Carrie Lam could face crisis if she wins CE race only with help of pro-Beijing camp, rival Regina Ip says

NPP chair says former chief secretary’s credibility will be affected if citizens scrutinise source of her votes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 January, 2017, 12:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 January, 2017, 2:16am

The woman seen as Beijing’s preferred choice in Hong Kong’s leadership race may face a governing crisis if she wins solely ­because of the pro-establishment camp’s backing, even if by a landslide, her rival has warned.

Former security minister ­Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who is ­also running for chief executive, cautioned yesterday that the overwhelming support for former chief secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor from the Beijing-friendly camp, especially its newspapers, could be counter-productive and end up harming Lam’s campaign.

“[The support] is too one-sided [in Lam’s favour], and that is not very good,” Ip said on a radio show. “It might not be a good thing for her, and she knows that.”

Ip’s warning came after Lamadmitted there would be questions about her governance if she was voted into office as the city’s next leader by the 1,194-member Election Committee in March but trailed her rivals in the popularity stakes.

Ip, a lawmaker and head of the New People’s Party, noted that Lam was the only contender for the top job who did not have to worry about securing the 150 nominations required to qualify as a candidate – especially when figures such as pro-Beijing heavyweight Lo Man-tuen and lawmaker Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan had joined the former chief secretary’s campaign office.

Lo is a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, while Cheung is from the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which has secured more than 100 seats on the Election Committee.

Ip warned that receiving support from a single source could put Lam in a governing crisis, as citizens would scrutinise where her votes came from.

“If the votes were clearly just from a number of groups which did not require much effort from you, it would affect your governance and also your credibility,” Ip said. “One should not think only of how to win, but also consider how to govern following the victory.”

Ip remained optimistic that she could bag enough nominations, especially from the industrial and commercial sectors.

She also expressed hope for backing from pan-democrats on the committee, who have been pushing for a more competitive election.

“I will fight till the end,” she vowed.

Ip prompted laughter at one sporting moment when she put her foot on the table to show she was wearing blue shoes matching her top and handbag.

This came as popular radio host Sammy Leung Chi-kin yesterday endorsed another chief ­executive hopeful, former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who had once coached him on fencing when he was studying at La Salle College. Leung said the former No 3 official was a leader with wisdom and capable of taking the helm.