Civil servants should not join the calls for Tung Chee-hwa's downfall, Secretary for Civil Service Joseph Wong Wing-ping said yesterday. Officially taking over from Lam Woon-kwong yesterday, Mr Wong called on colleagues to back the Chief Executive. He said that while no civil service unions had called on Mr Tung to stand down or had made personal attacks on him, despite their discontent with civil service reforms, they should not become emotional or oversimplify matters by asking anyone to resign. He said Mr Tung had been elected under provisions in the Basic Law and the whole civil service should support him. Asked if it was inappropriate for civil servants to ask Mr Tung to step down, he said: 'I would agree with you to some extent.' While recognising that unions had the right to express their views and take any legal action, Mr Wong said the Government would listen to their views and engage in dialogue with them. He would try to ensure that the civil service team was apolitical. Mr Wong cited a poem written by Mao Zedong asking the public to judge reforms from a long-term perspective. 'It may affect the short-term interests of some people but one should not ignore the long-term benefits,' he said. Mr Wong was adamant the civil service revamp should go ahead, but said priorities should be set. 'You can hardly say the direction is not correct or we have done anything wrong. However, I would set the priorities in implementing it,' he said. In a letter to all civil servants, Mr Wong said no officer would be forced to leave the service or have pay and conditions of service reduced under the pretext of reform. He said he would visit a department each week. It is understood he will meet eight major civil service groups on August 11. Wong Wai-hung, chairman of the Association of Government Land & Engineering Surveying Officers, said he was disappointed by Mr Wong's remarks. 'He spoke like a mainland cadre rather than a civil servant. It showed he is conservative. He can simply say we are permitted to take any action within the law,' he said. Wong Wai-hung's group was one of 18 that organised an anti-reform protest on July 9 attended by about 10,000 staff. Leung Chi-chiu, chairman of the Senior Non-expatriate Officers' Association, echoed Joseph Wong's views. 'I would agree with him if he means civil servants should be loyal to the Government of the day,' he said.