Carrie Lam

First group of Hong Kong pan-democrats to have met Carrie Lam are willing to give her ‘benefit of the doubt’

Seven lawmakers from the Professionals Guild discussed issues of political reform and social divide with city’s next leader

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 May, 2017, 9:14pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 May, 2017, 10:56pm

Hong Kong chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s first meeting with pan-democrats since winning the election ended on a positive note despite the camp earlier saying they had “no basis of mutual trust” with her.

Seven lawmakers from the Professionals Guild held a 90-minute meeting on Monday with the city’s next leader, touching on hot button topics such as constitutional reform.

Convenor Dennis Kwok Wing-hang said he sensed that Lam was sincere about healing divisions in society and improving her relationship with lawmakers.

During the chief executive election in March, pan-democrats threw their weight behind Lam’s rival, John Tsang Chun-wah, and even declared they had “no basis of mutual trust” with Lam.

Kwok said after the meeting: “We will give her the benefit of the doubt for now. We are willing to work together if she is genuine in repairing the relationship between the legislative and executive branches of the government.”

Kwok said they had made it clear to Lam that she must consider the subject of constitutional reform. According to him, Lam’s response was that she would consider the issue within her five-year term, but that society’s divisions have to be healed first.

Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen added that Lam, who pledged to prioritise spending an extra HK$5 billion on education, expressed hopes of getting the funding passed before the legislative year ends in mid-July.

The guild also said Lam promised to extend the scope of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance to cover the chief executive, and supported the legislation of an archives law.

Meanwhile, Lam continued to meet with various parties of the pro-Beijing camp.

Ten leading members from the Liberal Party, including honorary chairman James Tien Pei-chun and leader Felix Chung Kwok-pan – both supporters of John Tsang during the election – also met with Lam in another session on Monday.

“We have always been friendly with Carrie Lam. I do not foresee any problems in our relationship with the new government. There is no doubt that the Liberal Party will work closely with Mrs Lam,” Chung said.

He added that party chair Tommy Cheung Yu-yan stood a high chance of retaining his place in the executive council under the new administration.

The party also urged Lam to form a committee to look into the issue of launching political reform.

In a separate meeting, Michael Tien Puk-sun, who quit New People’s Party along with six district councillors last month, also met with Lam in a group of seven to discuss a wide range of policies.

Tien announced that the seven had formed a group tentatively named Roundtable Pragmatism, which would raise practical policy suggestions.