Bureaucrats must not be allowed to hold back reform of approval process

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for less political power in the economy to promote creativity among market players. Photo: Reuters

Reforming China's administrative approval system has become increasingly urgent; it is key to reducing the government's role in the economy.

Thursday, 23 May, 2013, 4:19am

A lesson for the pig-headed bureaucrats

Eddie Ng Hak-kim, Secretary for Education and Cherry Tse, Permanent Secretary for Education join about ten thousand students join World Book Day event and recite the works of Shakespeare in Hong Kong Stadium. Photo: Thomas Yau

The government says it wants Hong Kong to be an education hub and a world city but it simply refuses to consider simple changes to its school subsidy policy that would go a long way towards achieving those goals.

1 May 2013 - 2:32am 27 comments

Unwieldy agency name speaks volumes about Beijing's bloat

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft) and the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) are merged into State General Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television. Photo: Xinhua

The cumbersome, 14-character name initially announced last week for the mainland's new press and broadcasting administration, was widely criticised, with detractors quickly seizing upon its length as a metaphor for the bloated bureaucracy.

17 Mar 2013 - 2:21am 1 comment

Letters to the Editor, January 27, 2013

Columbariums are now in short supply. Photo: Sam Tsang

Naysayers threaten city's development

The government has limited land resources and finds it hard to allocate land to alleviate Hong Kong's housing shortage.

This is partly because of the amount of land designated "green zone", where development is not allowed.

More land has to be reserved for building grants for small-house development in the New Territories.

27 Jan 2013 - 1:53am 4 comments

Hong Kong must be watchful of city's growing bureaucracy

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: Sam Tsang

Concerns have been raised after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced the creation of yet two more high-level committees during his policy address. The establishment of the Financial Services Development Council and the Economic Development Commission brought the number of new and revamped bodies to 16 since he took office.

23 Jan 2013 - 3:44am 3 comments

Xi Jinping's guidelines to cut back extravagance go into effect

Xi Jinping calls for greater austerity with 'eight rules' on official behaviour. Photo: Xinhua

Expensive meals and showy official trips are being banned across the country as local authorities scramble to conform to Communist Party chief Xi Jinping's call to streamline the bureaucracy and cut waste and extravagance.

4 Jan 2013 - 10:14am 2 comments

More superministries on the way in Beijing

The Railways Ministry consolidation was blocked by the now disgraced Liu Zhijun. Photo: Reuters

Analysts said likely targets for absorption into expanded "superministries" include the massive Railways Ministry, which was spared consolidation into the Transport Ministry five years ago in the face of fierce resistance from the former railways minister Liu Zhijun.

21 Nov 2012 - 12:46pm

Election Committee members spent hundreds to fix 2-cent errors

Some Election Committee candidates were forced to spend as much as HK$700 to fix two-cent campaign-finance errors, it was revealed. This follows news last month that the officers overspent to fix an 80-cent error on one candidate's account.

5 Nov 2012 - 5:45am

Bureaucrats need a good shaking

It is encouraging that Leung Chun-ying has an agenda for action after years of stasis under Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. Land, environment and welfare issues appear high on his list of things to be done.

6 May 2012 - 12:00am

Ethics training for officials far too late

Mainland civil servants are used to being sent on a wide variety of compulsory training courses, but the latest one looks like being too little, too late, to fix a very real problem.

24 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Standing still

In his last policy address before leaving office, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen spelled out some of the principles for political reform. He said Hong Kong should allow democracy to take root, maintain high administrative efficiency and build a consensus in the community.

17 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Division of powers set to be given a trial run in the capital

Separation of powers - translated into Chinese as san quan fen li (three divisions of power) - is one of the main features of Western-style democracy and any attempt to transplant it to the mainland, where the Communist Party controls the legislature, executive and judiciary, is strictly prohibited.

11 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

10 years is too long to enforce the law

Hong Kong frequently proves that what goes up can just as easily come down, no matter where it is located. The old Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui and the Ritz-Carlton in Central were cases in point - it was as if one day they were there, the next they were not.

8 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Officials too slow in tackling water thefts, lawmakers say

Lawmakers blamed red tape, lax monitoring and weak enforcement by the Water Supplies Department for a loss of HK$160 million in water revenues last year.

The losses, highlighted in the Director of Audit's report two weeks ago, were due to inaccurate metering and illegal use of water.

2 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

No room at the top for pen-pushers

What is it about Hong Kong's top tier of bureaucrats, the administrative officers? Are they so arrogant that they think they know better than anyone how to run businesses and organisations of all sorts? Or is it that their very timidity makes them seek safety in the appointment of fellow bureaucrats whom they know they can rely on not to make waves?

18 Sep 2011 - 12:00am