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SCA on accountability system

Following is the transcript of a stand-up briefing by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after attending the Basic Law quiz competition prizes presentation ceremony today (July 10):

Reporter: Mr Lam, ...... have resigned under the accountability system. Do you think that ...... need the change?

SCA: Actually, the accountability system has been designed primarily to ensure that the government of the HKSAR can respond to political pressures, and can also have a firm grasp of public opinion. The system of political appointments has been designed so that the Chief Executive can decide whether a Principal Official should stay or should leave the government service. This is much more flexible than previous arrangements whereby senior civil servants filled all the senior positions of Principal Officials. Also because we have this accountability system, we are now able to preserve the apolitical and professional civil service totally. We have been able to protect the civil service from being exposed to political pressures.

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

Ends/Saturday, July 10, 2004