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By Erica Li

Tony Tse Wai-chuen wants to get back into the Legislative Council so that he can back large-scale infrastructure projects in Hong Kong. The former legislator for the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape Functional Constituency says such projects are crucial for the city’s development.

“They’re long-term investments, high-return investments. Hong Kong would die without them,” he says.

He suggests that 30 per cent of public works should be allocated to the local small and medium sized enterprises. “Only the locals [can] understand the problems of Hong Kong,” says Tse, throwing a jab at his Dutch-born rival for the seat Paul Zimmerman.

The 63 year-old surveyor represented his sector in the legislative council from 2012 to 2016, before being defeated by Edward Yiu Chung-yim in the 2016 legislative council election. Yiu was subsequently disqualified after deviating from the official oath during his swearing in.   

Tse says he made many policy suggestions which he describes as beneficial to the industry and society during his tenure, but that they were rarely followed.  

He thinks better use can be made of local talents in solving  problems in the industry, “Whenever projects are delayed or over-budget, it’s because the professionals are not put to good use,” he says, adding this includes the problems with the construction of the Express Rail Link.  

On the issue of housing, Tse supports more sandwich class housing because he thinks it would improve the upward mobility of Hong Kong’s middle class.  “The sandwich class could have the chance to move to private housing after a few years,” Tse says, “then the social disparity could be reduced.”

In light of the controversy surrounding the illegal structures a the home of Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng in January, Tse was quick to criticize his by-election rival Paul Zimmerman for having unauthorized building works, “He did apologize, but apology is not enough when it comes to breaking the law,” quips Tse.

Zimmerman has since removed the illegal structures and has stated that he has never tried to hide the fact that they were unauthorized, adding that he registered them under the ‘Reporting Scheme for Unauthorized Building Works’ with the Buildings Department in 2011.

Tse – who boasts 42 years of experience in the sector – also has other questions about Zimmerman’s credentials. He says his rival does not even have the right to vote in the functional constituency as he does not have the relevant professional qualifications.

Tse is also dismissive of  the “anti-disqualification” platform that the pro-democracy candidates have placed at the centre of their platforms in this by-election. He accuses them of “moving the goalposts”. Tse says the rule of law is the cornerstone of Hong Kong and the democrats should respect the court’s decision on the disqualifications instead of shifting the narrative when judgements do not go in their favour.

The other candidate running in the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape functional constituency in the 2018 Legislative Council by-election is incumbent Southern District Councillor Paul Zimmerman.

Edited by Yi Yeung