Home Affairs set for a reshuffle at the top
The Home Affairs Bureau, responsible for district administration and community liaison, is poised for a top-level reshuffle soon, as the chief executive moves to strengthen his work in this area.
Government sources said Director of Home Affairs Pamela Tan Kam Mi-wah, who heads a department with 18 district officers conducting political work, would soon have a new position.
Wilson Fung Wing-yip, now overseeing the aviation portfolio in the Economic Development and Labour Bureau, would soon replace Stephen Fisher as deputy Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs.
These two changes follow the appointment of Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor as Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs in March. Mrs Lam worked with Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in the finance branch in the 1990s. She also enjoys a good relationship with Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan.
Executive councillor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said the reshuffle reflected Mr Tsang's desire for a strong lineup of officers to handle forthcoming problematic issues, including district council reform and the West Kowloon cultural development, as well as legislation against racism. 'The chief executive wants to have a capable officer to handle the issues topping his policy agenda, and Carrie Lam is certainly suitable for the job.'
A government source said: 'The Home Affairs Bureau is involved in a lot of liaison work which is related to Donald Tsang's re-election campaign. He wants everything under control. [Personnel] changes involving Pamela Tan and other senior 'followers' of Patrick Ho Chi-ping are taking place.'
Dr Ho, the Secretary for Home Affairs and a political appointee, is tipped to be among those stepping down in Mr Tsang's next administration from the middle of next year if he is re-elected.
The South China Morning Post last Thursday reported a government source as saying Permanent Secretary for the Civil Service Rebecca Lai Ko Wing-yee, due to leave the government in July, had been named head of a taskforce organising events to mark the 10th anniversary of the handover.
'It's a very important event, particularly in Beijing's eyes,' said a government official, who did not want to be named.
Democratic Party legislator Cheung Man-kwong echoed speculation that Dr Ho would not feature on Mr Tsang's next list of ministers.
'The Home Affairs Bureau is responsible for gathering public opinion. It also runs districts like small municipal governments. The recent reshuffle concerning the bureau is meant to initiate changes. Donald [Tsang] has obviously put his close aides in for the jobs.'
Mrs Lam's appointment was just one of the eight permanent secretary positions and nine department heads that have seen personnel changes since Mr Tsang became chief executive last year.
Political analyst Ma Ngok said: 'It is difficult for the chief executive to change the ministers, who are appointed by Beijing. He has made use of the senior-level reshuffle to put people he trusts in the key positions. This will help him implement his policies, irrespective of whether the ministers concerned are in his camp or not.'
He cited the posting of John Tsang Chun-wah, director of the Chief Executive's Office, and Andrew Wong Ho-yuen, Permanent Secretary for the Civil Service, as examples.
Mr Wong, who was permanent secretary for the Chief Executive's Office and was given his new job after less than a year, is known to be close to the chief executive.