Brotherly love in race for top job

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 May, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 May, 1996, 12:00am

Shipping magnate Tung Chee-chen has pledged unconditional support to his elder brother Tung Chee-hwa if decides to run for the post of the first chief executive.

The low-profile Executive Councillor and Preparatory Committee's vice-chairman, Tung Chee-hwa, has been widely tipped as one of the favourite candidates for the post.

'As brothers, of course we support each other. Whatever he does, I will support him.

'Whatever I do, he will support me too,' Mr Tung Chee-chen, vice-president and a director of Orient Overseas (International), said in an interview with the South China Morning Post.

His comments came after the Executive Councillor had reportedly told Beijing to count him out for personal reasons. It has been suggested that his wife did not want him to take the job.

Mr Tung Chee-hwa, chairman of Orient Overseas (International), has kept silent on the race.

Asked whether he thinks the chief executive's post put too much pressure on his elder brother, Mr Tung Chee-chen said: 'We encounter immense pressure every day. The international competition within the shipping industry is fierce.

'Whether the pressure is big or small, it's the same,' he said.

As the new second vice-chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Mr Tung denied that the recent row between Hong Kong businessmen and the Governor Chris Patten had politicised the chamber.

He reiterated it was only after they read Mr Patten's views on businessmen in Newsweek that they had written a letter to clarify the matter.

'This is not political. . .We just want to make our position clear. We are not willing to adopt a confrontational attitude.' Responding to Prime Minister John Major's reply that the business community owed Mr Patten gratitude, he said: 'The Governor is the head of Hong Kong. Isn't it his duty to work for everything in the interest of Hong Kong?'