A former minister has called on Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to announce the full withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill, apologise in person for her handling of the saga, and appoint a commission of inquiry to look into alleged excessive use of force by police last Wednesday. In an interview with the Post on Monday , former secretary for transport and housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said Lam needed to assess if she intended to stay on as chief executive, but added the current political crisis went beyond the question of whether she should step down. Cheung also said the chief executive should make the announcement as early as after the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday. Lam is expected to chair the weekly meeting of the Executive Council, the city’s top decision-making body, on Tuesday morning. “The crisis underscores the complete failure of our political system. The central government can no longer expect the problems in Hong Kong to be resolved by focusing on economic and livelihood issues, while avoiding political reform,” said Cheung, who was speaking for the first time about the current administration since leaving the government two years ago. Cheung accused the Hong Kong government of underestimating the opposition to the bill, and said it had failed to explain the urgency for pushing it though by next month to the public. “Hong Kong is in a very grave situation now, probably even worse than the crisis situation after the July 1 march in 2003, which forced the government to withdraw the national security legislation,” he said. “The government needs to shake off conventional methods in responding to public grievances.” March organisers estimated nearly 2 million protesters took to streets on Sunday calling on Lam to resign and withdraw the extradition bill, instead of merely suspending the legislative process. Hong Kong leader’s tough style blamed for fuelling protests Just the day before, Lam had said she would hit the pause button on the bill and attempt to build a bigger consensus, as there was still a need to allow the transfer of fugitives to mainland China and other jurisdictions with which Hong Kong has no extradition agreement. Six hours after protesters had transformed Central, Wan Chai and Admiralty into a sea of black, the public apology marchers were demanding came in the form of a government statement at night. “The chief executive admitted that the deficiencies in the government’s work had led to substantial controversies and disputes in society, causing disappointment and grief among the people,” it read. The statement said the chief executive apologised to the people of Hong Kong for this. Cheung said Lam should make a public appearance by Tuesday to announce the full withdrawal of the bill and offer a sincere apology before cameras to members of the public for her handling of the controversy. He said the chief executive should also appoint a commission of inquiry, headed by a judge, to investigate the alleged excessive use of force by police during the clashes with protesters near the government headquarters and the Legislative Council building last Wednesday. Remember Lam’s ‘vast achievements’ and give her second chance, says Chan Police have been criticised for their crackdown on protesters, several of whom were shot with rubber bullets, but Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung has rejected accusations of excessive use of force, and said his officers had been in grave danger. Some of the city’s top lawyers, legal academics, human rights groups and a journalists’ association have denounced police actions during clashes which left at least 80 people injured, including 22 police officers. “The crisis has dealt a serious blow to Lam’s credibility and authority. The Hong Kong government is facing difficulties in governing the city in the days ahead,” Cheung said. But he said her resignation, even if it happened, could not resolve the political crisis facing the city. Cheung, who was former vice-chairman of the Democratic Party, said the central government should accept the need for political reform in Hong Kong. In August 2014, Beijing set out a framework for Hong Kong voters to pick their next leader from two or three candidates endorsed by a 1,200-strong nominating committee. That decision triggered the 79-day Occupy movement, the city’s largest demonstration of civil disobedience to date, which saw main roads in Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay blocked by protesters. In June 2015, the Legislative Council rejected the Hong Kong government’s proposal to carry out the 2017 election of the chief executive according to Beijing’s framework.