Change of fortune for Ip after reform setback

Top News | Flora Chung 18 Mar 2016

Ip Kwok-him's appointment as executive councillor is a reversal of fortune for the pro-establishment camp "monitor" blamed for the defeat of political reform last June at the Legislative Council.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he is confident that with Ip's rich experience in Legco and district work, the lawmaker will "provide wise counsel in policymaking."

Ip said: "I think it's a big challenge and responsibility for me. I will definitely do my best."

Ip, 64, who is taking Starry Lee Wai-king's spot in Leung's inner Cabinet, has been a longtime member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. But he said he does not see himself as a DAB representative in Exco.

"Chief Executive Leung may have taken into consideration having DAB voices in Exco when he made the decision, but it's an appointment made personally based on trust," Ip said.

During his stand-up yesterday, Ip was interrupted by "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, who congratulated Ip on his new appointment.

But Leung also took a swipe at Ip for being older than his 42-year-old predecessor. "You have successfully refuted Darwin's theory of evolution," Leung said.

Ip, the DAB caucus convener, was dubbed the "monitor" for coordinating meetings for the pro- establishment camp to discuss solutions to the pan- democrats' filibustering during the political reform row at Legco.

But a bungled walkout during a Legco session led to the reform proposal's defeat.

When Article 23 was introduced in Legco in 2003, Ip, who chaired the Bills Committee, was widely criticized. Nevertheless, he was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star the following year.

Ip, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, was elected as a functional constituency lawmaker in 2000.

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