Transcript of remarks by SHYA at media session

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, Miss Alice Mak, at a media session after attending a radio programme today (May 3):
Reporter: Miss Mak, how can the Government ensure appointed members to the District Councils are devoted to serve the public and why isn't there any for a vice-chair in District Councils? Has the Government considered not having directly elected seats at all?
Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs: In fact, the mechanism of appointing a member to serve in the District Councils through appointment by the Chief Executive is not new. In the past, we already had appointed members serving in the District Councils, and I, myself, have once been an appointed member of Kwai Tsing District Council. So when considering whether a candidate is suitable to be appointed to serve in the District Council, the Government will definitely consider the passion and mission of the candidate in serving the community, and also whether the candidate is capable of giving constructive or professional advice to the Government and help better serve the community. These are the criteria that we have already considered when making appointments in the past and this will continue in the future mechanism, that is, we will find the suitable candidate who can give constructive advice, and to have the passion, mission and devotion to serve the community.
     As for the chairmen of the District Councils, the future chairmen of the District Councils will be District Officers of the district. This is to ensure the administrative-led principle is actualised. In fact, apart from that, when a District Officer becomes the chairman of the District Council, he or she can better co-ordinate the services and opinions of the District Council, so that we can have the synergy between the District Councils, Care teams (District Services and Community Care Teams) and other district consultative organisations. About the vice-chairmanship, when we consider whether we need a vice-chairman of the council of a certain meeting, we need to think about the responsibility of the vice-chairman, that is, when the chairman is unable to chair the meeting, the vice-chairman will have to chair the meeting. But in the case of the present proposal, the chairmen of the District Councils will be District Officers. In the Government system, when District Officers are on leave or cannot attend the meeting, we will always have an acting District Officer, so there is no need for a vice-chairman to help share the responsibility or help chair the meetings. The system is already comprehensive.
     During the process of formulating the present proposal in enhancing and improving our district administration, we have considered many proposals. In fact, many stakeholders have voiced out their opinions and ideas. After serious considerations, we have proposed the current proposal. We think that this is the most suitable to the situation of Hong Kong and this can help the Government gauge the community's pulse. Also, the District Councils can be back to the principle of the Basic Law. In the Article 97 of the Basic Law, it is already stated that the District Council is not a part of the political organs. The consultative functions of the District Councils are better actualised in our present proposal.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Issued at HKT 13:04