The chairman of a party tipped to be a key beneficiary under the proposed political appointment scheme does not see many candidates for deputy and assistant posts coming from political parties in Hong Kong. Ma Lik, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), predicted that most appointees to some 22 positions to be created for deputies and assistants to ministers would come from the business sector or civil service. He cited the absence of qualified candidates from the middle and junior ranks. 'It is hard for political parties to recommend their members to become deputies to ministers. Those who possess such qualifications could join as ministers rather than as deputies,' he said. Tsang Yok-sing - an executive councillor and lawmaker, and Mr Ma's predecessor - is widely tipped to be a ministerial candidate. Mr Ma believed political parties would also need to decide whether they were prepared to become part of a ruling coalition of the next chief executive. A permanent secretary, who did not want to be named, said one of the main duties of the deputy ministers was to strengthen liaison with the Legislative Council. 'If the deputy comes from a political party, this may become an obstacle for him in lobbying legislators from other parties,' the official said. The administration has proposed introducing two tiers of political appointees - deputies and ministers' assistants - into each bureau at a cost of about HK$62 million a year and appointed by the chief executive. Mr Ma said he did not think there was a need for deputy ministers to be appointed by Beijing because they would be expected to assume the duties of ministers in their absence. Earlier, Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress Ma Fung-kwok and Chan Kam-lam, of the DAB, said Beijing's blessing for deputies would be required. Ma Ngok, a political analyst at Hong Kong's Chinese University, said: 'They may worry the DAB and its allies cannot ultimately benefit from enlarged political appointments, even though it is widely believed the DAB is the major beneficiary. They may also be afraid the chief executive may appoint those who are not friendly to them or Beijing.' Executive councillor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said: 'I think they are over concerned, as the chief executive would not appoint ... without Beijing's endorsement.' He said an ideal package was that a minister could have more than one deputy and one assistant if necessary. 'The case is just like some bureaus have two permanent secretaries to handle plenty of work, such as the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow Yat-ngok, and Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Frederick Ma Si-hang ... have two aides.' But he said it was not a good time for introducing more deputies and assistants when the ministerial system was at the initial stage. It might arouse more hesitation from the civil servants and the public, he said.