• Tue
  • Sep 16, 2014
  • Updated: 1:12pm
NewsHong Kong

Antony Leung Kam-chung has chance at chief executive job, says Frederick Ma Si-hang

Former minister hopes Antony Leung will join race to be chief executive in 2017, even though he has laughed off rumours that he will stand

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 5:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 12:43pm


  • Yes: 25%
  • No: 75%
16 Dec 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 267

Former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung "stands a chance" of becoming chief executive if he runs in 2017, ex-commerce minister Frederick Ma Si-hang said yesterday.

Ma's comments about his old university classmate were made barely two weeks after Leung scoffed at rumours that he would stand for the top job.

They also came a day before Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying sets off to Beijing for his annual duty visit.

The city's leader is expected to meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang separately tomorrow and brief them on the latest economic, social and political developments in Hong Kong.

These will include the five-month process - started earlier this month - to gather public opinion on political reform. The chief executive is widely expected to get a renewed round of support from state leaders.

But on the sidelines of a public event yesterday, Ma said: "If there is universal suffrage [for the top job in 2017], I believe many capable people will be contesting.

"I don't know who they will be, but I do hope that people, for example those committed to Hong Kong, someone like Leung Kam-chung, and many others that you may be familiar with, will come out to run."

Ma worked with Antony Leung at JPMorgan Chase. Leung - who is 62 next month and is married to mainland diving star Fu Mingxia - will stand down as Greater China chairman at the US-based Blackstone Group to join Hong Kong developer Nan Fung Group as its chief executive in February.

This has prompted speculation he wants to develop a higher profile in the city's public affairs.

Chinese language newspapers reported that Ma had pledged to be Leung's campaign director if he decided to run. But analysts were quick to point out that this did not mean Ma had lost faith in the government.

On November 30, Leung broke a 10-year silence on politics and said he hoped to see progress on political reform.

But he laughed off what he described as "creative" rumours about him teaming up with Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing to run in the next election for chief executive.

Tsang yesterday said Leung had told him he had no plans to run. And when Ma was asked whether Leung had told him otherwise, he replied: "No, he didn't, but I think if he stands for election, he has a chance."

He declined to elaborate further on Leung's suitability.

Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at Chinese University, said Leung's experience in public administration would be a strong card in his hand should he decide to run.

"I think he has also learnt a lesson from mishandling the crisis [10 years ago]," Choy said.

He was referring to an episode in 2003 when Leung bought a Lexus car just weeks before he increased taxes on new vehicles.

The controversy ended with Leung stepping down just two years after he was appointed financial secretary. Ma was secretary for financial services and the treasury when Leung quit.

The story was updated at 11.25am on Monday December 16 to correct the name of Antony Leung Kam-chung's wife. It should be Fu Mingxia, not Wu Minxia. 


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This article is now closed to comments

i do not like his face
Another empty suit.
maybe he needs a new Lexus ?
Guess who dare to put pressure on a HK CE will-be. I think one of the immediate benefits from this rumour is that anyone in a top position will be relieved from some pressure from his current job. Perhaps all prospective HK CE candidates, particularly those who are under intense pressure in his current job, should come forward to put up his name as such to gain this advantage!
One of the local Chinese veteran critic pointed out in his column today that in China, an individual who is a patriot [loyal to one’s country] is synonymous with his/her loyalty to the CCP.
So here is the crunch- we have for the past year heard the unspecified criteria of anyone aspiring to the post of CE in 2017 should be at the least be a patriot of China, will it be known in the next 3 years, that necessarily these candidates, must also be loyal to the CCP? This is the test that the Basic Law needs, whether the CCP would be able to detach from China as an entity, or will it expect HK [CE candidates] to hold the same torch, at least until 2047?
I think Leung's wife is Fu Mingxia, although Wu Minxia is also a diving star.
Thank you very much for pointing this out! We just corrected it.
Fat Ma is completely out of his mind........stay in retirement and shut up!
Dai Muff
It is obvious. That is why they brought the puppet back out of obscurity.
One of the problems with the governments since the handover is that they contain too many people with high opinions of themselves that no one else shares.
I always thought Antony was a commie anyway.
I really doubt his chances given that he has been off the scene for so long and has not done anything creditable for a decade or so. The public is not particularly fond of him but he is really a person with good economic sense and I believe he devised policies that led HK out of its financial problems then. We were talking of a structural deficit then but he slashed government wages and part of the economic rebound is there because of him. CE?,Not a chance in my view but FS a certainty and much better than bumbling TSANG who cant even get his forecasts right. Not even close in fact.
There should be more pronouncements after what took place in few weeks ago by Leung – the center of speculation to warrant SCMP’s new coverage. There is no news except old news.
If Leung is behind this seemingly hoisting a testing balloon, I will tell the supporting team especially Choy, the political scientist at Chinese University that he must not broad brush a deep problem that will inhibit Leung’s run for CE forever. Choy must distinguish between a mistake on the job from character flaw of dishonesty on the job. I will not underestimate the intelligence of the public if they are in the position to vote. As a professor, you should lend your name most carefully.
If I have blown the team’s dream, so be it. Nixon never recover politically nor I expect Donald Tsang and Henry Tang.


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