Pro-Beijing lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun has said he will not make any decision to withdraw from the New People’s Party before February or March next year, in response to rumours.
The party’s chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee previously showed interest in running in the Chief Executive election set for March 26 next year. Ip, an Executive Councillor, was asked on Monday at a forum to confirm a rumour that she may resign from the Council on December 14 to run for the top job. She responded by saying that the question put her in a difficult position and she will make an announcement at an appropriate time.
Asked if he can confirm the rumour on a Commercial Radio programme on Tuesday, Tien said: “As a member of the party, even if I know, I should not talk about it. This is her personal matter – I should shut up and speak less.”
The relationship between Tien and Ip was reportedly tense as Ip originally supported Tien in running for the seat of Legislative Council president, but she did not support the suggestion of a secret ballot primary between pro-Beijing parties, and ultimately supported Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen for the presidency.
Tien said that there is a lot of uncertainty in the recent political scene, including the future of his party and Ip’s decision.
“Even if I have made a decision about [whether to withdraw from the party], it is certain that I will not announce it before February or March next year, since I do not want to be unloyal,” he said.
On Monday, Tien tabled a non-binding motion urging the government to postpone Hong Kong Disneyland’s HK$10.9 billion expansion plan. It was passed. Tien suggested to postpone the expansion while negotiating with the company to change the “unequal terms” of the agreement.
Tien said on the radio programme that the number of tourists to Hong Kong has fallen and questioned whether it was the right timing to expand the park.
He said it was unfair that the government was required to pay around HK$50 million in management fees and an estimated HK$200 million in royalties – the exact amount was never disclosed by Disney – each year. He added that the government does not have any power over the project and questioned why the government must hold over 50 per cent of the shares in the park.