• Sat
  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 4:49pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 May, 2014, 4:24am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 May, 2014, 4:24am

'Lexusgate Leung' has had his chance at political office

Antony Leung Kam-chung is, once again, being floated as a possible candidate for the next chief executive.

Now that's a scary thought. If the rumour is true, the moneyman turned finance chief turned moneyman again wants to be our next leader. It would be like Tung Chee-hwa part deux, without the indisputably gentlemanly virtues of the old man.

Now, I am not worried about "Lexusgate", Leung's purchase of a luxury car before raising the new vehicle tax in 2003. It could have been an oversight; or he was just greedy. It's his policy records we should worry about.

Despite his relatively short tenure, Leung helped Tung impose austerity budgets, civil service job cuts and wage reductions that contributed to deepening the deflation and prolonging the recession.

The duo undermined the public social service sector - in health care, education and social welfare - with dire consequences we are still living with. They damaged the civil service by pretending to run the government on a business model.

A particular vice of the Hong Kong elite is that if you are good at making money, they think you are good at doing everything else, like running a government, which actually has its own set of priorities as its stakeholders are not shareholders, but citizens.

Couple this vice with the so-called new public management philosophy that Tung and Co. inherited from the Brits, and you have the government-as-business model on steroids.

Healthcare, education and welfare cuts hurt the poor, sick and elderly. Cost-cutting undermined government services. Contracts awarded through competitive tendering - with the jobs often going to the lowest bidders, especially those involving public housing, street cleaning and waste disposal - led to widespread malpractice and exploitation of low-paid workers who took over from government employees.

Tung and Leung were firm believers in the then global economic consensus that in a recession the public finances must be balanced, with spending reined in to restore confidence and stability, and pain needed, imposed through austerity.

Leung has had his chance. Let's not give him another shot.

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virokick
Looking at Anthony above in this picture - he looks to me like an evil Pinocchio. He is not CE material , only a puppet on strings who justifies well fare cuts. It's not his nose that grows long when he lies - it's something else, when he sees young swimsuit Chinese divers.
This man is hugely to blame for subdivided flats and cage homes in the city.
Good riddance he's out , now he as CE???
mercedes2233
Another Govt minister is still in office despite calls for him to step down for property-related matters. Antony Leung had the 'grace' to step down, and may be said to have paid the penalties for his error. Let him stand this time if he wishes, in the interests of equal opportunity and forgiveness etc. Whether he will win is another matter and off our hands.
chuchu59
I don't think LEUNG stands a chance to be elected as CE. His financial prowess is much better than TSANG and simply on that comparison he is only FS material. However, as many are advocating non-screening of candidates this guy also needs to be given a chance. If the HK public votes him into office which I doubt, then tough luck to us.
pslhk
Joe Kennedy wasn't appointed to head the new SEC because he was saintly
Leung's trackrecord is scary, he is simply no JPK
virokick
Apart from Lexusgate or the lust of power and money that brought this man down , its his lust for young Chinese swimsuit divers-27 years younger than him.
This is the man that socialist should guillotine.
But HK needs more socialism to make a fairer society. Indeed this is the man that put our public housing, healthcare and education in a mess that it is today.
The young swimsuit Chinese diver must have fallen for his good looks, good brains and most importantly his good money.
whoaman
Good looks? All it was is money.
chaz_hen
And a ticket out of the mainland and its sports machine that grinds athletes and spits them out when they are of no use anymore...
OldPeak Toad
Spoken like a true socialist Mr Alex Lo!
whymak
Mr. Lo,
Of all things one could pick on Antony Leung, only morons would use the Lexus-gate red herring.
Let me add some ammunition to your critique of Mr. Leung's political savvy, or the lack of it.
In 2007, he advised CIC, a management arm of China’s FX reserves, to buy 10% of Blackstone's IPO at a small discount (4%?). The closing price on the opening day was 35 and change. Today, BX closed at 28.52. Even with the small 1% plus dividend yield, this is 7-year dead money for CIC. Worse, he is now a front man trying to sell Blackstone’s London real estate holdings to China.
Don’t just blame Chinese corruption. Investment bankers are through and through crony capitalists who ply their businesses on clubby networks. Leung is just doing his own thing. Hopefully, Xi Jinping’s advisors are keeping an eye of CIC dealings with Stephen Schwartzman and Leung.
With so much insider information at finger tips, is Mr. Leung good at investing his own money ? I don’t know. One thing for sure, he is good at aggrandizing himself with other people’s money. The broker is always profitable while you go broke.
Now an admission from yours truly. I was stupid enough to endorse his appointment to become financial secretary. I cut my teeth on finance by frequently rendering fairness opinions of M&A at my firm. Goes to show that thoughtful people could be often wrong in this business.
That why I am scared sh*tless that know nothing morons might someday occupy high offices via elections.
mercedes2233
Only if more morons will vote him in.

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