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Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 10:36

DAB young gun Edward Lau takes up baton

By Joseph Li in Hong Kong
DAB young gun Edward Lau takes up baton
Edward Lau Kwok-fan, who has secured a seat in the next term of the Legislative Council as the uncontested winner in the District Council (First) functional constituency, has asked the government to devise measures to minimize the problems caused by cross-boundary couriers. (Edmond Tang / China Daily)

Edward Lau Kwok-fan, from the second rung of the ladder of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), has secured a seat in the next term of Legislative Council as the uncontested winner in the District Council (First) functional constituency.

Taking over the LegCo seat from party veteran Ip Kwok-him, Lau will continue his focus on his familiar portfolio of transport, housing and lands at the legislative chamber, saying that they are important issues that affect all residents.

He said it is absurd that one lawmaker could drag down the Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill, which was supported by the majority of lawmakers and residents, while the private columbaria and fire services bills were also obstructed. “Residents who dislike filibusters should vote for pro-establishment candidates,” he appealed.

Lau, 35, has been a councilor in North District for three consecutive terms. In 2007 and 2011, he snatched 4,159 and 4,791 votes, respectively, and was also the city’s “Ballot King” in the 2011 district council election. He was uncontested in last year’s district council election.

As a district councilor, he urged Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim to open another queue for cross-boundary pupils applying for primary school seats that is separate from that of local children. He also asked the government to devise measures to minimize nuisance caused by cross-boundary couriers.

In this year’s LegCo election, he secured over 200 nominations from fellow district councilors and is returned as the only candidate.

Lau praised the DAB’s internal selection mechanism, saying it will be more widely used in future and be further refined.

“The mechanism comprises presentation of election platform, district services, poll ratings and debates. In the end, the party’s 117 district councilors chose the winner. Of the four candidates, I got more than half of the votes.

“It is a fair, objective mechanism that facilitates healthy competition, while allowing the aspirants to better prepare themselves. I have undertaken to go through the mechanism if I contest again. This motivates everybody because the incumbent will not automatically be chosen again while others will work harder next time,” he explained.

“The mechanism helps party development and reflects intra-party democracy. In ‘pan-democratic’ political parties, the candidates are only decided by a few top people, and some dispute the mechanism,” he added.

Though elected, Lau has to help colleagues contending in the New Territories East and District Council (Second) constituencies.

Besides conducting mock forums, he watches videos of election forums to see the performance of his colleagues and also of opponents to identify key issues. If colleagues do not answer a certain question well, he will remind them to answer better next time.

Retiring party veterans Tam Yiu-chung and Ip Kwok-him often advise the candidates and campaign for them, with Tam having visited almost the entire New Territories West. “They are very concerned, knowing this election affects our succession plan,” Lau said.

Recent polls said the DAB and pro-establishment teams would win two seats each in the “super seats” and Kowloon West constituency, but Lau is not overjoyed.

He commented: “Polls are for reference only. We fear if people believe in the polls and think DAB candidates will win, they will not vote for us. It is hard for a ticket to win two seats. Very often, a ticket that tried too hard to win two seats has ended up wasting many votes.”

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