Following is the transcript of the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam's response to media questions after attending the Legislative Council meeting this (June 25) evening (English portion):
Reporter: How will you respond to the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma's resignation?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Fred has been a close colleague of our Government for the last six years. Many of the colleagues within the Administration find it very sad that due to a health situation, he has to resign from the Government. He is a very gifted colleague. He was able to bring commercial world experience into the Government, and he relatively adapted quickly. He is well liked by government colleagues and has very good relations with political parties across the spectrum. So, we wish him well. We very much hope that he will remain in good health. We will have to be forward looking and manage the new situation in the absence of Mr Ma.
Reporter: Have you decided on any suitable candidate who can be the acting head of the bureau?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: At this stage, the next step is for the Chief Executive to forward the resignation put forth by Mr Ma to the Central Government. It is up to the Central Government to consider whether to accept the proposed resignation. Only thereafter will a vacancy occur. It will then be for the Chief Executive to consider potential suitable candidates for filling the vacancy, and a proper nomination will have to be put forth under the Basic Law to the Central Government for a formal appointment.
Reporter: Will Mr Greg So be the Acting Secretary of the Bureau?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I would say that for the Under Secretaries we have recruited this time round, we need to provide them with a limited period of time to adapt to their policy portfolios. Thereafter, they can act in an administrative capacity as Secretaries if, say, the policy secretary is outside of Hong Kong on official business. But these acting appointments are of a temporary nature and only of a limited duration. They are not the same as the arrangements which the Chief Executive will have to make to fill a vacancy if a Secretary of the Government has resigned.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Wednesday, June 25, 2008