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SCMA speaks to the media

     Following is the transcript of the remarks by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, in response to a media question after attending a radio programme this morning (December 18):

Reporter: What is the Government's plan now on the Legislative Council by-election issue?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: On the by-election issue, we have finished the public consultation. We have received more than 31,000 written submissions, the majority of which is that the Government should do something to plug the loophole so as to discourage Legislative Council members from resigning from their office and thereby triggering the by-election mechanism. In their views, this amounts to a waste of public money. But at the same time, the views in detail are not that specific as to which option will receive the majority support of the community. Option 1 – that is a by-election will be held anyway but the member who triggers that particular by-election will be prohibited from participating in the same election – is a view that certain political parties have forwarded and we are now consulting our in-house as well as external legal advice as to its legality and whether it is commensurate with our constitution, the Basic Law. Once we are ready to do so, we will then publish the consultation report as well as the next step forward. Certainly, we will have to go back to the Legislative Council because there is still a bill there. We will have to deal with it as well so I will have to go back to the Legislative Council but hopefully it will not be too long. At the same time, I do not want to rush the issue because judging from past experience we should carry the mast so to speak. I am not in a position just to unilaterally push that in the Legislative Council so I will have to listen to the views of Legislative Council members again.

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

Ends/Sunday, December 18, 2011