Regina Ip eschews grass-roots vote

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 March, 2011, 12:00am

The freshly launched New People's Party is not interested in contesting for grass-roots or public housing constituencies, said chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.

The party was centre-right, she said, and unapologetic about its elitist image. Its board is filled with former senior government officials and business leaders. Its aim is to woo the middle class, professionals and civil servants.

'We are not planning to send anyone to run in constituencies dominated by public housing estates,' Ip said. 'We don't have the resources. Nor do we have the candidates suitable for that kind of community. Most of our candidates are either young or of professional background.

'We are ... focusing on constituencies which are not the traditional strongholds of the DAB or the FTU ,' she said, referring to the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Federation of Trade Unions.

Ip said the party would field about a dozen candidates in November's district council elections.

'We are a bit right of centre,' she said of her party's position. That is similar to the stance of the pro-business Liberal Party and Economic Synergy. But Ip said her party was clearly distinct from them.

'We are more concerned with improving the overall business environment and restructuring the economy than protecting the interests of individual sectors.

'We put more emphasis on participation in direct elections. I am very glad to hear that the Liberal Party is not giving up on direct elections. But so far they are a party of functional representatives. And so is Economic Synergy. I am not aware of plans yet of Economic Synergy to take part in direct elections.'

The party said six new members had joined its board of directors, taking the total to 24. Among them were Jeremy Godfrey, former government chief information officer; Alfred Chan Cheung-ming, chair professor of social gerontology at Lingnan University; and Dr Sam Wong Chun-sing, chairman of the New Territories General Chamber of Commerce.

Ip's party would seek to put members on the Election Committee that chooses the chief executive and pursue seats in the Legislative Council. Recently Ip publicly hinted she could be a candidate for the chief executive - but said no decision had been made.

Her party would also act as a voice for civil servants, and intended to field several former civil servants in the district council elections.

'Clearly civil servants have realised that they need a voice in the district councils or Legislative Council,' she said. Ip pointed to last year's legislation that required a cut to senior civil servant salaries by up to 5.38 per cent. 'I raised concerns on their behalf. But I got very little support from the major parties, whether from the Democratic Party or the DAB. So civil servant unions were very disappointed, and they realised it's really time that they should have their own representatives.'