Regina Ip backs govt changes; Tik Chi-yuen hesitant

Third Side legislator Tik Chi-yuen on Saturday said he’s not convinced by CE-elect John Lee’s plan to add three deputy secretaries to the incoming administration, but New People’s Party lawmaker Regina Ip threw her weight behind the proposal.

The restructuring package that will add new deputies to the chief secretary, financial secretary and justice minister has already been endorsed by the Executive Council and submitted to Legco for approval.

Speaking on an RTHK radio programme, Tik said the establishment should have a simple management structure.

“If the head of a bureau had a discussion with the deputy secretary, would the matter be decided? Or would the deputy need to talk about it with the secretary again? If so, that would be superfluous,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ip from the New People’s Party said the new deputies would be able to improve inter-departmental coordination.

“For example, [Carrie] Lam has criticised the Housing Authority for the failure to meet housing production targets, but the Housing Authority is not responsible for land production, so you need better coordination between the building of transport infrastructure, production of land and building of public housing,” she said.

“So it makes sense to put them all under the financial secretary and to create a deputy to the financial secretary to strengthen coordination.”

Ip chairs a Legco subcommittee to study the proposal.

Separately, lawmaker and unionist Lam Chun-sing said he would consider supporting Lee’s restructuring package if he clarifies it.

“[Lee] should explain more to the public about the new posts, whether they can coordinate different departments to achieve our goals, for example, the Northern Metropolis development,” he said.

He said Lee should also explain whether public money would be used appropriately.

In all, the package will create 13 additional politically-appointed positions and 57 more civil service posts, costing HK$95 million in salary each year.