Union body looks for clean politicians

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 April, 2012, 12:00am

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Rising political stars in the Federation of Trade Unions have been warned to avoid scandals like those that plagued the chief executive election.

If they had made mistakes, would-be contenders 'should either come forward to admit them or stay at home and opt not to pursue a career in politics', its honorary president, Cheng Yiu-tong, said.

Cheng said his warning was directed at eight key emerging talents and 12 other unionists groomed by the Beijing-loyalist union body since last year for the September Legislative Council elections.

'A politician should be [scandal-free] and transparent ... If you did something wrong or morally unacceptable in society, please clean it up. As to how to clean it up, you have to think about that yourself. You should not wait until others expose it,' Cheng said. Critics said a string of scandals ahead of last month's chief executive election led to a smear campaign.

Cheng, one of two new honorary presidents of the 368,000-member federation, said it hoped to raise HK$20 million to fund its campaign for September's election and the grooming of political talent. He called on members to donate at least HK$10 each.

He said earlier that with the number of Legco seats rising from 60 to 70, the federation, which now has four seats, aimed to contest all five geographical constituencies, one of the five new seats in the functional constituency for district councils and two seats in the labour functional constituency. Yesterday the federation's new president, Lam Shuk-yee (pictured), would not say how many candidates it intended to field, nor how many slates it would group them in.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong has set up a committee headed by National People's Congress deputy Maria Tam Wai-chu to select candidates for chief-executive-elect Leung Chun-ying's administration. DAB lawmaker Ip Kwok-him said the committee, consisting of seven to eight members, would convene this month to discuss details.

'The criteria will include their profession, social participation and experience in direct elections ... moral standards also count,' he said.

He had reservations about recruiting district councillors to join the administration, since the party feared it might lose the resulting by-elections.