Selling the aphrodisiac of political power and influence

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 April, 2007, 12:00am

Politics and vested interests seem an inseparable pair. Your piece, 'Former legislator becomes adviser to Regina Ip' (April 2), fittingly demonstrates this.

Former legislator Gary Cheng Kai-nam, who was released from jail in 2002 after his conviction on charges of abusing his position as a legislator to benefit his public relations firm, has made a political comeback.

He is providing behind-the-scenes advice to businessmen in Hong Kong on how to invest in politics as a way to consolidate their power and influence. Even the Savantas Policy Institute, headed by the former secretary for security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, is said to be listening.

Boasting his potency, Mr Cheng said his work included advising politicians on strategic planning and businessmen hoping to take advantage of political developments to benefit their businesses and increase their influence in public affairs. What an efficient catalyst!

It is ludicrous to think that Mrs Ip's policy think-tank would need advice from Mr Cheng, whose downfall was so obviously related to his own vested interests in politics. I would have thought that Mrs Ip's training at a top-notch university in the United States would have equipped her well in her own right.

If the motive behind Mr Cheng's engagement as a consultant is not for vested interests, it is hard to think of what else it could be.

Mr Cheng openly claimed that there were business conglomerates wanting to 'buy up' a political party and said he encouraged businessmen to start dipping into politics because, when universal suffrage arrived, it would be the main way for them to exert influence.

Could this be why so many in Hong Kong desperately want universal suffrage by tomorrow - as there seem to be immense benefits to be gained by those bulldozing it forward?

Mr Cheng is said to be advising businessmen in Hong Kong on how to make use of politics. Good luck to him. Power and influence seem to be an aphrodisiac in politics that few in the world can resist; and it's no different in Hong Kong.

Alex Tam, Sai Kung