Regina Ip's institute in first public foray with voter registration drive

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 January, 2007, 12:00am

The think-tank set up by Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, the former Security Bureau chief, will conduct its first public event in Kwun Tong today, a move widely seen as a first step to her contesting next year's Legislative Council election.

The Savantas Policy Institute will hold a voter registration drive at the Shun Lee disciplined services staff quarters. Mrs Ip, Savantas' director of policy development Ronald Chan Ngok-pang and volunteers will promote the importance of exercising the right to register as voters.

Mrs Ip has distributed a letter, via the Police Inspector's Association's website, encouraging her 'ex-colleagues' to register and thanking them for their support.

'We know [the disciplined services] are quite supportive, so we thought that might be an appropriate place to start,' Mr Chan said. 'Charity starts at home.'

The institute, established last July when Mrs Ip returned from studying abroad, is considered a vehicle for her to re-enter politics. Expectations that she will contest the Hong Kong Island constituency next year were raised when Savantas opened its first community centre this month in Pok Fu Lam.

Mr Chan denied today's activity constituted election campaigning by Mrs Ip. He said: 'Savantas is not going to become a political party,' he said.

Ivan Choi Chi-keung, a political analyst at Chinese University, interpreted today's event as an attempt to increase Mrs Ip's media exposure and bolster her support base.

'She's not going to run in Kowloon East. But it's a first step towards establishing connections and to show she hasn't forgotten old colleagues.'

Kowloon East lawmaker Chan Kam-lam, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said it was a 'good thing' to encourage greater voter participation. Of 5.7 million adults in Hong Kong, 3.2 million have registered to vote.