Accountancy group contesting Election Committee polls says ‘too early’ to declare if it backs CY Leung
Convenor of V18 Accountants, Ayesha Macpherson, says however that a ‘change’ is needed
A group of bigwigs from accountancy firms who formed a coalition to contest seats on the Election Committee for Hong Kong’s next leader has said they hear a “strong voice for change” in their sector.
But the group – known as V18 Accountants and widely regarded as pro-establishment – maintained it would not adopt the so-called “ABC” – Anyone But CY Leung – campaign initiated by some pan-democrats.
Yet, neither would they throw their weight behind Leung Chun-ying, saying it was “too early” to declare anything further.
Convenor of V18 Accountants, Ayesha Macpherson, said: “The current situation leaves a lot to be desired. We can hear a strong voice for change. But it is too early to talk about supporting Leung, or other possible candidates.
“New information may be available in the future, such as how he plans to make changes to some key initiatives.”
V18 Accountants comprises 18 members, some of whom are industry veterans.
Macpherson is a partner and head of tax services at KPMG China. Serving as the group’s co-convernors are Clement Chan Kam-wing, managing director at BDO Hong Kong, and Dennis Ho Chiu-ping, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Both Chan and Ho are former presidents of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
The trio won seats on the Election Committee in the last race.
In the 2011 polls, Macpherson led the A16 Alliance group and won 15 of the 30 seats in the accountancy subsector. She had nominated Leung’s rival Henry Tang Ying-yen. Ho was also part of A16 Alliance.
Macpherson is the wife of renowned economist and former Chinese University vice-chancellor Professor Lawrence Lau Juen-yee, who, as a local delegate of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, also sits on the Election Committee.
Chan was with another middle-of-the-road group Action 9, and had nominated Leung Chun-ying.
But Macpherson stressed that “the past is no indication”.
“Circumstances have changed. Our stances in 2011 were due to the prevailing situation. It is not appropriate to presume we would take a particular stance this time based on our stances last time,” Macpherson said.
The V18 Accountants members will not vote en bloc, according to Chan. He added that if they were elected to the committee, they would also consider the opinions of the general public, in addition to the sector’s views.
Meanwhile, another group from the pro-democratic camp, “ABCPA” – Anyone But CY and his Political Alliance – will field five candidates to contest seats in the subsector. Their campaign focuses on blocking Leung from another term.
Convenor Ronald Kung Yiu-fai criticised V18 Accountants for being evasive. “It is just basic to tell the voters your stance on Leung Chun-ying. The most important role of an Election Committee member is to elect the chief executive, the voters should know your views on the incumbent before they decide whether to vote for you or not,” Kung said.
Victor Wai Chi-kin, convenor of Democratic Action Accountants, said his group – which is fielding 21 candidates – would take a more “rational” approach.
“Our platform is universal suffrage for Hong Kong. We do not like Leung Chun-ying either. But we do not target a person. We target the system. If the system is not changed, whoever wins it will still not be okay.”
A poll will be held on December 11 to decide the 1,200-member committee that will elect a chief executive on March 26. Accountancy is one of the 38 subsectors representing various trades, professions and social and political bodies. There are 62 candidates contesting 30 seats.