Two tycoons have voiced support for a statutory minimum wage, signalling a turn of the tide in the business community, which has harboured long-standing reservations about the move. Chan Wing-kee, former president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association and a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said he backed the idea of legislating on a minimum wage because there was a need to protect the interests of low-income workers. Mr Chan, a member of the task group under the Commission on Strategic Development on helping disadvantaged families, gave his views at the group's meeting last month. It is understood that Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, vice-chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties who is also a member of the task group, expressed support for a statutory minimum wage in a submission to the group. Speaking on the RTHK phone-in programme Talkabout yesterday, programme host and task group member Robert Chow Yung said two prominent businessmen had expressed support for drawing up minimum-wage legislation. 'They are top members of the business sector. One of them attended the meeting and said he supported a statutory minimum wage, while the other one, who was absent, voiced his support in a written submission,' he said, declining to name them. A fellow task group member, who read the submission, confirmed that Mr Kwok backed the idea of a minimum wage in his submission. But a spokeswoman for Sun Hung Kai Properties did not comment on whether Mr Kwok had written the submission. She said the company was in full support of the 'wage protection movement' under which employers are asked to pledge to pay cleaners and security guards no less than the median wage. The spokeswoman said more than 90 per cent of cleaners employed by the company and its contractors were paid up to the average wage rates adopted by the voluntary movement. 'The salary level for the remaining 10 per cent will also meet the average wage rates within this year, as they will have a pay rise.' Mr Chan said some developing countries had introduced a statutory minimum wage. 'Hong Kong is an advanced society and should have this legislation too, especially when the gap between the rich and poor is widening. There is a need to do something to protect the interests of the poor and low-income groups.' Asked if the government should introduce minimum-wage legislation, Mr Chan said it was a good start that the administration was considering drawing up such legislation which would first cover cleaners and security guards. 'But eventually Hong Kong should have a statutory minimum wage covering all sectors,' he said. Executive Council convenor Leung Chun-ying, who had earlier voiced his support for a statutory minimum wage, said: 'More and more businesses are reported to be in support of the idea of a minimum wage.'