THE story of the week was who’s in and who’s out as the government changes tack – for the better? Two ministers step down; Former senior officials to lead WKCDA and FHKI.
Two ministers “removed” from cabinet
CY Leung announced on July 21 the “removal (免職)” of Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing (曾德成) and Secretary for the Civil Service Paul Tang Kwok-wai (鄧國威) from their official posts. Undersecretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Lau Kong-wah (劉江華) and Commissioner of Customs and Excise Clement Cheung Wan-ching (張雲正) has succeeded Tsang and Tang respectively.
The usual sugar coating seemed to go out the window in unseemly commentary that intensified over the week. As of yesterday, even the normally unflappable Jasper Tsang (曾鈺成) was taking shots at the Chief Executive over the dismissal of his brother, Tsang Tak-sing, and James Tien got in on the action from his Hawaii holiday.
Tsang later made an official statement in which he said he was “glad to retire” while Tang cited “unforeseeable family circumstances” as the reason for his resignation. The two outgoing officials reportedly received the order and were asked to come up with a reason for their leave last Thursday amid failure to coordinate closely with Leung. Clement Cheung wasn’t even in town for the announcement and had to cut short a holiday upon hearing of his ascendancy.
The use of the word “removal” has sparked some controversies as the word implies that the two ministers were “being resigned (被辭任)” rather than taking their own initiative as the press releases would suggest. It was later noted by netizens that the word is commonly used by the State Council when announcing personnel changes.
Senior appointments to AFCD and Government Lab
Permanent Secretary for Development (Planning and Lands) Thomas Chow Tat-ming (周達明) will succeed the retiring Raymond Wong Hung-chiu (黃鴻超) as Permanent Secretary for the Civil Service with effect on September 14, 2015.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Dr Leung Siu-fai (梁肇輝) and Assistant Government Chemist Dr Della Sin Wai-mei (單慧媚) were promoted to the posts of Director of AFC and Government Chemist respectively upon retirement of their predecessors. AFC has jurisdiction over much of the country parks and will be of extreme interest to the environmental lobby.
Former Housing Director to lead West Kowloon art hub project
Chief Secretary and Chairman of the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) Authority Carrie Lam appointed Chief Operating Officer Duncan Pescod as the art hub’s new CEO with effect on August 3, 2015.
Mr. Pescod was the Permanent Secretary for Transport and Housing (Housing) and Director of Housing from 2010 to 2014.
When asked whether Pescod was an appropriate candidate, Carrie Lam said the former Housing Director with more than 30 years of civil service was “the most suitable candidate”.
(Ed. note – Of course she would. Before the announcement, both Vincent Wong and I gave him an enthusiastic nod in our daily online TV show. We also talked about his career and why he’s awesome. Watch it here.)
FHKI welcomes new Director-General
Arthur Ho Kin-wah (何健華) will join the Federation of Hong Kong Industries (FHKI) on August 24 2015 and is expected to assume the position of Director-General with effect from September 8. He will replace Linda So who served the FHKI for the past three years.
Mr Ho was Deputy Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs from 2006 to 2012 and Director of Administration and Development of the Department of Justice for the then two years before leaving the civil service. This continues a trend of major business organisations hiring former bureaucrats, like Shirley Yuen (袁莎妮), CEO of the HKGCC.
Norwegian Chamber passes the torch
Dr. Derek Anthony, Chairman of the Norwegian of Commerce in Hong Kong from 2011 to 2015, has stepped down from the Chairmanship this year, to focus on the expansion of his business, The MDI Ltd. He will continue as Vice-Chairman.
The new Chairman is Kjartan Furset, Strategic Application Manager at Nordic Semiconductors. Mr. Furset is an avid competitive sailor and has been involved in the Chamber, most recently as Vice President. You can find out more about him by clicking here.
Seven new appointments to Elderly Commission
The Government appointed seven new members to the Elderly Commission. The members are:
- Cheung Leong (張亮), Executive Director, Charities and Community of the Hong Kong Jockey Club
- Victor Lam Hoi-cheung (林凱章), member of the Business Facilitation Advisory Committee and the Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service and son to ExCo member Jeffrey Lam
- Susan So Chan Wai-hang (蘇陳偉香), Chairman of Yan Chai Hospital Board of Directors
- Doris Tse Man-wah (謝文華), Hospital Chief Executive of Caritas Medical Centre
- Wong Kit-loong (黃傑龍), CEO and Executive Director of the Hong Kong Housing Society
- Kenneth Wong Tai-lun (黃泰倫), honorary legal advisor of Pok Oi Hospital, and
- Yeung Ka-ching (楊家正), Principal Lecturer of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration of The University of Hong Kong.
Nine incumbent members, including Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the commission Professor Alfred Chan Cheung-ming (陳章明) and Dr Lam Ching-choi (林正財), have been re-appointed.