• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 7:52am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 December, 2013, 4:18am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 December, 2013, 4:18am

It's too early to care about whether Antony Leung runs for chief executive

Antony "Lexus" Leung Kam-chung stands a chance of becoming the next chief executive in 2017? Well, at least Fred Ma Si-hang says so.

An ex-commerce minister, Ma is best remembered for contributing to a penny-stock crash back in 2002. Since quitting government in 2008, he has been a director of Li Ka-shing's Husky Energy, Hutchison Port Holdings, Agricultural Bank of China, Aluminum Corporation of China, China Mobile and the MTR. Given his influence and connections, he is a man who knows these things. Leung may have a shot in 2017, but there is the small matter of possible universal suffrage.

But wait, it gets better. Failed chief executive candidate Henry "Basement" Tang Ying-yen yesterday threw his weight behind Leung, saying Leung is "qualified" for the top job. What is this, the revenge of the back-from-the-dead Tung Chee-hwa brigade? Mediocre as ministers, they want a second chance as kingmakers and as king. Leung quit in 2003 after he was exposed buying an expensive Lexus for his young wife, the Olympic diving queen Fu Mingxia, before he raised first registration tax on new vehicles. But what exactly did the career banker and later private equity guy accomplish as finance chief during his short two-year tenure? He was one of the brains behind Tung's austerity drive during those long years of deflation when the government had had several rare budget deficits, followed by conservative surpluses despite false official warnings.

He responded by cutting civil servants' salaries, justified for the upper echelon but affecting mostly those in lower levels, and reducing social expenditure, from health care and education to social welfare and university funding. A strong case can be made that the Tung-Leung team inflicted greater pain on the community than warranted. The pair would feel right at home in austerity-driven, growth-deficient Europe today. To revive the economy after the Sars outbreak, he helped come up with the wasteful HarbourFest fiasco.

He was, however, instrumental in creating the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (Cepa) with the mainland, which helped boost the local economy but whose benefits have consistently been overstated by officials. His record? It's less than stellar and at best ambiguous.


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This article is now closed to comments

John Adams
So Antony Leung was the genius behind Cepa?
Is that the same as the CEPA which so far has contributed 0.00001% to the local economy ?
PS : did I miss a couple of zeroes ?
I think Anthony Leung has a chance to be the next CE because I want my name flashes in SCMP’s front page too.
You know the guy has never uttered a word meaningful if he is indeed running and yet three news and one comment already appeared in SCMP. SCMP should instead get hold of the guy to size him up before one more story on him.
Mr. Bowtie do-nothing, Mr. Middle class Tsang, Mr. Basement Tang, and now Mr. Lexus Leung? lol....sounds like the cast of the bad guys in Batman... sadly, they've all affected HK for the worse all these years. How can anyone even give these guys press coverage?
Antony Leung has never and I really mean "never" displayed an ounce of compentency during his tenure as Finance Secretary...........why does anyone think he can do a big of good as a potential CE...........Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
CEPA boosted the local economy? Really?? Where and how may I ask? CEPA is just another govt PR slogan like "Asia's World City".
There is nothing ambiguous about Leung's record. It is a total failure.
Dai Muff
There is only one reason for his sudden high profile and increased press coverage. Beijing already has plans.
It's only cos he's a commie that he raising his head and also because the rest of the potential candidates are equally bad as him. Anyway he has LKS's vote from the number of directorships that guy has given him. Guess who'll be getting the favour returned if he's CE.
Leung could be a nice and smart person
If he runs, he has to tell what he learnt from Tung administration
and what he has learnt afterwards
Cepa isn’t effective because it’s several steps ahead of real time
“Rationalization” of civil service has resulted in structural disjunction
Life long learning and happy schooling are vacuous without practical support
Privatization of urban cleaning services enriches contractors
while petty officers being led by private operators
the people suffer dirty rubbish trucks and dirty streets
Whereas a clean government garbage truck used to serve the same street
which is now served by several, some mechanized
some with open tops for garbage collectors to practice slam dunk
working different schedules and they’re all dirty


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