole system”.

“Many people think there are nine ministers who report to me, and I am the boss of them. I am afraid it is not like that,” Lam said.

“If a minister purely follows the instructions of the chief secretary, is it really fair for him to accept the consequences if the policy goes wrong,?”

In response to the comments from Lam, who is the perceived front runner, rival and former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said: “Every senior government official should be ­responsible for all the policies.”

Meanwhile another rival, ­retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, pocketed another 46 nominations from members of the Election Committee.

Chief executive hopefuls need 150 nominations from the 1,194-member committee in order to secure their candidacy for the March 26 election. They will need 601 votes to win on the day.

The nominations for Woo came from a group of pan-democrats from seven subsectors on the committee, who collectively control more than 100 voters.

“The main message we want to bring about today is that we ­recognise the hard work, plan and ideology of Woo,” said Alfred Wong Yam-hong, a member of the medical subsector.

Wong backed Woo on political reform and Article 23 national security legislation. Wong called on other candidates to “modify their election platforms accordingly”, in order to receive the remaining nominations of the alliance

However, another hopeful,­Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, had little to cheer. She said the nominations she had received so far were insufficient and urged “a certain candidate” not to ask for additional backing since that person had secured more than enough ­nominations already.