Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa yesterday secured a monthly entertainment allowance of almost $69,000 by arguing his social commitments were more extensive than those of the last governor, Chris Patten. At the provisional legislature's Finance Committee, most members endorsed a government proposal to increase Mr Tung's monthly non-accountable entertainment allowance by 20 per cent. It is effective from the date of his appointment on December 16 last year. The approval means the allowance will increase from $54,500 to $65,400 between December 16 last year and March 31; and from $57,442 to $68,930 from April. Mr Tung's Social Secretary Joshua Law Chi-kong said: 'With the Chief Executive's social commitments, by virtue of his being a local . . . the allowance at its existing rate falls short of his needs.' But he immediately faced challenges from members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB). 'Does it sound a bit odd to cite this as the only ground for an increase in his entertainment allowance?' legislator Cheung Hon-chung said. Lau Kong-wah, who has just joined the pro-Beijing party, said: 'If in future there is another new chief executive saying that the scope of people whom he contacts is even wider, does it mean that he will get more?' But Mr Law argued that the range of people with whom Mr Tung came into contact was much wider than that of British-appointed governors. That was because Mr Tung 'was returned by election', he said. 'The Governor used to serve his guests with Western dishes. Now that the Chief Executive is a native, Chinese dishes are usually served. 'The expenses are slightly more than serving them with Western dishes.' However, another DAB member, Ip Kwok-him, questioned how the Government had arrived at such an increase. 'It is difficult to comprehend why there would be such a big difference between having Chinese and Western dishes,' he said. The application was approved, although DAB members abstained.