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New deputies, new bureaus in govt revamp plan

2022-05-17 HKT 17:55
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  • New deputies, new bureaus in govt revamp plan
The Executive Council on Tuesday endorsed a government restructuring package that will add new deputies to the chief secretary, financial secretary and justice minister, as proposed by Chief Executive-elect John Lee.

Lee told a press briefing that the new roles could strengthen the incoming administration's governance, adding that the deputies could be asked to oversee specific projects when necessary.

He also revealed that the new deputy secretary for justice will be tasked with defending Hong Kong's legal system to the rest of the world.

"I want more efforts to be done on promoting the understanding of the Constitution and the Basic Law. More importantly, I want the secretary for justice and the deputy to go out to explain in full the legal system in Hong Kong, and the rule of law, and the independent judiciary in Hong Kong, so as to let people know the true picture of Hong Kong, particularly when we have been badmouthed by some politicians for political reasons, criticising unfairly the system that is being practised in Hong Kong," he said.

Also under the revamp, the number of policy bureaus will be expanded from the current 13 to 15.

A new Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau will be set up, while the Transport and Housing Bureau will be split into two: the Transport and Logistics Bureau and the Housing Bureau.

Among the other changes, the Home Affairs Bureau will look after youth and district affairs in future under the newly named Home and Youth Affairs Bureau.

The Environment Bureau will be renamed the Environment and Ecology Bureau to include certain policies currently under the Food and Health Bureau, which in turn will become the Health Bureau.

The Innovation and Technology Bureau will be renamed as the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau.

The CE-elect said the incoming financial secretary will oversee both the new Housing Bureau and the Development Bureau to ensure they work together effectively.

"We have been troubled by shortage of land and housing for long years, and I've made it a very clear point that in the sixth term government, this will be a priority area, we have to speed up things," he said.

"I think the development of land and provision of housing will be in the best hand of the financial secretary, because it relates to, first of all, finding land, which is a key area in relation to financial and development matter, and hand in hand, [having] both bureaus under [the financial secretary] will create the synergy, and also focus attention."

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.

The overhaul will be presented to the Legislative Council for further discussions.