Chan sets retirement priorities

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 May, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 May, 1993, 12:00am

ENJOYING life is the priority of Mr John Chan Cho-chak who will leave his job as the Secretary for Education and Manpower on Tuesday.

Mr Chan, who shocked his colleagues by announcing his retirement at the age of 50, said several offers of jobs had been put to him by friends in the private sector.

While refusing to disclose the reason for his early retirement, Mr Chan said in a farewell reception yesterday he had mixed feelings about leaving his job.

''Of course, retirement is a stage everyone has to go through sooner or later. But then leaving a job after 27 years, leaving a group of friends and colleagues, is obviously a bit of a traumatic experience,'' Mr Chan said.

''My immediate plan is to take some leave, which I have not had much opportunity to do for quite a few years, and then I will take my time trying to decide what to do next.

''There are various options and ways to keep life interesting. I'll be looking at all the options and I'll be considering various suggestions that have been put to me.'' There has been speculation that Mr Chan quit the civil service because he disagreed with the Governor, Mr Chris Patten, over political reforms. Some observers believe he has his eye on becoming the first chief executive of the future Special Administrative Region government.

It is the second time that Mr Chan has left the civil service.

Formerly a private secretary to former Governor Lord MacLehose, Mr Chan quit in mid-1978, to join the private sector. He rejoined the Government in March 1980.

Before flying off on holidays to the Philippines and Canada, Mr Chan said he would spend some time reading books - in the past three years, he had read nothing but documents.

He will receive a lump sum pension payment of about $1.3 million plus a monthly payment of close to $24,000.

Mr Chan, who was closely involved in drawing up policy on representative government in 1983, said the time was not ripe for a ministerial system since the Governor was still appointed by the British Government.

He said the evolution of Hongkong's political structure would be an important topic in future.

Mr Michael Leung Man-kin, the present Secretary for Transport, takes over Mr Chan's post.