My Take

Cathay junket shows that Albert Ho Chun-yan is not so whiter than white

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 4:04am

Bravo, Albert Ho Chun-yan, you have proved yourself to be every bit as shameless, disingenuous and mendacious as any politician.

The PR disaster of the Cathay Pacific junket may have involved public figures across the political spectrum.

You may object that I am picking on Ho. After all, lawmakers from the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and Liberal Party also took part, among others.

But unlike Ho and fellow democrat and traveller James To Kun-sun, they never pretend to be whiter than white and holier than thou.

Ho, the former Democratic Party chief and occupant of one of the five so-called super-seats in the Legislative Council, is the only one who has gone out of his way to make misleading statements about the free trip to France.

Ho said: "The authority to [approve air operator's] licences lies solely with the government" and that lawmakers would not be giving Cathay any favours just because they were treated by the company.

Perhaps. But as has been pointed out, Ho is not just a legislator.

There is the small matter of Ho being a member of the board of the Airport Authority and that his tenure lasts till the end of 2015.

Those on the French trip have confirmed that Cathay management had repeated its opposition to granting an operator's licence to Jetstar Hong Kong, which could create a potential rival. That was what Ho's self-serving justification was referring to. Well, if not lawmakers, then surely the Airport Authority is an interested party, to put it delicately.

There is also the small matter of the proposed third runway, which of course Cathay and the Airport Authority support, and which unlike Jetstar's licence application, does require lawmakers' support.

Umm, is that a conflict of interest for Ho? Well, that's arguable, but we all know for pan-democrats like Ho, everything is a conflict of interest and corruption if it involves the government or its opposing camps.

But I am glad we have this controversy because it will teach some very naive Hong Kong people that pork-barrel politics, the you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours variety, is the one true universal constant in politics.