CY Leung slams lawmaker on Facebook for saying Hong Kong officials lack Singapore’s tech mindset

Pan-democrat Charles Mok pens letter criticising government’s lagging innovation policies, while chief executive blames opposition filibusters for delays

A war of words erupted between Hong Kong’s outgoing chief executive and pan-democratic lawmaker Charles Mok on Sunday after the latter penned a piece criticising the administration’s slowness in encouraging innovation and technology.

Incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying launched an unexpected counter-attack on his Facebook page, saying pan-democrats, whom he accused of slowing down government policies, should instead be blamed. His post came just hours after Mok’s remarks went on air.

Leung’s move was in contrast to the improving relationship between the pan-democrat and pro-establishment camps, with the two blocs planning to hold an ice-breaking dinner next month in a bid to bridge rifts and explore ways to cooperate.

In a broadcast for RTHK’s Letter to Hong Kong programme, Mok said the city had been relatively late in getting on the smart- city bandwagon as Leung had not taken the lead until his policy address of 2015.

The lawmaker representing the information technology sector complained that local officials lacked the mindset of the city’s rivals, such as Singapore, when it came to using technology to solve problems and improve services.

“Our government likes to fund research and build science parks, but not adopt new technologies and applications,” Mok said.

Leung was quick to shift the blame to the pan-democrats, saying the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Bureau was delayed for three years by the opposition bloc in the Legislative Council.

Leung Chun-ying’s Facebook post on Charles Mok’s comments

“It is regrettable that Mok, as a lawmaker representing the information technology sector, did not stand on the government’s side in advocating technology,” Leung wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday.

“I would like to ask Mok: does Singapore have any lawmakers who stage filibusters? Does Mok oppose filibusters? Does Singapore have opposition lawmakers like the ones in Hong Kong? Would Mok be willing to give the SAR government power similar to that of the Singaporean government?”

Mok slammed Leung for exploiting every opportunity to split the city, as he doubted whether the chief executive had gone through his piece before placing all the blame on filibusters.

“His remarks are meaningless, and I hope he will read through my whole article to understand what I was talking about,” Mok said.

More time should be spent on policy discussion instead of political fragmentation, he added.

The lawmaker said he had no expectations of Leung, but he hoped his successor, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who will take charge on July 1, would not follow his combative approach and would be willing to listen to others.