Several lawmakers on Thursday brushed off concerns over John Lee's apparent lack of experience in finance and other social issues, saying his cabinet will be able to help him if he eventually runs and wins in the Chief Executive election.
Speaking on an RTHK show a day after the Chief Secretary resigned and declared his intention to run for CE, lawmakers described Lee as a sincere and pragmatic man with principles, saying he is suitable for the top job.
Jeffrey Lam from the Business and Professionals Alliance said he believes Lee can unite different sectors, revive the economy and strengthen Hong Kong's position as an international finance centre.
“John Lee solved many cases when he was in the disciplined forces. Many cases are actually related to commerce. He had to understand about the running of the business sector,” he said.
“Therefore, he has communicated and cooperated with the business sector and other sectors in the society… John Lee can find talents who are familiar with different sectors to help him.”
Lam also said he doesn’t think the sanction imposed on Lee by the United States will affect his work.
Another lawmaker, Ma Fung-kwok, also said he doesn't think Lee is weak in aspects related to finance and livelihood issues, saying he just didn't have a chance to showcase his abilities before.
He added that Lee has demonstrated leadership skills in his handling of the 2019 protests and the pandemic.
But speaking on the same programme, Tik Chi-yuen, the only non-establishment member in the election committee that will select the next CE, said while the central government undoubtedly trusts Lee, he has to win the hearts of Hong Kong people – as it's important for the next CE to mend social rifts.
“You have to be responsible to the central government, but the most important is that you get the public's approval and promote Hong Kong's development, because this is one country, two systems,” the Third Side lawmaker said.
“Mr Lee has long been responsible for work related to national security or disciplined forces, and he has handled matters in a hardline manner. But a CE should be both tough and soft, especially when people want to see a harmonious society now.”