Seven AO-grade staff among resignations linked to oath

Top News | Maisy Mok 23 Apr 2021

Seven administrative officers resigned in the first three months of the year after civil servants were required to pledge allegiance to the government, according to official statistics.

All civil servants were required to take an oath or sign a declaration to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the HKSAR within four weeks starting last January.

Secretary for Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen had said 129 civil servants refused to sign the declaration as of April 1.

Statistics released yesterday showed that AO-grade staff were among those who resigned.

In the financial year that ended in March, 21 AO-grade staff quit, more than double the nine who resigned the year before, according to the Civil Service Bureau.

Thirteen of them held nondirectorate positions, while eight held directorate positions. The figures the year before were six nondirectorate officers and three directorate ones. Seven of them resigned between January and March, within the time frame for pledging allegiance to the government and the Basic Law.

"Generally speaking, the reasons for resignation include family reasons, pursuing further studies and various other personal reasons," a bureau spokesman said. "Some resignees chose to take jobs in the public or private sector to further develop their career in areas they are interested in."

There are some 177,000 civil servants. They include 600 AO-grade staff whose duties include assisting in the formulation of policies, monitoring the use of public resources and managing departments.

It was reported that 53 administrative officers have resigned since 2017, when Lam was elected - 33 percent higher than during the term of former chief executive Leung Chun-ying, when 40 quit.

Nonofficial Executive Council member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said administrative officers would rather work in public organizations, such as the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, MTR Corp and Airport Authority than dealing with "hot potatoes" at the Legislative Council and the government.

"Public organizations offer a much higher salary," said Ip, who used to be an administrative officer herself.

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