An expatriate is to become Director of Drainage in what unionists say is a setback for the localisation policy. Deputy Secretary for Works John Collier will replace Ng Yee-yum. Mr Collier, 54, an engineer, could stay in the post for up to six years if he has opted for the new pension scheme. Mr Ng will retire this Saturday at the age of 60. It is understood officers ranked at senior levels in the lands and works group of departments were invited to apply for the post. Local and expatriate officers sought the job. 'There was no suitable local officer for the post. Those who are qualified and have enough experience were close to retirement age,' a source said. 'The Government has not done well in preparing enough locals through the succession plan. One should not object to the appointment of Mr Collier,' he said. Mr Ng's deputy, Tse Hon-sum, is a local officer aged 55. It is not known whether Mr Tse has opted for the old pension scheme under which he can retire at 55. Hui Kwok-hung, chairman of the Senior Non-expatriate Officers' Association, said department heads should be local so they could communicate with the general public and be aware of public sentiment. He disagreed that there were no qualified local officers to fill the post. 'The Government was too late starting a succession plan to give local officers more chances to carry out more important duties so that they could accumulate experience,' he said. Sandra Lee Suk-yee, Deputy Secretary for Civil Service, did not confirm or deny Mr Collier's appointment, saying only that formalities had to be completed before an announcement could be made in the middle of this month. Another expatriate department head, Director of Lands Robert Pope, has had his contract renewed for three years up to 1999.