The disclosure of the pay and nationalities of its new political cadres has not let the government off the hook, as pan-democrats are now pressing the administration to come clean over its selection process.
Twenty-four hours after officials announced the new appointees' salaries on Tuesday, legislators from the pan- democratic camp insisted doubts remained about the process used to award positions. They said they will use the Powers and Privileges Ordinance at a Legislative Council meeting at the end of this month to press the government for concrete information on how they recruited undersecretaries and political assistants.
"The government cannot explain its standards on how it recruited these people and also the way it set their salaries. Also, it did not say whether the nationalities of future appointees would be disclosed," said former Democratic Party chairman Lee Wing-tat. Lee criticized the government for "doing things in a black box" and requested the disclosure of selection standards, candidate scoring schemes, and all the documents and records kept during the recruitment of the political appointees.
"For example, Undersecretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen has 20 years of public administrative experience, while Undersecretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung only has a few years of political experience. Why is So being paid more than Tam?" Lee asked.
The Democrats also requested that Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung and Chief Executive's Office director Norman Chan Tak-lam attend Legco's constitutional affairs panel on Monday.
Bowing to political pressure, the government disclosed salaries of the 17 appointees on Tuesday. Four undersecretaries will be paid HK$223,585 a month while the others will earn HK$208,680. Political assistants will receive between HK$134,150 and HK$163,960.