A post-handover chief executive closely associated with a particular business group would encourage suspicions of favouritism, Preparatory Committee member Tsang Yok-sing warned yesterday. He appeared to be suggesting that Tung Chee-hwa, Vice-Chairman of the Preparatory Committee, was not an appropriate person for the post. Mr Tung, seen as China's favoured candidate, is chairman of Orient Overseas Container Lines. He is said to have the support of Cheung Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing. In RTHK's Letter to Hong Kong, Mr Tsang said the business community considered the choice of the chief executive crucial for maintaining a level-playing field. People took it for granted that under a British colonial government all businesses were treated as equals, but British hongs were more equal than others, Mr Tsang said. '[But] when it is 'Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong', investors will not be as willing to tolerate any favouritism on the Government's part, whether towards the British, the Chinese or any local businessmen.' He added: 'It will be impossible to avoid suspicions of favouritism if the head of the Special Administrative Region government is closely associated with a particular business group.' Mr Tsang backed an early appointment of the chief executive-designate, saying it would dispel some of the 'most tormenting' uncertainties about the change of government. He also suggested the Preparatory Committee work quickly to decide how to form the Selection Committee, which would pick the chief executive and the Provisional Legislature. Mr Tsang said it was planned to have the chief executive chosen by the end of this year. But the Preparatory Committee was unable to lay down rules for the formation of the Selection Committee until the middle of August. That would leave less than four months to form the Selection Committee and choose the chief executive. Fellow Preparatory Committee member Allen Lee Peng-fei yesterday said the Committee should also look at arrangements for the district boards and municipal councils which China will dismantle at the handover. Mr Lee said the Committee should start discussing the arrangements after finishing its work on the Selection Committee. A candidate for chief executive should have the support of at least 50 Selection Committee members, and the list of their supporters should be made public, he said.