Vote for accountants' governing council adds political flavor

Local | Angel Kwan 10 Dec 2019

The election for the governing council of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants has been politicized, with 15 candidates contesting seven seats based on their stance toward the social unrest.

More than 40,000 members of the institute were able to vote from November 27 until 5.30pm yesterday. The votes were still being counted last night.

The institute, which is the only body authorized to register and grant practicing certificates to certified public accountants, is facing an important reform that calls for one member, one vote in the election of its president.

Six of the 15 candidates are pro-democracy who have promised to handle its internal affairs more democratically, while seven are more conservative who would follow tradition and maintain a better relationship with pro-establishment camps. Only two candidates are considered independent. All Big Four accounting firms - Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and KPMG - have sent identical lists of pro-establishment candidates to staff, according to Bloomberg.

These candidates are Jacky Lai Wan-fung, Roy Leung Sze-kit, Webster Ng Kam-wah, Alec Tong Chi-chiu, Tse Hoi-fat, Wong Kim-man and Edward Yuen Siu-bun.

The six pro-democracy candidates are William Cheung Wai-lun, Janos Choy Kai-sing, Ernest Fung Ling-yip, Rosalind Lee Suk-yee, Louis Leung Man-chun and Ken Li Kin-hang.

The independents are Florence Poon Man See-yee and Cheung Man-kei.

Pro-establishment council members have long dominated the institute, but their power has weakened in recent years, especially after five pro-democracy members were elected in 2017 to the 21-member council.

More than 100 members signed a petition in March last year urging the institute to convene a special meeting to discuss and vote on the three demands they raised.

Those were removing the allegedly overpaid former chief executive Ding Wai-chuen from office, returning the remaining cash reserve to members, and one man, one vote to elect the institute's president.

The three demands passed at the special meeting and the first two have been implemented but not the last.

Pro-democracy candidates had advocated universal suffrage and for the institute to take a stance on social issues.

angel.kwan@singtaonewscorp

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