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SCMA speaks to media after attending City Forum

     Following is the transcript of the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam's answers to media questions after attending RTHK's City Forum, held in Victoria Park, today (April 18):

Reporter: What did you hear from today's public forum? Do you think that the public is quite clear that they want genuine democracy?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: What I would say is that in promoting democracy in Hong Kong, we need to work together, we need to build a consensus, accommodate mutually different views, but at the same time we should try to maintain order in these public forums. We cannot pursue democracy merely by instigating rowdy exchanges.

Secondly, I would emphasise that the HKSAR Government values constant communication with different political parties and organisations, and that is why we have already extended an invitation to the Alliance for Universal Suffrage to have a further meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration and myself.

And thirdly, I would emphasise that the package of proposals we have put forth for the 2012 constitutional development contains genuine democratic elements. There are 10 extra seats proposed for the Legislative Council for 2012. The five new directly elected seats will come from the geographical constituencies through votes cast directly by the people of Hong Kong. And, there are five new functional seats, which will be returned by elected District Councillors through proportional representation election. So, the additional elements of democracy are very real.

Reporter : What is there to discuss with the Alliance for Universal Suffrage when you say you don't have much room for compromise?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Well, I think communication is very important. I think it is necessary for different political parties and organisations to realise that "politics is the art of the possible". For a start, we have already attained a universal suffrage timetable for implementing universal suffrage for the Chief Executive in 2017 and for the Legislative Council in 2020.

Secondly, we are proposing an additional 10 seats for the Legislative Council in 2012, and this will enable the younger generation of political talents to come forth.

Thirdly, the pan-democratic parties have been proposing for a number of years that we should abolish appointed District Council seats. This is an issue which the HKSAR Government is very concerned about, and we have made it clear that we take an open and constructive attitude. We hope that after the 2012 package for constitutional development is passed, we can as soon as possible put forth proposals on this issue to the Legislative Council and the public for discussion.

(Note : Please also refer to the Chinese transcript.)

Ends/Sunday, April 18, 2010