LIBERALS last night urged the Government to ensure civil servants who stood up for Hong Kong's political interests would not suffer after 1997. But conservatives said the administration should try its best to preserve the tradition of political neutrality among the 190,000-strong civil service. Legislators unanimously passed a motion moved by Liberal Party legislator Ngai Shiu-kit, which urged the Government ''to implement the localisation programme, ensure the continuity of the pension arrangements for civil servants, and draw up relevant measures to boost morale''. United Democrats pointed out during the three-hour debate that the Government had to assure senior officers that their future would not be damaged if they stood up for Hong Kong people on the political front. United Democrat Cheung Man-kwong expressed worries over the arrangements for the Hong Kong Government to discuss particulars of individual officers serving beyond the change to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. ''Their political future is something that deserves our concern,'' Mr Cheung said. ''I think the Government has the responsibility to assure that civil servants' political future would not be obstructed, thus boosting their courage to stand up for Hong Kong interests.'' The conservatives queried whether the Government's recent policy on the territory's political reform had forced some top civil servants to take a political stance, thus breaking the long-observed tradition of political neutrality. ''The tradition of political neutrality allows civil servants to whole-heartedly implement the Government's policy,'' legislator Peggy Lam Pei Yu-dja said. ''But the Government has changed in the past two years on its handling of the political reform, which forced senior civil servants to show a political tendency.'' Liberal Party legislators also warned that the stability of the present system would be undermined if they were dragged into the political arena. ''Politics can be a fascinating game for some people. But it is certainly not suitable for civil servants,'' Mr Ngai said. ''Since their personal career and well being are dependent on a stable political environment, it is only logical that political uncertainty will adversely affect their confidence in the future,'' another Liberal Party legislator Peter Wong Hong-yuen said. Replying for the Government, Acting Secretary for the Civil Service, Stuart Harbinson, said civil servants would remain politically neutral. ''The civil service has always been politically neutral. There is no intention nor reasons to change this,'' he said. Mr Harbinson said the morale of public servants could be improved if legislators did not always criticise the Government. ''The civil service is in far better shape than some people appear to think,'' he said. ''There is nothing more detrimental to morale than constant negative criticism and back-seat driving.'' Mr Harbinson's call was echoed by appointed legislators Martin Barrow and Vincent Cheng. ''In the context of promoting high morale, it is certainly in no one's interest for council members to indulge in counter-productive nit-picking for political purposes,'' Mr Barrow said. ''We have a tendency to focus on shortcomings and on areas where aspirations of this council are not fully met,'' Mr Cheng said. ''Privately, many of my friends in the civil service, some in very senior positions, are frustrated.''