Leung's allies show dissent at rallies

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 July, 2012, 12:00am


In what looked like a case of 'if you can't beat them, join them', protesters from pro-establishment factions were seen among the rowdy crowds outside two town hall meetings yesterday, in a sign of discord in the coalition ahead of Legco elections.

Shortly before Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man arrived at the Lai Chi Kok Community Hall in Sham Shui Po, more than a dozen protesters from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) were involved in a stand-off with dozens of People Power supporters.

The pro-establishment supporters' actions signal a break from being the new administration's coalition partners in the Legislative Council poll in September.

With DAB district councillors and demonstrators chanting in support of the implementation of the special old-age allowance, they were all but drowned out by a larger crowd of People Power protesters who shouted: 'DAB ... the most shameful.'

Leung made a campaign promise to give impoverished elderly people HK$2,200 a month, while those aged at least 65 with less pressing financial needs would continue to receive HK$1,090 a month under the existing scheme.

At the meeting in Sham Shui Po, DAB district councillor Vincent Cheng Wing-shun asked Leung when the special allowance would be handed out.

Leung replied: 'Please rest assured that I have pushed the relevant departments to implement the special old-age allowance as soon as possible. We will announce it once the details are set.

'It is unnecessary that we must wait until the [February] budget and the [October] policy address. Policies of public concern ... will be put forward once they are ready.'

Meanwhile, during a visit to Sha Tin, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, the transport and housing chief, were greeted by protesters from the DAB and fellow pro-establishment camp Civil Force. Tsang shook hands with some protesters and received their petitions.

Civil Force councillor Scarlett Pong Oi-lan, who is considering contesting the New Territories East constituency in September, voiced concern over town planning in Tai Wai.

Outside the Hin Keng Neighbourhood Community Centre, also in Sha Tin, DAB district councillors Dr Elizabeth Quat, who will run in the New Territories East constituency in the Legco poll, and Yeung Man-yui also urged the government to look into town planning there.