You were wrong, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says of the naysayers who doubted her in run-up to election
The chief executive ‘has been serving society with all her heart’ over the past five months, she says in an interview
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said that civil servants’ morale and job satisfaction have improved since she took office in July, in contrast to her critics’ claim that many would leave the government after she took office.
The chief executive also said in the past five months, she “has been serving society with all her heart”.
Lam, who joined the government in 1980 as an administrative officer, was elected by the 1,200-member Election Committee in March and took office as chief executive in July.
In a pre-recorded interview with Commercial Radio, Lam recalled several anecdotes from the run-up to the election, and was asked whether her family would be upset to see her being criticised, especially at that time.
The chief executive said they would not. But she added that her election campaigners were upset by criticism.
Lam said one of her critics was the Democratic Party’s former chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing.
“Lau said she understood that if I become the chief executive, many civil servants, especially permanent secretaries would leave. But it has not happened … instead, many people told me that civil servants’ morale has improved, and they feel that our work [directions] have been clear, we are getting things done, and they have job satisfaction,” she said.
Lam added that she did not mind being criticised because it was normal during an election campaign.
Asked what was her happiest moment this year, Lam said: “It’s difficult to name one very happy moment, I can’t think of it, but I think I am very honoured to accept the challenge [of being the chief executive] at a quite historic moment.”
In a reference to policies she rolled out in the past few months, she added: “It’s also gladdening to be able to achieve what you wanted, because there are things that can only be done when you are this organisation’s No 1.”
Lam added: “I believe that these are also things that residents are glad to see.”
Since July, Lam has announced a series of new initiatives, including revamping the government’s think tank, the Central Policy Unit, into the Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office and hiring up to 30 young people as policy advisers.
But Lam also faced strong criticism from the opposition pan-democrats and legal heavyweights over Beijing’s approval of a joint checkpoint plan for a cross-border rail link that will “damage” Hong Kong’s rule of law.
Asked to comment on her own performance since taking office, Lam said: “I have been fully devoted to serving the [community], not myself, with all my heart. “
The chief executive added that as the government has great power to improve the city’s economy and people’s lives, she does not expect her job in the coming years to be “relaxed”.