The appointment of a top adviser by Hong Kong’s leader marks another step to improve governance. Months after John Lee Ka-chiu signalled a revamp of the official think tank, the head of the new Chief Executive’s Policy Unit formally assumed duty on Wednesday. The tasks ahead are not easy. From assessing the international outlook and national development interests to ensuring policies are in tune with public aspirations, there is a lot on Stephen Wong Yuen-shan’s plate. Wong has a solid background in policy research and public services. The 48-year-old lawmaker helped draft Lee’s election platform and is currently the senior vice-president and executive director of the Public Policy Institute at the Our Hong Kong Foundation, a think tank founded by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. Wong also worked as an investment banker and was a member of various public bodies. The chief executive is entitled to put in place the governance structure he sees fit. Tung was served by a Council of International Advisors and the Central Policy Unit, while Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor reformed the latter to become the Policy Innovation and Coordination Office. Lee prides himself as a results-oriented leader. What matters is the outcome. How this new body will set itself apart from previous ones and its working relations with policy bureaus are worthy of attention. It is to provide solid research findings for policymaking to enhance governance. It is also about redefining Hong Kong’s role amid a fast changing internal and external environment. Apart from tackling local issues, the city must be prepared for the many challenges ahead as an international city under “one country, two systems”. Hong Kong lawmaker behind John Lee’s election platform to helm new policy unit The think tank must go beyond the conventional approach and pay closer attention to national and global dimensions. The bill that sought to plug a loophole in the extradition of fugitives and thrust the city into the international spotlight following waves of violent protests in 2019 was an example of how a lack of political sensitivity and international perspective had snowballed into one of the city’s biggest turmoils. Given many domestic issues are intertwined with external parameters, it is clear that policies and decisions can no longer be inward-looking. That makes the job ahead all the more challenging.