Post-retirement watchdog rapped for excessive caution on Fanny Law

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

A government advisory panel has been criticised as 'erring on the side of caution' in restricting the post-retirement work of former top civil servant Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun.

Legislator and former secretary for security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee yesterday said the restrictions had prevented Mrs Law from using her professional knowledge of education policies.

'I think the [Advisory Committee on Post-service Employment of Civil Servants] is erring on the side of caution, and taking the easy way out in tightening the conditions,' she said.

'As a result of the Leung Chin-man inquiry, I think the advisory committee and Civil Service Bureau are playing it safe to avoid any possible controversy over the post-retirement employment of senior civil servants,' she said. Mr Leung, a former director of housing, sparked a public outcry when he took a post-retirement job with a developer.

The South China Morning Post reported yesterday that the Advisory Committee on Post-service Employment of Civil Servants had suggested that Mrs Law - who had been seeking approval to take up the job of chief executive of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals - not be involved in its education services.

While the relevant policy bureaus had expressed no objections, the Administrative Officer Grade Management believed there would be concerns over an 'unfair advantage' from some quarters, given Mrs Law's previous role as permanent secretary for education and manpower.

Secretary for Civil Service Denise Yue Chung-yee told Mrs Law that she should not be 'involved directly or indirectly' in Tung Wah's education services until August 2011. The charity group runs hospitals, schools and a range of other social services. Mrs Law has decided not to take the post.

So Ping-chi, chairman of the Senior Government Officers Association, said the administration had been reasonable in exercising more caution in vetting applications in recent months.

'The government has done a good job in barring Mrs Law from managing education services provided by Tung Wah, as tighter restrictions could ease public doubts about possible conflict of interests,' he said.

But Tai Hay-lap, a former member of the Education Commission, said he did not see any possibility of Tung Wah enjoying an unfair advantage from Mrs Law's employment, as she left the Education and Manpower Bureau in 2006.