The government is expected to launch its deputy minister scheme in May though it is likely the names of those selected will not be announced until after the Legislative Council election in September, a government source told The Standard yesterday.
The source said the appointment process was now in its final stages though there was no rush to present the appointees to the public to prevent them from becoming pawns in the election campaign. They would also need a few months to learn their jobs.
The source said as some of the appointees could be from government-friendly parties, they could become subjects of attacks by democrats during the election campaign.
However, Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun said three members of his party could be among the appointees. He named them as John Wong Yee-him, Eddie Suen Wai-hong and Jeremy Young, the younger son of legislator Howard Young How-wah.
Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong vice chairman Greg So Kam-leung is also tipped to become an undersecretary.
The 24 non-civil-service positions under the political appointment system comprise 11 undersecretaries who will be paid HK$193,773 to HK$223,586 a month, and 13 political assistants earning HK$104,340 to HK$163,963.
Meanwhile, Liberal Party vice chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said neither she nor another vice chairwoman, Miriam Lau Kin-yee, were contemplating taking part in the Legco election.
There had been speculation Chow, currently representing New Territories West, may stand for a seat in Hong Kong Island while Lau, who represents the transport functional constituency, may contest in New Territories West.
However, Tien thought his party's representation in the next legislature could increase from the current 10 seats to 11, with one new representative being his brother Michael Tien Pak-sun, who will be running for a seat in the Kowloon West constituency.
The party's current representatives are Tien (New Territories East), Jeffrey Lam Kin- fung (commercial), Andrew Leung Kwan- yuen (industrial), Tommy Cheung Yu-yan (catering), Vincent Fang Gang (wholesale and retail), Sophie Leung Lau Yau-fun (textiles and garments), Lau Wong-fat (District Council), Howard Young (tourism) and the two vice chairwomen. Young will not run for another term but his place could be taken by Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung.