Property tycoon Li Ka-shing yesterday called on shipping magnate Tung Chee-hwa to make public his intention to contest the post of chief executive. 'I think he should [come out and join the race],' Mr Li said. '[News of his candidature] has been circulating for some time. The general response has been quite good.' Speaking at a business function yesterday, Mr Li again rejected criticism of giving the top handover post to a businessman. It would only be good for the future Special Administrative Region if it was governed by a businessman who knew what the economy was and how to increase employment, he said. 'Hong Kong is not a political city but an economic one. We have to maintain a sound economy in future. There won't be a problem if [the businessman] does not have too many complicated links within his sector,' he said. One of the major criticisms of Mr Tung's candidature was his alleged close connections to Mr Li, including the Oriental Plaza project in Beijing. But Mr Li maintained the project was the only joint development with Mr Tung. He accused those critics as having 'ulterior motives'. Speculation was rife that Mr Tung was likely to make a statement this week to confirm his interest. He held talks with pro-Beijing unionists, Tam Yiu-chung and Chan Yuen-han, on Monday to gauge their views on grassroots issues. Mr Li said the chief executive should be able to work for the interests of Hong Kong people, implement the Basic Law and develop good relations with the central Government.