Government under pressure to reveal political appointees' salaries The government was under intense pressure yesterday to reveal the salaries of its new political appointees, with lawmakers across the political spectrum demanding to know why the information was being withheld. The Democratic Party said it might invoke special Legislative Council powers to force disclosure of the salaries. The government has disclosed the salary range of the undersecretaries and political assistants, but not what each is paid. Yesterday, 10 days after the appointments were announced, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau remained non-committal about whether the details would be made public. In Shanghai, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen - who determined the salaries after advice from an appointments committee - said he would speak publicly today about the issue. Undersecretaries are to be paid HK$193,773 to HK$223,586 a month, while political assistants will earn HK$104,340 to HK$163,963 a month. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data said appointees should expect them to be disclosed. Even the chief executive's salary was public, Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee noted. She wondered why the government was covering up the political appointees' salaries. 'It is not a private issue as they are paid using taxpayers' money,' she said. 'Is the government adopting objective standards when deciding the salaries? Otherwise, why should some receive HK$190,000 while others are paid HK$220,000?' Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun agreed that the government should reveal the appointees' pay, given the wide salary range. 'The salary range varies a lot. There is a 50 per cent difference between the lowest and the highest salary. The difference is too much,' Mr Tien said. Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said the party planned to invoke the Legislative Council (Power and Privileges) Ordinance to force the government to reveal the salaries if it refused to release the details to the Legco panel on constitutional affairs. The party might seek a vote of no confidence in some senior officials if the government kept refusing to respond, Mr Ho said. Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, agreed that the government should provide more information about the appointees' salaries. A spokeswoman for the privacy commissioner said the government had not consulted the commissioner's office about the matter. Paul Chan Chi-yuen, assistant-designate to the secretary for food and health, said it should be up to the appointees to decide whether to tell the public their salaries. 'Personally I do not mind disclosing my salary as long as all other appointees also make theirs public,' the youngest appointee said. Zandra Mok Yee-tuen, assistant-designate to the secretary for labour and welfare, said it should be left to the government to decide whether the salaries were made public. If it decided they should be revealed, she would not mind. Frankie Yip Kan-chuen, who will start working as assistant to the financial secretary in July, also said it was a decision for the government and he would not express his personal view at this stage.