Official eyes seat on Selection Committee

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 August, 1996, 12:00am

A senior government official has expressed a keen interest in sitting on the Selection Committee.

Stephen Poon Sing-chi, the Senior Assistant Director of Housing, has made known his interest to the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, which will nominate members to the Preparatory Committee this month.

Mr Poon, a former chairman of the institute, is the first directorate-level officer to express an interest in joining the committee, which will select the chief executive and members of the provisional legislature.

But his chance of securing a seat in the committee would largely depend on the Government's attitude.

The South China Morning Post reported last month that new guidelines were being prepared barring senior civil servants from joining the Selection Committee because of possible clashes of interest.

Secretary for Civil Service Lam Woon-kwong said yesterday that the Government was still working on the guidelines and that the issue of conflict of interest would certainly be its main consideration.

Mr Poon said he would seek advice from the Civil Service Branch if no guidelines were issued by the end of next week, the institute's deadline for nominations.

'I understand there is a possible conflict of interest because of the Government's opposition to the provisional legislature.

'But I think my position in the Government has little connection with politics.

'As far as I know, there are a lot of senior government officials who are also chairmen or key members of professional groups. They face similar dilemmas,' said Mr Poon.

He said it was natural for him to have an interest in the Selection Committee, since the institute for architects had been active in public affairs.

On the provisional legislature, the official said it would be difficult for him to cast a vote only in the chief executive election.

'It would be unfair to my professional group which would like me to represent its views on both issues,' he said.

Mr Poon said his possible membership of the committee was raised at the institute's council meeting a few months ago when some members suggested that its former chairmen should be nominated.

About 10 other members of the institute have expressed an interest in joining the Selection Committee.

They include legislator Edward Ho Sing-tin, institute chairman Chung Wah-nan and council member Dennis Lau Wing-kwong.