Money is a key factor driving young people into politics nowadays, Executive Councilor Regina Ip said on Monday, pointing to the higher salaries that the youth can enjoy by being elected to the LegCo or district councils.
Ip, who is chairperson of the New People’s Party, added that young people also seem to fancy the opportunities to be in the limelight as they opt for political careers.
Some people have come to realize that “taking part in an election is better than throwing bricks in Mongkok”, she said in a luncheon speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC).
However, the youth must bear in mind that they need to possess some basic knowledge and ability before they decide to run for public posts, Ip said.
Electoral politics could help the youth broaden their horizons and see the “real world”, she said, according to Apple Daily.
As young leaders of Occupy Central protests became famous overnight and grabbed even international headlines, it is one reason why more young people are eyeing political careers, Ip said.
Victory of some Umbrella Movement participants in last November’s district council elections, as well as the good showing of localist group Hong Kong Indigenous’ Edward Leung Tin-kei in the New Territories East by-election in February, is inspiring more youth into joining politics, she added.
She noted that the salary of a district councilor is easily two or three times that of what a fresh graduate can get in the job market.
The opportunity to earn more, as well as the media exposure that comes with taking up electoral posts, is encouraging the youth to consider political careers, Ip said.
The monthly salary for a district councilor has been raised by 15 percent this year, from HK$25,760 to HK$29,620.
That is much higher than the average starting pay of around HK$12,000 that fresh university graduates can get in the local job market.
In other comments, Ip stressed that “One Country, Two Systems” is the best arrangement for Hong Kong, as it balances the sovereignty issue and preservation of the uniqueness of Hong Kong.
The former security secretary said there is simply no chance of success for Hong Kong independence.
On other issues, Ip refused to comment when asked if she would run for Hong Kong’ top job in the chief executive election next year.
She merely said that her next goal is to help the New People’s Party secure as many seats as possible in the Legislative Council polls this September.
Lau Yung-wai, an Umbrella Movement participant who has become a member of the Tai Po district council, said Ip’s comments on the motivating factors of the youth were ridiculous.
Lau said he decided to join politics not for money or fame, but because he wanted to do something to redress the injustices prevailing in Hong Kong.
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