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Sunday, Oct 02, 2022

Lam revamp hinges on Lee

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is confident of approval for her proposed administrative restructuring by lawmakers before her term ends at the end of next month, as she wants to submit the plan to her successor once he is installed as CE-elect on Sunday.
As such, she said, the restructuring can take place in time for the start of the new term on July 1.

The plan, if supported by John Lee Ka-chiu once his election formalities are over on Sunday, must be approved before he takes office.

"If not," she said, "the CE-elect won't be able to tell someone that he wants him to head the culture, sports and tourism bureau."

Lam proposed the bureau in her October policy address, as well as a split of the Transport and Housing Bureau and a reconfiguration of the Food and Health Bureau into one where its sole responsibility is only the latter, with food purviews farmed off elsewhere.

Change is also afoot for Home Affairs, Innovation and Technology and Environment bureaus.

The proposal - structure plans, rationales and budget estimates - will be handed over to the CE-Elect's Office - established yesterday - on Sunday.

It will then go to the finance committee and establishment subcommittee for a vote on the new bureaus.

Next will be the passing of a motion in Legco to bestow new statutory powers on bureau heads.

"All of these have to be completed within a tight schedule," Lam said. "As we now have 90 patriotic lawmakers, I am confident it can be done."

She refused to comment on Lee's manifesto beyond saying she would review it later.

This came as Lee is reported to be mulling bringing back a government research body similar to the scrapped central policy unit, which Lam had replaced with the Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office.

Lee yesterday met Election Committee members from the agriculture and fisheries subsector - which saw only 14 of 60 members back his nomination, after which he said they suggested his administration speed up the industry's development with IT and extend the local market to the Greater Bay Area.

Fully backing him was the SAR's biggest party, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which agreed yesterday to get all of its 150-plus members to vote for him on Sunday.

Sources said police will deploy up to 7,000 officers to ensure the smooth running of polls at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre, Wan Chai.

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