Having managed to get a seat on the committee that will pick the next chief executive next year, Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, has promised to elect a leader who is “capable of bringing hope” to the city.
The CK Hutchison Holdings chairman made the pledge in his platform for the Election Committee polls scheduled for December 11. The 1,200-member panel will select the city’s leader in March.
“I would pick a chief executive who loves Hong Kong, is faithful to the Basic Law, is capable of bringing hope for Hongkongers, is trusted by the country and can fight for the best future for Hong Kong,” Li wrote.
Li’s message came after Leung, the current chief executive, and New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee have hinted that they will try for the top job, as rumours increased that Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah would run for the job too. In his platform for the 2011 Election Committee polls, Li looked for a candidate who was impartial and had leadership skills. For the 2012 race, the tycoon supported Leung Chun-ying’s rival, Henry Tang Ying-yen.
In an interview in 2013, Li said Hong Kong could not go down “the path of rule of men” while defending the city’s core values, such as a free market and the rule of law.
Hang Lung Group chairman Ronnie Chan Chichung, a supporter of Leung who has already openly supported his re-election bid, stated that the chief executive must defend the Basic Law and uphold the country’s sovereignty.
But not all tycoons have stated their views as openly in their election platforms. Hopewell Holdings chairman Gordon Wu Ying-sheung only listed a single criteria for the next leader – to uphold the Basic Law.
Separately, the rift within the pro-business Liberal Party was also highlighted in the candidates’ election platforms.
James Tien Pei-chun, the party’s honorary chairman and a strong supporter of the “Anyone But CY” drive, stated the chief executive should be replaced to truthfully reflect the city’s conditions to Beijing. He is running in the Commercial (First) sector.
The discord among the Liberals resurfaced last week when Leung appointed party veteran Tommy Cheung Yu-yan to the Executive Council in a bid to increase and solidify his political support base ahead of the poll. Tien then called on Cheung to step down as party chairman.
Chinese University’s Department of Government and Public Administration associate professor, Ma Ngok, told Young Post yesterday that the comments from the tycoons don’t reveal who they will support. This may be because Beijing has not yet appointed a candidate.