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Independent Commission on Remuneration Package and Post-office Arrangements for CE submits report

The following is issued on behalf of the Independent Commission on Remuneration Package and Post-office Arrangements for the Chief Executive of the HKSAR:

The Independent Commission on Remuneration Package and Post-office Arrangements for the Chief Executive of the HKSAR submitted its report to the Administration today (June 9), setting out its recommendations on issues relating to the office of the Chief Executive (CE).

"In respect of the remuneration package, the independent commission recommends that the existing package should continue to apply to the CE to be returned through the by-election. The new arrangement should be implemented in July 2007 when the third term CE assumes office," said Mr Wong Po-yan, the Chairman of the Independent Commission, as he briefed the media on the independent commission's report.

In line with the remuneration arrangements for Principal Officials (POs) under the Accountability System, the independent commission recommends that the new remuneration package should be a total cash package with relevant benefits encashed. The total cost of the new package will be the same as the existing package. This yields an annual remuneration of around $4 million per annum, which is 12.5% more than the existing annual pay of the Chief Secretary for Administration.

"The new arrangement will not entail any extra financial burden to taxpayers," Mr Wong added.

On the provision of official residence to the CE, the independent commission recommends that the Administration should provide a suitable permanent residence for future CEs. However, if, for whatever reasons, the CE chooses not to move into the official residence, he will have to meet his accommodation needs out of his own means.

In respect of a former CE's involvement in political and commercial/professional activities after leaving office, the independent commission recommends that no restrictions should be imposed on a former CE's involvement in political activities.

"For participation in post-office employment/commercial activities after leaving office, a former CE should be subject to a three-year control period," Mr Wong said.

"During the first year, a former CE will be barred from commencing any employment or commercial activities.

"In the following two years, a former CE is required to seek advice from an advisory committee before re-engaging in employment, business or professional activities.

"During the three-year control period, blanket exemption will be made for a former CE to undertake appointment with the Central Authorities or the HKSAR Government, or academic, charitable or other non-profit making organisations, or non-commercial regional or international organisations.

"The post-office employment rules proposed by the Independent Commission are more stringent than the existing arrangements for the POs and senior civil servants. The stringency of the control measure also surpasses that of similar restrictions placed on former heads of government in many other countries/territories outside Hong Kong," said Mr Wong.

Apart from remuneration and post-office activities, the Independent Commission has also studied whether post-office services should be provided to a former CE.

The independent commission recommends that protocol arrangements, medical and dental care and security protection should be provided to a former CE. The provision of security protection is subject to the security assessment conducted by the Police.

Mr Wong said, "The independent commission considers that a former CE could play an 'ambassadorial role' for the country and Hong Kong after leaving office. If a former CE is willing to take up this task, the Government should provide office accommodation in existing Government premises to facilitate him in playing such a role.

"The office will not be established to serve one particular former CE, but should be available for any former CE who is prepared to play an 'ambassadorial role' for Hong Kong.

"The office should provide the necessary secretarial and administrative support, as well as a car with driver," he said.

"We would like to thank the Legislative Council (Legco) Members whom the Independent Commission has met and those who have taken the trouble to write to us. They have put forth very insightful ideas to the independent commission.

"We are also thankful for the interest shown by members of the public on the issues.

"We hope that our recommendations will provide a useful basis for the Administration to formulate arrangements relating to the office of the CE," Mr Wong said.

The Independent Commission was appointed by the HKSAR Government to consider and make recommendations on the issues relating to the office of the CE in April 2005. It is chaired by Mr Wong Po-yan with Mr Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen, Dr Thomas Leung Kwok-fai and Professor Liu Pak-wai as members.

In drawing up the proposed arrangements, the independent commission had studied the practices in 12 countries/territories at both the national and provincial level outside Hong Kong. It had also considered the public views canvassed through the media and the commission's consultations with Legco members.

Ends/Thursday, June 9, 2005