Democrat contenders say they're poles apart

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 December, 2011, 12:00am


Both are veteran lawmakers committed to democratic reforms but the two contenders for the pan-democrats' chief executive nomination - to run in a race they cannot win - say they are very different.

Frederick Fung Kin-kee, of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL), said there were 'qualitative differences' between his political platform and that of Albert Ho Chun-yan, the Democratic Party chairman.

'While they may be calling for changes in policies, I advocate a change in the mechanism,' said Fung, who has based his campaign on 'fighting for justice for Hong Kong'.

'For example, in terms of housing policy, Ho and the other candidates may have all demanded 25,000 Home Ownership Scheme units be supplied each year, but I call for a change in the mechanism for allocating the units - freeing our market which is no longer free.'

Fung said both pro-Beijing candidates are perceived as having close ties with the business sector - Henry Tang Ying-yen is backed by many financial heavyweights while Leung Chun-ying is a surveyor who has served many developers.

'Such a chief executive would only make Hong Kong tilt more towards property development and finance,' Fung said.

While the ADPL is seen as the most moderate component of the pan-democratic camp, its 'negotiation and confrontation' approach has been criticised by Ho as a 'burden' in the bloc's fight for democracy in the chief executive race.

'I do not have a home return permit and I have always been a member of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China,' said Ho, referring to the group branded as subversive on the mainland. 'I have less of a burden [in fighting for democracy].'

This is despite the Democrats' negotiations with the central government which in June last year led to their support for the government's electoral reform package. Fung also voted for the package.

While both are prominent politicians in the pan-democratic camp, Ho said he and his party were more representative than Fung's.

'The public can judge from our power of advocacy and our work throughout the years,' said Ho, citing his work in the concern group for human rights lawyers. 'Compared with the ADPL - a party active only in Sham Shui Po - the Democratic Party is a more effective body.'

Compared with Fung's 'justice' platform, Tang's 'humanised government' and Leung's 'engagement' model, Ho said his manifesto is centred on an 'equity agenda'. 'We need a fair society with equitable sharing of the fruits of economic development,' said Ho, who will unveil his manifesto today. 'Ultimately you need democracy to achieve it.'