Legco finance committee passes funding for John Lee's restructure plan

The finance committee of the Legislative Council on Friday passed funding for the government restructure plan of incoming Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, which is expected to cost up to HK$120 million a year.

Lee's plan suggested adding three deputy secretaries and revamping the existing 13 bureaus into 15. There will also be 13 more officials under the political appointment system and 57 more civil servant positions.

The extra salary expenditure alone could cost about HK$95 million and could be pumped up to HK$120 million in total including contributions made to the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme and other benefits.

A total of 77 lawmakers attended the finance committee meeting on Friday. Among them, 73 voted in favor of the plan while Tik Chi-yuen from Third Side voted against.

Nelson Lam Chi-yuen and Ambrose Lam San-keung abstained form the vote, and Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan left the meeting before they proceeded to the vote.

The restructure plan will come into effect starting July 1 as Lee assumes office, after it is passed in the council's general meeting next Wednesday.

Tik said he supports revamping the 13 bureaus into 15 but opposed to adding three deputy secretaries., adding that the government has yet to explain the restructure plan clearly.

Meanwhile, Chan Siu-hung worried some of the government's works will be left unattended in early stages of the restructure plan and urged authorities to ensure such scenarios will not occur.

The government then replied that increasing manpower aims to conduct works more efficiently but not to increase bureaucratic procedures.

The government also pointed out that the deputy secretaries will become secretaries' right-hand men to provide assistance in their routine works.