The acting chief executive praises the sector for supporting his likely attempt to secure the top post Donald Tsang Yam-kuen yesterday thanked the religious sector after a leading Buddhist monk pledged support for his expected campaign to run for the chief executive's post. Mr Tsang, the acting chief executive, was attending an annual ceremony marking Buddha's Birthday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. A devout Catholic, Mr Tsang joined other religious leaders and took part in the ritual of pouring water over a Buddha statue. At a reception that followed, he was warmly greeted by leading Buddhists and representatives of five other mainstream religions - many of them members of the Election Committee. During a 10-minute talk with the Venerable Kok Kwong, chairman of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association, Mr Tsang discussed social and political developments and praised the Buddhist religion, stressing that he had made special arrangements to attend the occasion despite his busy schedule. 'Today is also a holy day in the Catholic Church and I came here right after going to church,' Mr Tsang said, referring to the Feast of the Pentecost. He was told by Sik Kok Kwong of his wish to maintain stability in the city. He thanked the monk when told about the religious sector's support for his likely bid to run for chief executive in the July 10 election. Mr Tsang has yet to announce his candidacy. Sik Kok Kwong told the South China Morning Post: 'He did not initiate the issue about his campaign, but when I told him the religious sector has lots of votes and will support him, he warmly thanked us for our support.' The monk praised Mr Tsang for being 'capable, compassionate and having great wisdom', saying that he would make a good chief executive. 'The religious sector has lots of votes and everybody supports Mr Tsang. Of course, we support him because he is so good,' he said. Compared to previous careful responses when asked about his possible candidacy, Mr Tsang's stance yesterday was seen as a step closer to a formal announcement that he will run for the top job. Ma Ngok, a political analyst at the University of Science and Technology, said: 'The religious sector is an important group which has unbalanced representation in the Election Committee over other groups. It is understandable for Donald Tsang to lobby for support in the guise of attending religious activities.' One religious sector elector who attended yesterday's function said most colleagues would definitely support Mr Tsang. Democratic Party chairman Lee Wing-tat, the only declared candidate, had not been in contact yet. Members of six mainstream religions in Hong Kong have 40 votes on the 800-member Election Committee. On a visit to Hong Kong last week, Yang Tongxiang, deputy director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, urged religious leaders to support Mr Tsang.