Leung Makes Poll Pitch

28 Nov 2011

Immigration News

Leung Chun-ying yesterday kicked off his campaign to become chief executive by portraying himself as a devoted family man, a consistent friend and a dedicated professional who rose from humble beginnings.

The former Executive Council convener compensated for his lack of heavyweight supporters in the banking, financial and property industries by stressing his ability to reach out to people from different sectors including the man in the street.

Leung, 57, appeared to choke back tears when he mentioned his late mother, saying she was a traditional woman with bound feet who nevertheless carried heavy loads to and from factories to make plastic flowers to support a family of five.

His background will help him map out changes for the next generation, he said, as Hong Kong comes under increasing pressure from a rapidly changing China and a rapidly changing world.

"The desire for change in our society is getting stronger by the day. It is my hope that I can make use of this opportunity to work together with the people of Hong Kong to tackle these challenges," Leung said in a hall of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, surrounded by more than 200 supporters.

"Together we shall build a more prosperous, just and advanced Hong Kong, a community into which I was born and raised."

To ease doubts about the changes he is contemplating, Leung said: "What we need now is certainly not drastic reform. What we need is change, but change while preserving stability. We do not need changes that come with a bang. Instead, we need to prudently and diligently carry out appropriate adjustments to our policies, promote advancement in governance and foster social development so the entire society will benefit.

"Hong Kong needs new hopes and a new outlook; we need vision and core values. We also need effective leadership."

He ended with his election slogan: "One heart, one vision for Hong Kong."

To highlight his contacts and personality traits, 10 supporters made brief speeches, starting with former chief secretary David Akers-Jones. His former history teacher, Peter Yeung Shu-ming, said Leung is a man who "speaks little but speaks with action."

Wilson Yip Hing-kwok, who was the chairman of the Amoy Gardens owners' committee when SARS struck the estate in 2003, said Leung took the initiative to help them fix the drainage problem in what had become a "ghost city" to stop the spread of the virus - a contribution that was never publicly acknowledged.

Christina Wong Ming-yan, a visually impaired music artist and a recipient of the 2008 Ten Outstanding Young Persons award, said Leung is a father like figure who supports young people. "He never labeled us the 'post-80s generation,"' Wong said. "He has high moral standards."

Leung also stressed his grassroots background and the fact he was never involved in any "stray" relationships.

"I am blessed with a happy family, which gives me the incentive to dedicate more effort into serving the greater Hong Kong family of seven million," Leung said in a video clip shown to the audience.

His wife and eldest son, who is studying for a PhD at Cambridge University, stood alongside Leung.

Leung firmly denied speculation he is a secret member of the Chinese Communist Party. "I am not a communist. I never asked to be admitted, I never applied nor was I invited to join the party," he said in answer to a reporter's question.


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