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20 October 2022 Parliamentary Replies

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on civil servants holding concurrent appointments with foreign governments

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on civil servants holding concurrent appointments with foreign governments

Parliamentary Sitting: 20 Oct 2022

Ms Hazel Poa: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether civil servants are allowed to hold concurrent appointments with foreign governments; (b) if so, under what circumstances will they be allowed to do so; (c) how many are currently holding such concurrent appointments and with which foreign governments; and (d) what measures are in place to prevent these civil servants from being targets of influence operations.

Written Reply by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service.

Civil servants are generally not allowed to take up concurrent employment with foreign governments. This is aligned to our policy on outside employment, where civil servants should not seek employment outside of the public service to avoid conflict of interest with their official duties. Some civil servants are invited to serve on advisory panels or provide consultancy or training services in other countries, under cooperation agreements, in view of their professional work and expertise. These arrangements are similar to how foreigners or foreign officials are invited to sit and serve on our advisory boards and councils.

Officers have to seek prior permission from their Permanent Secretaries to ensure there is no conflict of interest before they embark on these activities.  In addition, to mitigate the risk of foreign influence, there are measures in place where officers cannot receive gifts from foreign governments nor use any official resources or information in these external activities without the approval of their Permanent Secretaries. We do not have data on the number of such cases.