Tired Emily Lau still considering political future

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 March, 2008, 12:00am

Veteran legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing is still considering whether she will stand in September's Legislative Council election.

Despite her passion for politics she is tired after 17 years in the Legco trenches.

Her departure could mean The Frontier might not have a candidate to field in the September poll.

Ms Lau, who represents New Territories East and in 1991 was the first woman to be directly elected to the legislature, said the political group would soon discuss her future.

But she said: 'If I do something else to promote democracy, it will be perfectly okay with me.'

Ms Lau said she had not been keen to run in 2004.

'It is more or less the same this year, though some members say that if I do not run, there will be no representative from the group,' she said.

Despite the fact that no one in the lobby group is considered 'ready' to contest the fierce battle for a geographical seat, Ms Lau, 56, said she would have no regrets if she stood down.

'We cannot have regrets now ... The Frontier has not done much work on [developing second-tier members] and members are not particularly enthusiastic about the seat, so what is the point of feeling regret? I never say regret.'

Ms Lau is the group's only legislator.

She said The Frontier, founded in 1996, was a lobby group, not a political party.

People who were politically ambitious or aiming to run in elections should join other parties that were more capable of funding them and providing resources.

The pro-democracy camp lawmaker said she did not fear losing the seat to the pro-Beijing camp if The Frontier did not field candidates.

'I see the matter from a wider perspective,' she said.

'My absence would not mean losing the seat to the pro-Beijing camp. There might be candidates from the democratic camp.'

But she said there was no guaranteed 'succession' for new faces joining the race.

Ms Lau stood as an independent in New Territories East in 1991 and was elected to the colonial legislature.

She successfully defended her seat in 1995 but stepped down when Beijing set up a provisional legislative council in 1997. But she was re-elected in 1998, 2000 and 2004.

Ms Lau was a journalist before getting into politics and chairwoman of the Journalists' Association.