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SCMA speaks to media on reconstruction work in Sichuan

     Following is the transcript of the remarks (English portion) by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, this (December 22) afternoon in response to a media question after attending a ceremony to announce the first phase funding grants for non-governmental organisation projects in support of reconstruction in the earthquake-stricken areas in Sichuan:

Reporter: Will it be difficult for the general public to be convinced that the money will be used appropriately under such financial situation?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: The financial tsunami is an important happening in 2008. On the part of the Hong Kong Government, we are very convinced that it is necessary for Hong Kong to face up to the financial tsunami, to promote the support for SMEs, to create jobs, and to roll forward our infrastructure development programmes. But at the same time, it is also very necessary for the reconstruction of Sichuan to continue. The school children who need schooling facilities, the farmers who need to rebuild their homes, and the rehabilitative and medical services which need to be put in place, are all awaiting our support. On the part of Hong Kong, the Government has stated that we would wish to limit the potential support in the reconstruction of Sichuan to a maximum of HK$10 billion. So far, we have already got financial support of $2 billion from the Legislative Council, $1 billion from the Hong Kong Jockey Club and a measure of support from the members of the public. We intend to submit a further report to the Development Panel of the Legislative Council early in 2009. We will conduct our reconstruction support in various stages.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Monday, December 22, 2008