Anson Chan criticises CPU role expansion
A chaotic situation would develop if an official think tank got involved in co-ordinating appointments to government bodies, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang warned on Thursday.
She was commenting on the Central Policy Unit’s (CPU) move to expand its role by hiring human resources manager Sophia Kao Ching-chi, to co-ordinate all appointments to government advisory and statutory bodies.
Chan told a Commercial Radio programme that this new function could lead to conflicts between the think tank and policy bureau chiefs.
“If her advice is not taken by bureau directors … who will have the final decision? The new move is setting an unnecessary hurdle,” she said.
“No matter how experienced she is and how extensive her personal network is, there is no way she can find suitable candidates on every area.”
Chan, the former second-highest ranking official in Hong Kong, also criticised the head of CPU, Shiu Sin-por, for his recent remarks that the unit needed to get involved in public relations battles.
Chan said the unit’s job was to research public opinion to improve policies. Shiu’s move would violate the unit’s neutrality and make it unable to take in a broad spectrum of public views.
Shiu has since clarified his comments, saying that while the government should use PR campaigns to win the public over to its policies, the CPU itself need not be involved in those efforts.
Shiu was criticised in the Legislative Council this week when he sought approval to create a new full-time position at the CPU to monitor public opinion through the new media and opinion polls. The job would draw an annual pay of up to HK$2.8 million.
Some legislators said they were irritated by his repeated comment that the CPU was a “government tool”.