Date
17 December 2017

HKEJ Today: Highlights

Following is a summary of major news and comments in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the parent publication of EJ Insight, on Tuesday, Mar. 25:

TOP STORIES

Chan Ka-keung says one share, one vote principle should prevail

Interview: The core spirit of corporate governance that shareholders should keep a system of checks and balances in relation to management must not be sacrificed even though Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (00388.HK) is going to undertake a consultation on the one share, one vote principle in the city, said Chan Ka-keung, the financial services and treasury secretary. Hong Kong should not compromise its principle in an attempt to compete with the United States in attracting firms using a dual-class shareholding structure similar to that of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Property curbs unlikely to be withdrawn any time soon

Chan Ka-keung, the financial services and treasury secretary, said the government has no plan to withdraw for now any of its property curbs that have been put in place despite signals from the US Federal Reserve of a fed funds rate hike in spring next year, a time earlier than previously expected. Chan said the biggest uncertainty in the market is the exact time when the Fed finishes tapering its bond purchase program, but the sooner it is, the sooner will the financial environment return to normal conditions.

Li Ning sees further drag on results amid internal reform

Li Ning Co. Ltd. (02331.HK) may need one to two more years to complete its internal reform that will continue to weigh on its financial performance, said chairman Li Ning {李寧}. The athlete-turned-entrepreneur, however, said the impact would be much smaller this year, although higher costs in product research and development, marketing promotion and clearance of uncompetitive stores have dragged down the company’s results in the second half of last year. His remarks came as the company posted a loss of 392 million yuan (US$63.27 million) for last year, compared with a 180 million yuan loss in the first half of 2013 and a 1.98 billion yuan loss in 2012.

POLITICS

Democrat Sin suffers humiliating defeat in Southern district by-election

The Democratic Party has suffered a humiliating defeat in the Southern district council by-election. Veteran legislator Sin Chung-kai lost the race for a seat vacated by former Democrat Fung Wai-kwong, who has become the Chief Executive’s spokesman. Judy Chan from the New People’s Party won the seat with 2,023 votes, or 48 percent of total votes. Radical People Power’s chairperson Eric Yuen came in second with 1,083 votes, while Sin got only 920 votes. Members attributed Sin’s defeat to the party’s shift to a moderate political line, a recent scandal related to former chairman Albert Ho and Sin’s ineffective campaign.

Outgoing ombudsman calls on civil servants to tell truth in policies

Interview: Outgoing Ombudsman Alan Lai, who took up the post after serving in the government for 33 years, is confident the role of civil service will remain important in maintaining good governance despite the rapidly-changing political scene. He said in a pre-retirement interview that civil servants should continue to tell the truth in recommending policies and stick to the principle of policies religiously in the process of their implementation. He warned civil servants against the danger of bias if they put politics above objectivity in their decisions.

EDITORIAL

Taiwan’s Ma must compromise on trade deal scrutiny to avert crisis

Faced with the growing risk of a split in society, Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou must change his approach in handling the cross-strait trade deal, which has precipitated an ugly clash between student protestors and police. Ma should heed the people’s voice by re-submitting the agreement to the legislature for a detailed scrutiny. Failure to do so will not only result in a constitutional crisis but also deal a blow to mainland-Taiwan relations.

COMMENTS

A healthy democratic system for 2017 election helps beat populism, Lam says

The emergence of populism in Hong Kong since Leung Chun-ying became the Chief Executive has become obvious, HKEJ founder Lam Hang-chi wrote. We should make good use of the ongoing political reform consultation to put public debate on democratic election back on a healthy path. A clear consensus on the true meaning and principles of democracy in society should be established. This will be the most effective way to beat populism and cure a major illness of the Hong Kong society. It will give the greatest hope that Hong Kong politics will return to normalcy.

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