Controls on new jobs for retired civil servants may be extended

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 July, 2009, 12:00am

A committee reviewing the conditions for the post-retirement employment of directorate-level civil servants will recommend extending the time during which retired officials must seek government permission before taking a job in the private sector.

But committee members remained divided on how long retired officials must wait before they are free of government controls on further employment.

Depending on rank or length of service in the government, the current control period ranges from two to three years for former directorate-level officials.

Nine months after its establishment by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, the Committee on Review of Post-Service Outside Work for Directorate Civil Servants recently completed its report, which is to be submitted to Mr Tsang soon.

Mr Tsang had announced last August that he would set up the independent review committee after widespread public concerns were aired over the acceptance by ex-housing chief Leung Chin-man of a job with developer New World China Land.

The Legislative Council set up an inquiry into Mr Leung's controversial employment, which is continuing.

One committee recommendation is for an extension of one to two years on the present control period and another envisages a five-year control period.

Senior Government Officers' Association chairman So Ping-chi said any extension of the control period should take into account a retired official's duties. 'While senior directorate officials are involved in important policymaking, some junior directorate officials may also participate in some decisions like the sale of land, which might involve possible conflicts of interest.

'The extension of the control period may help to ease public worries. But it does not necessarily stop you from being employed, as all you need is to obtain approval.'

In its report to the chief executive, the review committee also suggests an expansion of the government- appointed advisory committee that processes job-approval applications from retired officials. The advisory committee, chaired by Mr Justice Pang Kin-kee, has come under fire after revelations that it processed retired officials' job-approval applications without meeting.

Last August, Mr Leung took a top role with New World China Land after obtaining approval from the civil service minister.

His new job stirred controversy because Mr Leung had been involved in the government's sale of Hunghom Peninsula housing estate for barely half of its asking price to a consortium including a New World subsidiary. Mr Leung quit the job.