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Controversial Carrie stays true to form

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Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor remains a controversial figure even after retiring as chief executive.

On his last day in office, Lam broke vital protocol.

As she attempted to introduce her officials one-by-one to President Xi Jinping at the Convention and Exhibition Center, she placed herself between the president and the TV camera crew who had followed him to Hong Kong.

It broke protocol that no attendant should walk in front of the chef, let alone prevent viewers from seeing him.

Lam probably made the mistake unintentionally, but it was bad enough that a member of Xi’s delegation reacted by pulling her until she was standing behind the president to give viewers a clear view of him. reviewing the waiting officials.

It wasn’t the first time Lam had made such a blunder – there was at least one other occasion when she walked side-by-side with Xi while appearing on stage

When it comes to continental politics, it’s important for politicians to remember the correct protocol – and Lam’s failure to do so can serve as a reminder to his successor.

No less controversial is the rental of an expensive office at the Admiralty which Lam will use when he retires.

Curiously, there was no mention of the rent the government agreed to pay the landlord for the eighth-floor unit at Pacific Place in the Admiralty.

The administration should have made the agreed rent public since it is paid with public money.

So may I ask how much does it cost?

Media reports suggest that the market rent for a similar unit in the luxury office building is currently around HK$110 per square foot.

Whether or not the speculated figure is true, the government could have easily clarified the matter, but chose not to, at least for now.

Commercial rent may have come down a bit as a result of the pandemic, but what does HK$110 per square foot mean anyway?

It would be double the amount charged by Admiralty Center or Lippo Centre.

Naturally, like others, Lam may think that Pacific Place has a grander style despite being located close to the other buildings.

And if the former chief executive agrees to move to East Kowloon, comparable offices could be rented 75% less.

Does anyone in government really care how the money is spent and if it is used wisely?

There is already one property intended for use by former business leaders – the premises used by the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group for meetings between 1993 and 1999.

Currently it is used by Tung Chee-hwa, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and Leung Chun-ying.

Of these, only Leung maintains high notoriety nowadays, so it is questionable whether the space is well utilized.

Some have got the impression that, of all the business leaders, Lam is the biggest spender, not only while in office, but also after leaving office.

The new administration led by John Lee Ka-chiu should return to fiscal prudence.

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