Date
20 November 2018
A number of veteran lawmakers plan to retire after their current term of office. So the next Legco will probably see a lot of new faces, particularly in the functional constituencies. Photo: Bloomberg
A number of veteran lawmakers plan to retire after their current term of office. So the next Legco will probably see a lot of new faces, particularly in the functional constituencies. Photo: Bloomberg

Business sector gearing up for 2020 Legco elections

While pan-democrats and the pro-establishment camp are gearing up for the Legislative Council by-election in Kowloon West on Nov. 25, some are already setting their sights on the 2020 Legco race.

As we have said about a month ago, a number of veteran lawmakers have expressed their intention to retire after their current term of office. So the next Legco will probably see a lot of new faces, particularly in the functional constituencies. 

There has been talk in political circles that Abraham Shek Lai-him, from the real estate and construction functional constituency, and Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, representing the financial services functional constituency, plan to retire and give way to others in the 2020 Legco elections.

There is also a more than 50 percent chance that Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPAHK) will step down in 2020, and it is said that his party is aggressively looking for a suitable candidate to succeed him.

Earlier on, there was talk that Professor Eric Yim Chi-ming, chairman of the Hong Kong Design Centre, had intended to fill Leung’s shoes in the industrial (first) functional constituency.

However, the latest word is that Jimmy Kwok Chun-wah, the current chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, is actually the one targeting the post.

As a BPAHK member himself and former chairman of the Sham Shui Po District Council, Kwok is currently an employer representative on the Labour Advisory Board.

Kwok has been representing the business sector in negotiations with the government and local unions over such as issues as abolishing the offsetting mechanism of the Mandatory Provident Fund as well as extending the statutory maternity and paternity leaves.

However, it is said that some owners of small and medium-scale enterprises have complained that Kwok appeared to be occasionally taking sides with the government over certain controversial labor issues such as his endorsement of the administration’s proposal to divert HK$29.3 billion in public funds into subsidizing employers in the course of scrapping the MPF offsetting mechanism.

Meanwhile, Leung’s good buddy and BPAHK partymate Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, who has already served four consecutive terms as a lawmaker representing the commercial (first) functional constituency in Legco, has remained tight-lipped about whether or not he is seeking re-election for the fifth time in 2020.

But while Lam is apparently still trying to make up his mind, there’s word coming out of the business circles that Swire Pacific, which has recently named a new chairman, is planning to flex its political muscles and may field its own candidate in the 2020 Legco election.

And it is said that Ivan Chu Kwok-leung, former chief executive of Cathay Pacific Airways and current chairman of John Swire & Sons (China) Limited, is by far the most likely choice of the British-owned conglomerate for a candidate.

Yet according to some sources in the business sector, Chu’s candidacy is far from a done deal as he has not made any decision yet on whether he is going to run for public office.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 2

Translation by Alan Lee with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]

JC/CG

Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe