Carrie Lam

New Hong Kong ministers vow to seek consensus over their work plans

Civil service secretary insists that political neutrality of government staff must be maintained despite comments by Beijing parliamentary leader

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 July, 2017, 9:30pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 July, 2017, 11:35pm

The principal officials of the new administration pledged to forge consensus and safeguard the political neutrality of civil servants on their first day in office.

The cabinet of new Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor were sworn in on Saturday – the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong;s return to Chinese sovereignty.

Hong Kong’s first female chief executive Carrie Lam sworn in by President Xi Jinping, as city marks 20 years since handover

Mapping out their working plans in separate interviews with RTHK, the newly appointed principal officials vowed to work hard in serving the public.

“I will listen and accept different opinions and resolve disputes through consensus,” said Edward Yau Tang-wah, who moved from director of the Chief Executive’s Office in the last administration to secretary for commerce and economic development. He added he would serve with a humble heart.

Watch: Carrie Lam begins her five-year term

Secretary for the Civil Service Joshua Law Chi-kong , a veteran civil servant, said his priority would be to safeguard the core values of civil servants, including political neutrality, the rule of law, cleanness and professionalism.

Some Hongkongers are worried that civil servants will not remain politically neutral after No 3 state leader Zhang Dejiang declared in May that Beijing had the power to “supervise” Hong Kong officials based on their allegiance to the country.

New Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam dresses to impress on first day in the job

Some new officials touched on their work plans. “I hope to provide safe, hygienic and dignified housing for the grass roots in the next five years. We will speed up the provision of public rental housing for needy people and reinstate the housing ladder,” transport and housing minister Frank Chan Fan said.

New development chief Michael Wong Wai-lun said his bureau would work hard to increase land supply, ensuring sustainable development with better city planning.

Lam has pledged to launch a new style of governance and ­rebuild social harmony through her cabinet, which is mostly made up of incumbents and veteran bureaucrats.

Among the new ministers, all but one were incumbents, deputies or permanent secretaries.

The exception is former Democratic Party member Law Chi-kwong, who is the new labour and welfare minister.

The chief executive initially wanted to recruit new blood for her administration.