A leader who inspires trust (now that's a rarity)

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 November, 2010, 12:00am

Executive Council convenor Leung Chun-ying told university students last week that a political leader should have his own ideas, moral values and reasoning, and at the same time be able to narrow differences in society.

In a speech titled 'Establish vision, narrow differences, seek consensus - the responsibility of political leaders' at the Chinese University, Leung made it clear that a good leader should not 'drift with the tide' and should never change his stance in order to win votes and popular support.

Many think his speech was well argued and well presented. It touched upon issues that concern most Hongkongers, such as housing, poverty, the economy, and the environment and conservation.

His views on a political leader's qualities and responsibilities were generally well received by the public. Eyebrows have been raised in political circles as many critics commented that it was a political blueprint through and through.

To be fair, Leung, who has firmly set his sights on the chief executive post, has been working diligently to boost his popularity over the past few years. He has spoken out against the administration on many policy issues.

His years of hard work have finally paid off. His popularity is at an all-time high and rising. His perseverance has certainly moved a lot of people, both inside and outside political circles. Compared to other potential runners for the top job, it appears Leung has to work doubly hard because of his heavy political baggage.

What makes his quest for the top job more difficult is the fact that he is a key member of Exco. Leung could have avoided this political blemish by resigning from the council. Without this baggage, he would be able to fully immerse himself in preparing for the chief executive race.

Nonetheless, we can't help but tip our hats to Leung for his sincerity and unwavering determination. He has moved us with his passion.

Leung is perfect to be a chief executive candidate. He has a go-getting attitude, a great mindset and follows his own path with confidence. He has gained trust and support from the central government. He has all the prerequisites for the job. His biggest advantage is the trust factor, something that other potential candidates do not have.

His speech at the university was direct and honest. It reflected the true picture of society. Unfortunately, this almost-perfect picture was spoiled during a question-and-answer session when he was asked about his views on Liu Xiaobo being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He immediately exposed his uneasiness by not answering the question directly and then suggested that paramount leader Deng Xiaoping should have received the peace prize.

Leung said: 'There is one thing I don't understand. If a Chinese was to take the Nobel Peace Prize, why was the first one not Mr Deng Xiaoping?'

He took a big risk in praising Deng for contributing to China's peace and prosperity but ignoring his role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Knowing that most Hongkongers would disagree with him on this, he still spoke his mind.

This proved his unshakable loyalty to Beijing and that he would never harm the interests of the central government.

Leung has Hong Kong's and the mainland's best interests at heart. He is wired to the city's pulse and understands local issues.

And, with such obvious blessings from Beijing, if he ever became the chief executive, it would not only make the job a lot easier, it would also make the lives of Hongkongers much more pleasant.

Albert Cheng King-hon is a political commentator. taipan@albertcheng.hk