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Donald Tsang

C.Y. Leung's cabinet almost ready

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 April, 2012, 12:00am

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Chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying is close to finalising his cabinet line-up, and fresh young faces can be expected among assistants to the new ministers, his top aide says.

Without naming names, Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, head of the Chief Executive-elect's Office, said: 'We are confident we can line up all the ministers by the end of this month or early next month. Just a few [candidates] are still contemplating.'

The new ministers would play a role in picking their undersecretaries and political assistants, she said.

'The ministers can select their aides according to the candidates' experience and ability, and have to be held accountable for the performance of their choices.'

There would be changes to the second and third tiers of the political appointee system, which has drawn criticism for a perceived mismatch between appointees' performance and their high pay.

Undersecretaries earn more than HK$200,000 a month, with the top earner receiving about HK$230,000, while political assistants are paid between HK$134,000 and HK$164,000 a month.'[The political appointees] will reach out to residents more often,' Law said. 'The salaries of political assistants will not be bound by hard indicators, but set by the ministers.'

She repeated her call for the Legislative Council to approve a shake-up in the way the government works to avoid a delay that would leave the new administration hamstrung in its first six months in office.

Law said her counterpart in the outgoing team, Professor Gabriel Leung, who is director of the Chief Executive's Office, 'would take great credit' if he could help lobby legislators to approve the changes.

Leung wants to expand the ministerial team by appointing deputies to the chief secretary and financial secretary, responsible respectively for population policy and the development of pillar industries. He wants to carve out culture and information and technology bureaus from the Home Affairs and Commerce and Economic Development bureaus.

'I represent the chief executive-elect to lobby for lawmakers' support in the new line-up and [Gabriel] Leung represents the incumbent chief executive [Donald Tsang Yam-kuen],' Law said. 'If the cabinet shake-up can get through the legislature by July 1, [Gabriel Leung and the current administration] will take great credit.'

Law's comments contrasted with Tsang's remarks that his government would accommodate the shake-up 'procedurally' and that the rest of the work - including seeking approval from Legco and the Executive Council and applying to Legco for more funds - was the duty of Leung's team.

Law said the current government should help if the two administrations 'are of one heart'.

'We have few hands in the Chief Executive-elect's Office and need more manpower to explain the restructuring to the public and Legco.'