Hong Kong, April 7 (IANS) Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has dismissed calls from across the political spectrum to take a voluntary pay freeze, after it was revealed her annual salary had increased to HK$5.21 million ($672,000), a media report said on Tuesday.
Lam’s 2.36 per cent pay rise, up from HK$5.09 million in the 2019/20 financial year, means she continues to be one of the highest-paid political leaders in the world, said the South China Morning Post report.
According to the city’s public spending blueprint for 2020/21, Lam’s annual salary increased by HK$120,000. An increase the city leader clarified had taken effect last July, taking her salary to HK$434,000 a month.
In a media briefing on Tuesday morning, Lam was asked if she would heed to demands to turn down the increase.
“My first priority right now is to finalise as early as possible the package of relief measures under the second round of anti-epidemic funding,” she said.
Lam added that she and the city’s other politically appointed officials had recently donated one month’s pay to the Community Chest of Hong Kong for charity purposes, adding she would consider similar ways in future “to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Hong Kong”.
On Tuesday, Lam said the July pay adjustment was made according to a pre-existing mechanism that lawmakers themselves had voted to approve in 2017, the South China Morning Post reported.
“It’s not the case that officials raised the salary increase in the Legislative Council (because they are scrutinising) spending,” she said.
Hong Kong has so far reported 914 coronavirus cases with four deaths.