Ko must avoid spilling milk on infant formula
Joshua But and Tony Cheung
Everything happens for a reason, and that goes for Dr Ko Wing-man's soaring popularity, too. The secretary for food and health, making almost daily cameo appearances to quell fears about everything from cooking oil toxins to expired vaccines, has won the hearts of four out of every five people in a recent poll.
His new mission in fighting the infant formula milk shortage crisis could be trickier, however. In the past few days, Ko has been on the frontline delivering swift responses to assure the public of steady supplies, vowing to combat parallel trading and dubious sales practices.
But his position has vexed government doctors who have been promoting breastfeeding for years.
"It sounds weird as I'd thought he would take the chance to encourage mothers to breastfeed," a source said, adding that Ko's undersecretary, Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee, had spearheaded a breastfeeding movement before she joined the government.
It was also pointed out that the problem of parallel trading should fall within the job scope of Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung, not the Food and Health Bureau.
Now that Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is taking charge of the shortage crisis, Ko may be heaving a sigh of relief at having narrowly averted controversy.
Pro-business alliance dons a mass blue look
In a rare move, seven pro-establishment lawmakers gave up their business suits and opted for blue T-shirts at a Legislative Council meeting yesterday to debate on a motion of thanks for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's maiden policy address.
The dress code by the Business and Professionals Alliance was seen as an imitation of the pro-democracy camp's practice of wearing special outfits and bringing props into the Legco chamber.
Its chairman Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen denied they were speaking up for any political cause in particular, but were trying to promote their website, launched on Sunday, on which members offered "special tips" in the new Year of the Snake. That includes real estate and construction sector lawmaker Abraham Razack dishing out advice to buyers of second-hand property and Lau Wong-fat touting tourist attractions in Tuen Mun, where he is district council chairman.
Lau didn't appear at ease in his new "uniform", however, and took it off right after speaking to reporters. Seems like the pro-business alliance has a long way to go in appealing to the masses and the grass roots.
Counting the cost of a second term for CY
The chief executive is known for mincing his words, but at least on one thing he can speak clearly. When asked about his desire to seek a second term in 2017, Leung told ATV's Newsline: "That will be my target. But I will need the co-operation of everyone in Hong Kong, including Legco. Many of the issues we face will take more than five years to tackle."
Can this be seen as a declaration to run again? If so, he could be in trouble, since that could be the start of calculating his election expenses, by the day.