Time to lance this boil?

Since I posted What sets off your “spider sense”? (6-Aug), the ongoing contro-versy surrounding Hong Kong’s former housing director, Leung Chi-man, and his lucrative new job with property giant New World Development is – like a boil on the backside – growing bigger and more painful each day.

Our beloved Chief Executive has requested a report from the Secretary for the Civil Service, Denise Yue Chung-yee, to clarify why she ratified the decision by the impressive-sounding Advisory Committee on Post-service Employment of Civil Servants (ACPECS) to allow Mr. Leung to take up his new job.

As I write this post, the report has not yet been produced, and the delay is making matters worse.

A whole raft of (current and former) politicians, civil servants, and political analysts and pundits is asking questions out loud and – by doing so – raising suspicions in the public mind of incompetence, jobbery or some other skull-duggery within the civil service.

I presume, before allowing Mr. Leung to join his new employer, ACPECS examined his application against the list of ‘approved criteria’ laid down by the government.

The list includes the following two criteria:

  • Whether the officer’s taking up of the proposed work would give rise to public suspicion of a conflict of interest or other impropriety
  • Whether any aspects of the proposed work would embarrass the government or bring disgrace to the civil service

It makes me wonder if these two criteria were even considered.

And there’s something else puzzling me: Why didn’t Justice Pang Kin-kee, the ACPECS chairman – and a lifelong friend of Mr. Leung – recuse himself from this case?

In my view, this boil needs to be lanced without further delay.

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