‘Mad Dog’ is quitting politics. Will Regina Ip be next?
New People’s Party boss looks set to follow filibusterer-in-chief into political wilderness after her disastrous bid to become Hong Kong’s leader
The former Legco disrupter extraordinaire, Raymond “Mad Dog” Wong Yuk-man, is calling it quits. No one should be surprised since he lost to neophyte Yau Wai-ching of the localist group Youngspiration in the last Legislative Council election.
My guess is that the next one to follow will be Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee. Both belong to the same generation of politicians during a pivotal period in Hong Kong, though they have fought at opposite sides of the political fence. Both are in their mid-60s and have reached the end of the road.
The irony is that Wong suffered his humiliating election defeat at the hands of a 25-year-old, while Yau and her party colleague, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang, learned all the rude antics in Legco from the master himself. Yet, the pair promptly crossed the line and got themselves ejected from the legislature.
Wong, if he had won, would not have made the same mistake. As someone who actually reads the fine print, he knew Legco procedures and rules, and was familiar with the relevant laws. He helped make filibustering an effective anti-government tool for the opposition. He was also one of five pan-democrats who came up with the idea of resigning their Legco seats and then winning them back in a by-election as a referendum on democracy. Say what you will about him, the man knew the system and how to play against it.
Meanwhile, Ip suffered an even worse humiliation by failing to get the requisite 150 nominations from the Election Committee to run in the chief executive race. If she had at least managed to enter the election, her career may still have a way to go. Now people are abandoning her like rats from a sinking ship.
Her deputy in the New People’s Party, Michael Tien Puk-sun, has resigned, taking with him five other members who are also district councillors. Their abrupt departure is calling into question the viability of her party.
Ip has said she would not join the new government of Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, much her junior formerly within the civil service. She could keep her seat in Legco, but this has always been a stepping stone for her, not a goal in itself.
Too bad she went for the elusive chief executive job, when she would have made a decent president of Legco, rather than the hapless Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen. Well, no one should fault a woman for reaching beyond her grasp.