A RISE in anti-wealth sentiment would jeopardise Hong Kong's future, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) said yesterday. DAB legislator Chan Kam-lam indirectly criticised the Democratic Party for attacking property tycoon Li Ka-shing. 'In the past year, Mr Li Ka-shing was attacked and picked on by certain political parties, so he has deep understanding and experience of the situation,' Mr Chan said on an RTHK forum. Mr Chan, however, criticised Mr Li's decision to halt a $10 billion investment project because of an 'unfavourable political environment'. 'Such mentality is regrettable,' said Mr Chan. 'I don't necessarily agree with such a pessimistic response. 'If we persisted with anti-business or anti-wealth sentiments, it would not be good for society,' Mr Chan said. But the Democratic Party said the business environment was changing not because Hong Kong was becoming increasingly political but because the economic downturn had made Hong Kong's future seem bleak. Democrat legislator Sin Chung-kai said Mr Li was practising double standards when he criticised some people for not respecting the rule of law, but yet did not report the kidnapping of his son by 'Big Spender' Cheung Tze-keung. Mr Sin said more democracy was the only way out for Hong Kong. 'Because of backward steps in democracy since 1997, some conflicts cannot be reasonably solved in the Legislative Council. 'Therefore certain incidents have to be solved through people taking to the streets and or through petitions. 'I do not hope to see Hong Kong becoming Indonesia or Malaysia, where there have to be riots before political problems can be solved,' he said. Leung Wai-kin, an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong, said high interest rates were making the business environment unfavourable. 'Singapore's interest rates are five per cent. Our banks have just cut interest rates and they are still at nine per cent,' said Mr Leung. 'Hong Kong banks have a cartel and I think interest [rate] agreement is a big problem. A lot of people have money, but they are scared to spend because they don't feel the economic future is positive.' Mr Leung said the Government needed to discuss the problem with banks and to strengthen its assistance to small and medium-sized businesses.