Wednesday, December 2, 2015   

'Loose cannon' out to do REIT thing

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung has been working diligently on policy matters since the start of this Legislative Council term.

While continuing with his usual confrontational antics, "Long Hair" has also engaged in a solo filibustering effort on the government's old-age living allowance plan.

When Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor called to lobby him, he debated with her on the telephone.

Leung has also introduced a non-binding motion asking the government to buy back The Link REIT. This prompted Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung to issue an immediate denial of any such intention on the administration's part.

"Privatizing" The Link isn't feasible, either economically or politically, as it would require tens of billions of dollars in public money - much more than the capital raised when the real estate investment trust was first floated in 2005.

Cheung's statement was necessary to prevent any misunderstanding in the market about the government's intention and position.

A political analyst observed that looking at Leung's early track record, it's difficult to believe he would propose the buyback plan.

Years ago, when Leung and Cheung were both conducting their respective politics outside the establishment, no one could have foreseen they would one day cross swords within the lawmaking body.

Before his election in 2004, Leung was best known as an activist who staged dramatic protests outside Legco, burning effigies and mock coffins.

No one could have predicted he would one day take part in elections that would see him seated inside the chamber, and for multiple terms no less.

Slowly, the media have come to realize Leung is more than a destructive force that sabotages the establishment from within. He's also capable of serious politics.

To many political journalists, Leung is the real "loose cannon" inside Legco.

An example is his proposal to buy back The Link, a move that comes as a surprise - even for those who have known him for a long time.

Siu Sai-wo is chief editor of Sing Tao Daily

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