• Sun
  • Sep 21, 2014
  • Updated: 2:07pm
NewsHong Kong

Central Policy Unit head Shiu Sin-por calls for team to lobby lawmakers

Chief of government's Central Policy Unit brains trust says existing system of political appointees ineffective in lobbying divided legislature

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 3:29am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 4:39pm

An adviser to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has called on the government to consider setting up a team of officials for the task of lobbying lawmakers.

Central Policy Unit head Shiu Sin-por told reporters in Beijing on Sunday that the existing team of political appointees was not big enough to lobby the city's divided legislature.

"Every minister is doing the lobbying work for their bills but their networks with political parties are non-transferable among the policy bureaus," Shiu said. "We need a team of a scale similar to America's congressional liaison office."

Under the three-tier political appointment system, the ministers and their undersecretaries and political assistants are responsible for political liaison and lobbying.

The government has struggled to win support, even from allies, in its recent attempts to pass legislation, including that for extra stamp duty on property transactions.

The government's problem in mustering enough votes has given rise to suspicions of interference by the central government's liaison office. And it almost faced a Legco probe into its decision to reject Hong Kong Television Network's application for a free-to-air TV licence.

Shiu said the participation of the liaison office in Legco affairs was a "reality" and that it would happen again in the upcoming electoral reform debate.

"There are some [politicians] who listen only to the liaison office. It is a reality," he said. "The liaison office must be doing something on reform."

"It is legitimate because Beijing has the important responsibility of ensuring Hong Kong's effective governance."

He attributed Leung's governance difficulties to the chief executive election of 2012, which split the pro-government camp between Leung supporters and those who preferred his defeated rival, Henry Tang Ying-yen.

"The losers have been spreading various rumours in an attempt to weaken Leung," Shiu said. "Now they say Leung is a one-term chief executive. Some push people towards ignoring Leung and approaching ministers directly."

Speaking of the fierce contest for the top job, Shiu said: "Chinese people have yet to accept the culture of this kind of election."

He said the split was set to deepen with universal suffrage in 2017, and that a ruling party would not necessarily help.

"There is no direct relationship between universal suffrage and having a ruling party. It is about unifying the different political factions," Shiu said.

Pointing to today's Legco, in which pro-government members hold 43 seats and pan-democrats 27, he said: "It is not merely the problem of 43 versus 27 when the government needs votes for its bills. There are different combinations every time."

Even though a popular vote would give the next chief executive a strong mandate, Shiu said it did not guarantee support for the administration.

"Look at [Taiwanese President] Ma Ying-jeou. His popularity ratings have barely gotten out of single digits."



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This article is now closed to comments

This article has been printed too early .... it's not jet "APRIL FOOLS" day.
A government political lobbist group to lobby the legislators is absolutely a necessity. Just learn that from US. Remember, things just don't happen. They happen because of work. Our property developers in Hong Kong know that best.
so would the lobbyist group be funded by Government ? =yes
so Legislators would have to vote+ agree the funding, to get themselves lobbied against the decisions they intended to make on behalf of their constituents' wishes = non starter
As for USA lobbyists they probably had a hand in decisions for invading others' sovereign territory for weapons of mass deception & have something to do with the fact that the 'Land of the Free' has more persons incarcerated per capita than any other country in the world.
To dyn....
Posting in SCMP is also a form of lobbying. But I don't get a penny in return. The government lobbists should be funded (salary of the lobbist) by government simply it is part of government work in order to make things happen.
I am surprised by there are insufficient lobbying by the government at the Legislator Council. Just bad management or inexperience politicians. Learn something from the local property developers.
The overpaid Government oafs should note Einstein's quote:
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Comrade Shiu of the pet (as in donkey) Central Propaganda Unit of the Hong Kong Proletariat
"At first I thought my old friend Shiu Sin-por has gone nuts when I read from the news that he, as the new head of the Central Policy Unit (CPU), declared the new role of his department as propaganda promotion. After he purportedly offered that response in a TV interview, the CPU has become the recent focus of attacks by dissidents. Some say the CPU should be renamed the "Central Propaganda Unit", others think the staff is overpaid, & all agree that CPU is trying to expand its role, which would not be a good thing "
Lawmakers represent their constituents and should vote accordingly. Lobbyists are a burden on the public purse and only push what the government wants. Having lobbyists will only waste time and money by creating more red tape.
A question to Tanna, what do the Chinese have to do with our elections? quote: Speaking of the fierce contest for the top job, Shiu said: "Chinese people have yet to accept the culture of this kind of election."
They don't have a right to vote or run for election here.
This strikes me as the last thing we need. If the administration had well thought out policies and communicated these well thru the CE (where is the CE, anyway?) or his principal officials, the public and Legco would support. Instead we get fake consultations and task forces of so-called experts to promote pre-conceived ideas that benefit established interests and the corporate elite. Nothing but scraps for the peasants. Let them eat cake and all that.
So much for the 'brains trust'
If the administration had viable policies the lawmakers would most probably support them without any lobbying
Pointless offering a 'give face' GBS or GBM as the value of that gong has been denigrated by the quality of persons recently receiving them
They reckon lobbying worked before when certain lawmakers turned the tide in the TV licences fiasco, so build on that debacle.
Lawmakers are supposed to represent the people who elected them & this includes slamming bad policies from a Government staffed by nitwit ministers & antiquated back-office policy making inherited from previous administrations - therein lies the problem - clean out the inherited back- office blinkered staff from Education Bureau & ENB to Drainage Services Dept, get some new faces with new viable policies & they will get public & lawmaker support on merit instead of subterfuge. Meanwhile advertise in Singapore for a new Financial Secretary.


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