Another political chance awaits ADPL veteran
Frederick Fung looks ready to leave the party he helped found to run as an independent, and his career in politics may well take a different turn
It has been rumoured for many weeks that pan-democratic old guard Frederick Fung Kin-kee is ready to abandon ship. Now, it looks like he is finally ready to announce he is resigning from the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, a party he helped found and of which he remains the boss.
He appears to be preparing to run as an independent candidate in the upcoming Legislative Council by-election.
Between Fung and the opposition, there is no love lost. He failed to win re-election in the 2016 Legco poll. Before the by-election in March, he came second in the so-called primary of the opposition camp and would have served as a backup to leading candidate Edward Yiu Chung-yim, who subsequently lost anyway.
However, Fung later claimed he was told by opposition figures to quit the race, otherwise another rival would be put in place to run against him. For opposition unity, he duly quit, but the breach was irreparable.
By quitting his own party, he would be free from having to compete again in a primary in which he could expect no support from opposition bosses.
There has already been an exodus of key members from the ADPL. Fung’s expected departure is likely to deal a death blow to the three-decade-old party, which focuses on labour and livelihood issues for the grass roots.
For weeks now, the knives have been out for him from the opposition. Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, of the Civic Party, has said he no longer considers Fung a pan-democrat. Apple Daily’s yellow-ribbon columnists and Andrew To Kwan-hang, formerly of the radical League of Social Democrats, have been telling unflattering stories about him.
The next question, if Fung really makes himself an independent candidate, is whether he would go down the routes of Ronny Tong Ka-wah, once a Civic Party steward who now sits in the government’s Executive Council, and Law Chi-kwong, the secretary for labour and welfare who was, for a long time, a card-carrying Democrat.
Deserted by his opposition colleagues, Fung’s political career is effectively over. But as a long-time pan-democratic holdout, he still has propaganda value for the government.
His switch would demonstrate the readiness with which the government wants to make nice with opposition politicians as well as show all the wonderful things that await them if only they would stop being obstinate and intransigent.
Fung may yet have a second chance in politics.