The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, attended the open forum on the arrangements for filling vacancies in the Legislative Council this evening (August 23). Following is the transcript of Mr Lam's remarks (English portion) at a media session after the forum:
Reporter: Mr Lam, do you expect that after today's hearing, the Government may have to make significant changes to the bill? Secondly, several protesters said to me that the Government has reserved spaces for pro-Government members of the public to come here (to attend the forum). What is your response?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I will first deal with your second question. This open forum has been organised by the Home Affairs Department according to our established arrangements. All the people who attended today's forum have either registered on their own through the established direct line to the Home Affairs Department or they have come to queue up today for spare vacancies. Actually, we have a capacity of about 350 spaces today for participants. Only about 219 actually turned up so we have spare spaces for people who wish to join the forum.
The public consultation is a public consultation. We have not yet determined a final strategy. It is true that we have a bill before the Legislative Council but we are content to listen to views and to make necessary amendments at the final stage. We have now completed almost one month of the two-month public consultation. We will continue to attend forums organised by ourselves for the public or to meet with the professional, labour and commercial sectors. In addition to attending these forums, we will track very closely public opinion polls on this matter. We observe that various polls have indicated that over 50 per cent of the population would like this loophole to be plugged and legislation to be enacted. But of course we will make our final proposal after completing the public consultation exercise and eventually it will be for the Legislative Council Members to determine which amendment they wish to support.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Open forum on arrangements for filling LegCo vacancies (1)
The Government this evening (August 23) held the first open forum for the public to express their views on the Government's consultation paper on the arrangements for filling vacancies in the Legislative Council. The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam (right), is pictured listening to public views at the forum, which took place at Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Also pictured is the Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Pamela Tan.
Open forum on arrangements for filling LegCo vacancies (2)
Mr Lam at the open forum.