Pro-Beijing figures yesterday harshly criticised a rousing farewell speech delivered by top civil servant Anson Chan Fang On-sang on Thursday. They accused Mrs Chan, who retires at the end of the month as Chief Secretary for Administration, of trying to force her values on the SAR and of being 'too Hong Kong-oriented'. National People's Congress local deputy Ma Lik said Mrs Chan wanted to have her set of values maintained despite the fact that she was leaving the Government. Mrs Chan was given a standing ovation at an Asia Society lunch after delivering her last public speech before retirement. She called for a tougher look at the pace of democratic reform and urged fellow civil servants to speak up if they felt the SAR's interests were under threat. She also expressed concern that Hong Kong people had become more inward looking after the handover and called on the SAR to avoid becoming 'just another city in China'. But Mr Ma said Mrs Chan was trying to advocate that Hong Kong should distance itself from the mainland. 'She asked people not to look up to the north [the mainland]. But this is exactly what we have to do if we want Hong Kong to move forward. She is too Hong Kong-oriented. This concept won't be good for the SAR,' he said. Mr Ma did not think the time was right to start a public debate on the pace of democratic reform. 'There are still six years to go. I don't think she needs to heat it up right now,' he said. The Basic Law provides for popular election of the Chief Executive and full universal suffrage of the legislature after 2007. Xu Simin, a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference member, hinted Mrs Chan should not have said so much. 'If she wants to leave, she simply leaves. It is difficult for me to analyse what she said. I hope she will continue to concern [herself] about Hong Kong matters and be a good citizen after she finishes,' he said. Another NPC local deputy, Raymond Wu Wai-yung, played down Mrs Chan's influence. 'The speech was good . . . Whether people agree or not is a separate matter. She is stepping down. What she says will no longer be important. 'We should not take her words seriously. It doesn't matter what one says when one has no authority.' He said if people wanted to read her remarks they could, or just ignore them. Mr Wu believed Mrs Chan's remarks would not place further pressure on Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa or Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who will succeed her next month. A civil servants' union supported Mrs Chan's remarks that officials should speak up if they felt Hong Kong's interests were under threat. Cecilia So Chui-kuen, president of the Chinese Civil Servants' Association, said she agreed that the civil service should be politically neutral and that there should not be any 'shoe-shining' culture.