The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, and the Director of the Chief Executive's Office, Mr Raymond Tam, met the media today (August 13) on the mid-term review of the remuneration for Under Secretaries and Political Assistants. Following is the transcript of Mr Lam's remarks at the media session (English portion):
Reporter: Why are the salaries in freeze instead of being slashed even in the face of so much criticism of their lack of accountability?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I would say that we have conducted a comprehensive review of the performance of the nine Under Secretaries and the nine Political Assistants. With regard to Under Secretaries, our position is that their performance should be evaluated according to the manner in which they have explained the Government's policies to the Legislative Council, District Councils and other entities. As regards the Political Assistants, we have assessed their performance based on their work done on political analysis, and the political liaison they have undertaken with various political parties and other organisations.
On the whole, the Under Secretaries and the Political Assistants have performed their tasks and job descriptions according to the original design and the overall view taken is that the salaries should continue to remain unchanged.
Reporter: There have been criticisms that the mechanism was not transparent enough. So, would the Government consider improvements to make the process more public in future?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: The process has been publicly accounted for, about a-year-and-a-half ago, when we first created these positions through the approval of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council. We undertook to do this mid-term review. This exercise has now been conducted, and we are giving a public account today of the considerations we have taken into view and the decision which we have taken. So, the transparency is there. As regards widening the transparency of their performance, the Under Secretaries and the Political Assistants have their policy portfolios to carry, and they do perform in the public arena - in the Legislative Council, District Councils and other spheres.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Friday, August 13, 2010