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Friday, December 16, 2016, 00:53

Regina Ip joins CE election race

By Joseph Li
Regina Ip joins CE election race
Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee announces her decision to join the Chief Executive race and reveals her campaign platform at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on Thursday. (Roy Liu/China Daily)

HONG KONG - Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, lawmaker and New People’s Party (NPP) chairwoman, announced on Thursday she will run in the Chief Executive election in March 2017, vowing to “win back Hong Kong” as her campaign slogan.

In her election manifesto, she said Hong Kong society had never before been torn apart and polarized after the 79-day illegal occupation in 2014, veto of the electoral reform last year, and the recent oath-taking fiasco of the Legislative Council.

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee announced on Thursday she will run in the Chief Executive election in March 2017, vowing to “win back Hong Kong” as her campaign slogan

Like most Hong Kong residents, she hoped the city could get back on the right track and said she chose to stand out to join in the race at this critical moment.

Ip, also an Executive Council member, was the first female director of immigration and secretary for security. She is the second well-known figure, after retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, to formally announce candidacy in the election.

On Monday, John Tsang Chun-wah tendered his resignation as financial secretary. Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has also said she will seriously consider participation following the dramatic change brought by incumbent CE Leung Chun-ying deciding against running for a second term.

On Wednesday night, NPP members endorsed at an extraordinary meeting Ip’s participation in the coming CE election. She personally submitted her resignation from the post of executive councilor to the CE.

Leung accepted her resignation and praised her for providing insights on various important issues, reflecting views from different quarters of the community and helping the SAR government to deliver policy objectives effectively since becoming an ExCo member in October 2012.

The most renowned of those attending Ip’s campaign rally were former acting governor David Akers-Jones and entertainment tycoon Allan Zeman.

Ip has appointed a retired government official, former deputy director of administration Miranda Chiu, as her campaign manager, but she did not disclose other members of her campaign team.

Outlining her election platform, Ip vowed to rationalize Hong Kong and mainland relations and make the most of the unique advantage of “One Country, Two Systems”. She also vowed to improve executive-legislative relations and to engage the opposition in public governance, and also to grasp public opinions more quickly and effectively.

She divided her policy platform into nine major areas, including housing and lands, narrowing the wealth gap, removing the offsetting mechanism under the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme, retirement protection and reopening electoral reform.

“The land and housing supply shortage is the most pressing problem, as the queue for public housing is nearing 300,000 people, while about 200,000 people are living in subdivided flats,” she pointed out. Saying the current government has done a lot to resolve land and housing shortages, she proposes a range of short-, mid- and long-term measures to tackle the problems.

Ip also proposed to make maximum use of the fiscal reserves. In particular she suggested the government should cancel the MPF offsetting mechanism, which has been one of the biggest social issues for years, with the government footing the bill by repaying relevant employers and employees the severance and long-service payments that were offset before December 2000 (around HK$30 billion).

“If I am elected, I am willing to reopen political reform on the basis of the decision that the National People’s Congress Standing Committee made on Aug 31, 2014, because only a Chief Executive mandated by the people with the baptism of universal suffrage is more thankful and responsive to people’s view,” she added.

Ip also said Hong Kong needs to enact a national security law to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law to fulfill its constitutional duty.

joseph@chinadailyhk.com

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