Powerful body aims to boost competitiveness
LINDA CHOY and Chris Yeung
A high-powered commission is to be set up to increase the SAR's competitiveness and ensure the proper use of resources.
The commission on strategic development, to be chaired by Mr Tung, will conduct reviews and studies on a wide range of topics.
Apart from relations with the mainland, the body will address the economy, human resources, education, housing, land supply and environmental protection.
Its objectives will be to ensure resources are well used and that the SAR keeps up with world trends in competitive terms, and maintains economic development.
'The basic idea is to absorb as many views from all walks of life in the community as possible. This will enable us to have comprehensive consideration when making policies,' Mr Tung said.
Mr Tung said he did not think the new body's tasks would duplicate those of the Central Policy Unit (CPU) or the existing advisory committees.
'The CPU will continue to do the basic work. I'm sure there will be good co-ordination. The CPU has supported the idea.
'We now have more than 400 committees. I've been very sensitive about adding more. But after much thinking, I think there's a genuine need. There's no duplication with other committees.
'[The commission] will be part of the advisory structure and will look at macro issues.' The commission will include government officials, members of the industrial, commercial, financial and grassroots sectors, and academics.
Mr Tung said the Chief Secretary for Administration and Financial Secretary would sit on the commission.
He denied the commission would signal a departure from the traditional laissez-faire policy.
Cheung Chor-yung, social studies lecturer at City University, said the new body reflected a more systematic organisation of the work undertaken by individual government departments.
'What he is trying to do is to pull together a new structure of co-ordination to facilitate a more comprehensive planning,' he said.
Mr Cheung said the new structure reflected the managerial approach introduced by Mr Tung. 'There is probably a realisation that the incremental approach adopted by the former government was inadequate,' he said.