The clash of the ex-civil servants has also become the clash of the ex-chief secretaries. Former chief secretary Sir David Akers-Jones is to advise his former civil service colleague, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, on her campaign for the Legislative Council by-election for Hong Kong Island, in which she will face another former chief secretary, Anson Chan Fang On-sang. The seat was left vacant by the death of former Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong chairman Ma Lik. Sources close to Mrs Ip said the ex-security minister could officially announce her candidacy as early as Thursday, and her campaign team would be made up of business, professional and political heavyweights. The sources said the government and the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong had invited people from various sectors to assist Mrs Ip's campaign. 'I have already become an adviser to Regina Ip as I have known her for very long time. We worked together in the government. When she asked me [to be a campaign adviser] I was willing to accept,' Sir David said. Mrs Chan has already declared her intention to stand for the pan-democratic camp. Other heavyweights who have indicated they would support Mrs Ip include former secretary for justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie and former secretary for trade and industry Brian Chau Tak-hay. Miss Leung, who is visiting Inner Mongolia, said yesterday that she would support Mrs Ip. Ocean Park chairman Allan Zeman is also believed to be a supporter, although he was non-committal yesterday. Both candidates are expected to take their campaigns to the streets in the next few days. Mrs Ip has been attending National Day receptions organised by various associations to gauge support for her campaign. Mrs Chan has said she would campaign on the street after tomorrow's debate with Lo Wing-lok, of the League of Social Democrats. The debate is part of her bid for endorsement as the pan-democratic candidate. Meanwhile, Mrs Chan yesterday told a conference on political reform sponsored by the University of Hong Kong that the chief executive should establish a direct channel of communication with the central government to reflect the Hong Kong people's aspirations and concerns to Beijing. Mrs Chan also urged the government to provide a clear road map and timetable for the implementation of universal suffrage.