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Monday, August 15, 2016, 01:26

DAB leader vows to better people’s lives

By Luis Liu
DAB leader vows to better people’s lives
Legislative Council election candidate Holden Chow poses for a photo with a big smile on his face. (Edmond Tang / China Daily)

Issues concerning people’s livelihood and Hong Kong’s future development should prevail during the Legislative Council (LegCo) election campaigns and future legislature debates, candidate for the District Council (Second) functional constituency and Vice-Chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) Holden Chow Ho-ding told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

Chow, 37, who is among nine hopefuls contesting the five “super seats” in next month’s LegCo elections, stressed that political issues are important, but he hoped voters would focus on issues that are more critical to the lives of residents.

He cited, as an example, the recent row over the controversial Link REIT — the property investment trust with the monopoly and advantage in running shopping malls and parking lots in most of the city’s public housing estates.

“Monopoly kills opportunities for small business owners and young entrepreneurs to climb up the social ladder,” Chow said, adding he had taken note of public complaints over the issue while serving as a member of the Islands District Council.

He argued that such a monopoly has an adverse effect on the people’s quality of life, and this may have contributed to their dissatisfaction with the incumbent administration. He warned that this could trigger a backlash from certain groups of people in various ways, such as registering irrational votes and resorting to radical protests.

Chow vowed to help optimize the newly enacted Competition Ordinance if he wins a LegCo seat by enabling small businesses and entrepreneurs to protect their interests through individual litigation. Currently, such legal disputes can only be filed with the Competition Commission.

He also pledged to prioritize housing supply, elderly care, family value, education, transport, and help create more opportunities for young people and seek their input in policy debates if elected.

On Hong Kong’s future development, creating a favorable environment for innovation and diversifying the economic structure are on the top of the list, he said.

A firm believer in the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, Chow urged young people to be rational, respect the rule of law, take society’s interest as a whole, and develop a broader horizon instead of just eyeing Hong Kong.

At the same time, curbing filibusters is also high on his agenda. He said he will propose amending the LegCo’s Rules of Procedure to lower the number of lawmakers who have to be present to form a quorum in reference to similar parliament regulations in the United States and Britain. He saw that as a precondition for smoothing operations in the legislature, as he had received numerous complaints against the stubbornness of some “pan-democratic” lawmakers in using the tactic.

“Putting aside political issues, many motions concerning people’s livelihood had also been delayed or aborted due to filibustering,” Chow said, citing a number of cases, such as the reform proposal on the Medical Council, the Copyright Amendment Bill and the long-awaited funding request for the Innovation and Technology Bureau.

He urged voters to elect candidates who want to change the current impasse. He hoped “pan-democratic” lawmakers can resume pragmatic negotiations to seek solutions instead of playing up problems, and he would like to be the bridge between the two sides.

“Both camps can surely cooperate on certain livelihood issues,” Chow said with confidence. “If I could offer a second opinion to my party or both camps and help work things out, that would do a lot of good in forging constructive relations.”

In various pre-election opinion polls, Chow was listed fifth or sixth among the “super seat” contestants — on the very edge of getting elected. He admitted the tough challenge ahead and vowed to continue serving the community whatever the result may be.

Chow studied in Britain after finishing Form 5 in Hong Kong. He was not particularly interested in politics until he entered the London School of Economics and Political Science in the late 1990s to study economics. He became a solicitor after returning to Hong Kong.

He joined the DAB in 2004 and was promoted to head the party’s youth committee — Young DAB — between 2009 and 2015. He was elected a party vice-chairman last year.

Nine candidates will be contesting in the District Council (Second) functional constituency. They are Lee Wai-king, Chow Ho-ding, Wong Kwok-hing, Chan Yuen-sum, Leung Yiu-chung, To Kun-sun, Kwong Chun-yu, Ho Kai-ming and Kwan Wing-yip.

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