400 nominated for jobs in C.Y.'s new line-up

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 June, 2012, 12:00am


More than 400 names have been put forward to join the new government as undersecretaries and political assistants, with the number expected to go even higher by the time a final tally is revealed on Monday.

While the deadline officially passed on Thursday, more names were still being received by the chief executive-elect's office yesterday after Leung Chun-ying sought public nominations for the politically appointed posts.

Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, the office's head, said she expected more than 500.

The Federation of Trade Unions and the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong have submitted names for consideration, although the identities of their candidates remain a secret - even from those who may be on them.

Other groups are more forthcoming. The Medical Association is nominating John Wong Yee-him, a psychiatrist and a member of the association's council, to be undersecretary at the Food and Health Bureau.

Chow Pak-chin, association vice-president and a Leung supporter, said he had told the chief executive-elect Wong was the man for the job. 'He has experience in both the public and private sector, and he has been a council member for a long time, which means he understands the needs of medical sector', Chow said.

Wong worked at Kwai Chung Hospital until 2009, when he left to start a private practice. He was a member of the Liberal Party until 2008 and he serves on Kowloon City District Council.

'His district election and party activities means Wong has at least some political experience. I am sure with his ability and passion to serve, he is the best person for the position,' Chow said.

One person known to be keen to get an appointment, Edward Lau Kwok-fan, a DAB member and Northern District councillor, said he did not know if he had been put forward. He said he would be flattered if he was named as he was ready to serve the community.

Leung is eager to expand the political appointment system, which has come under fire since the introduction of political assistants and undersecretaries in 2008. The appointees have been criticised for their low profile and high pay.

Leung is expected to appoint an undersecretary for each of the 14 policy bureaus and give each minister a budget to appoint a flexible number of political assistants, which could boost their numbers from nine to 40. Some existing undersecretaries and political assistants are expected to stay in their posts.

Leung has appointed a five-member screening committee to provide a shortlist. A preliminary screening process starts on June 11.