Public Eye

Our top bureaucrats don't need another pay rise

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 May, 2014, 4:19am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 May, 2014, 4:42am

Our top bureaucrats don't need another pay rise

What? Another pay rise for civil servants? Surely that's a bad joke. We already have the highest-paid bureaucrats in the world aside from Singapore. Are we getting value for money? You know the answer to that. Yet the annual government pay trend study, which supposedly reflects salaries in the private sector, has proposed an increase of 5.96 per cent for top bureaucrats, 4.71 per cent for middle-ranking ones, and 3.8 per cent for those at the bottom of the heap. A bigger percentage rise for those with already fat salaries further inflates their pay. A puny percentage pay rise for bottom earners means they get practically nothing in dollar terms. If that's what's happening in the private sector, it explains why Hong Kong has the widest wealth gap in the developed world. Our government is an accomplice by aping the private sector. Pay in the private sector is at least based on merit. If you screw up, you get fired. Can anyone name a single senior bureaucrat who was fired for screwing up? And don't tell Public Eye there haven't been any screw-ups. Pay increases in the government are not merit-based. They are across the board. You get it even if you're an idiot. Go ahead, increase the salaries of the little guys in government. But the already overpaid bureaucrats at the middle and on the top? Hell, no. And the bureau chiefs who have all become a big joke? The government should be slashing their pay instead.


Legco chief really doesn't have a clue who's who

Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing is not as clueless as he seems. He's even more so. When he embarrassingly did not know who commerce undersecretary Godfrey Leung King-kwok was at a Legco meeting last week, he ruffled through his agenda documents and said he thought the mystery official was the environment secretary. Here's a fact - environment secretary Wong Kam-sing is bald and wears tieless shirts with funny collars. Undersecretary Leung has a full head of hair and wears normal shirts with a tie. If Tsang thought Leung was the bald Wong, it shows he doesn't even know what the environment secretary looks like. How's that for a clueless Legco president?


Exco member comes in second for cluelessness

Being clueless is a prerequisite for high political office in Hong Kong. Tsang is Legco president but can't recognise senior government officials. Cheung Chi-kong is an Executive Council member who advises the chief executive on policy matters but believes the 40 million mainland tourists who swamp our city every year do not add to MTR overcrowding. Maybe in his clueless mind, he believes the 40 million mainlanders roller-skate to get around the city. When publicly ridiculed, he blamed his poor Putonghua and not having a prepared speech for his gaffe. What's he - a dummy prone to gaffes without a prepared speech? Does he read from a script when offering advice to boss Leung Chun-ying at those Exco meetings? Cheung is also head of the pro-Beijing One Country Two Systems Research Institute headquartered in the Bank of China Tower. And he has poor Putonghua. Now that's clueless indeed.


Who's to blame for growing xenophobia in Hong Kong?

The deep thinkers in the government's secretive Central Policy Unit think tank have stumbled on a great discovery - Hongkongers don't like being swamped by 40 million mainland visitors. These deep thinkers have now warned the chief executive and his advisers that we're bordering on xenophobia. And who's to blame? The people who must compete for MTR space, Ocean Park rides and school places? Or the likes of Exco member Cheung Chi-kong, who says 40 million extra people don't cause congestion on trains, and commerce secretary Greg So Kam-leung, who suggests we wait for the next train?