HK Chief Exec: No decision on second term yet

HONG KONG • Mr Leung Chun Ying has said that he intends to wait until after September to decide whether to seek a second term as Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post, published yesterday, he described how much he enjoyed his job and ribbed those who often predicted his resignation.

When asked about the possibility of a second term, he stressed the importance of experience and shrugged off talk of a looming "Anyone but CY", also known as "ABC", campaign by his opponents.

"Well it's politics. ABC is not news. All the things about ABC are not one-dimensional," Mr Leung, 61, said.

"Five years ago, back in June 2011, I had not made up my mind. So now in June 2016, I have not made up my mind. There's still plenty of time."

Pressed on when he would decide, he said: "It may not be as early as September. As I said, (the last time) I didn't make my decision until I believe it was November 2011."

He indicated in September 2011 that he was "preparing to run" in the 2012 election and formally declared his candidacy in November.

"I have enjoyed my work every day in the past four years, despite the challenges. I enjoy seeing results. People may not talk about the positive results, the accomplishments every day, but you know they are out there."

Asked if he had an extra edge as an incumbent, he said: "A second term carries certain benefits... because experience is important."

His term ends next June.

Mr Leung also told the Post that his family was used to the pressure that came with his holding public office, dating back to his time as secretary- general of the Basic Law Consultative Committee in the mid- 1980s. "I'm not new to this game and my three children were born into these kinds of conditions," he said. "Sometimes I do feel they're put in an unnecessary spotlight and under unnecessary pressure, but I would say by and large, they are taking the pressure and the limelight well."

Asked if he had received positive signals from Beijing on his re-election, apart from the comments by Mr Zhang Dejiang when the third- ranking Chinese official visited in May, Mr Leung told the Post: "Mr Zhang has been very supportive of myself as the current Chief Executive."

While his predecessor Donald Tsang polishes his shoes as a way of relaxing, Mr Leung said he turns to gardening to unwind.

The former surveyor told the Post that he spends 20 minutes a day on gardening. He plants vegetables, melons, grapes, cactus and corn.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2016, with the headline 'HK Chief Exec: No decision on second term yet'. Print Edition | Subscribe