Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who is set to complete a year in office as Hong Kong’s top leader in about a month, said she is enjoying her job so much that “a month feels like a day.”
Speaking at a forum organized by the Urban Land Institute on Wednesday, Lam said holding the city’s top post is “extremely exhausting and challenging”, but is also very satisfying.
The most challenging part comes from her constitutional duty, which requires her to be accountable to fellow Hongkongers as well as Beijing, she noted.
Lam, who was sworn into office by Chinese President Xi Jinping on July 1 last year, said foreign critics tend to have “myths and prejudices” against the “one country, two systems” principle that governs China-Hong Kong relations.
The critics should read more to get to know better about Hong Kong and should not simply believe that the principle has been corrupted, Hong Kong’s first female chief executive said.
In other remarks, Lam spoke about getting policy proposals cleared in the Legislative Council, saying that it is not always easy.
Even the support of the pro-Beijing lawmakers cannot be taken for granted, she said, noting that legislators have different interests on different topics.
But the interactions in the monthly Legco question & answer sessions are fruitful and effective, she said, pointing out that funding passed for infrastructure projects this year will break a 5-year record.
The Q&A sessions held since January this year had been one of the promises made by Lam to help promote closer executive-legislature relations.
On the housing issue, Lam said she needs to work on gaining consensus on where and how to develop lands for new homes amid a ‘big debate’ on land supply.
Hong Kong is not that short in land, Lam said, adding that the potential for Lantau Island development is “exciting” as it will turn the island into the key hub connecting the “Great Bay Area”.
The chief executive feels land reclamation from sea is inevitable, but stressed that it doesn’t mean that conservation efforts will be given the go-by.
Looking back to past one year, she said her job made her so busy that there was little time for private and family life.
She took a holiday only once since her inauguration, during which she spent time in Guilin city in China’s Guangxi region along with some family members.
However, even during that time, it was not all vacation, as she had to help out on a video for promoting the Express Rail Link and also meet local Chinese officials, Lam said.
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