Following is the transcript of remarks given by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, at a media session after attending a radio programme this morning (May 7):
Reporter: What preparations have you made for Wednesday's meeting to ensure that there will be enough quorum? Also, is it possible to make rearrangements so that the Government's proposed reorganisation plan can be discussed?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I must first of all reiterate that to attend Legislative Council (LegCo) meetings is the prerogative and responsibility of each and every LegCo Member. Having said that, of course the Administration would have to do our best to encourage Members to attend meetings, but the primary responsibility would still vest with each LegCo Member. I think I have to make this point clear first of all. But at the same time, because of the lack of quorum last Thursday morning, since then I and my team have been talking with various LegCo Members, hoping that the quorum issue would be resolved for Wednesday. And I note from some of them that they are contemplating a kind of roster system to ensure that at any time there would be sufficient Members to meet the quorum requirement. But of course, because of the filibuster tactics employed by a few Members, there would be more than one or two days' meeting even if the quorum is met. It would be long, it would be tedious, and it would be exhausting. But I am sure that for the remaining Members who are willing to attend the LegCo meeting, they will be willing to bear this kind of physical difficulty for the benefit of the general public and for the benefit of the overall operation of the LegCo, because at the end of the day, it is the public interest that matters. It is not party politics that matters.
Reporter: Can there be any rearrangements so that the Government's reorganisation plan can be discussed?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: As far as I understand, according to the Rules of Procedure, if there is a quorum issue and the meeting has to adjourn, then when the next sitting resumes on Wednesday this week, it has to deal with the questions which were left when the quorum was not met last Wednesday. So we have to handle the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2012 first under the Bills Section. Of course, at the end of the day, the LegCo President has the power to rearrange within that section, i.e. to rearrange the order of handling various bills for this coming Wednesday. On that, we are talking with the Secretariat at the moment, but I think we have to follow the established procedures and we are fully prepared that for the coming Wednesday after the legislative oral questions, then we will come to the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2012 discussion again under the Committee Stage.
Reporter: What about Stephen Lam? What do you think about his departure?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I have been working with Mr Stephen Lam - it must be five times now - over a period of 16 years already. My first job before the Handover was to handle the Handover together with him. During all these years, I think Mr Lam is a very capable officer in co-ordinating and in implementing government policies. He is a man of integrity. He is a man that has full regards to collective wisdom. He is certainly a team player, and now a team leader as well. He is highly regarded by most of the Administrative Officer colleagues. Of course, in the past few years, he has been handling very difficult constitutional issues, and that actually has resulted in his low public popularity rating. But on a personal note, I would wish him well, especially I am not surprised to know that he has decided to study theology in Oxford. He has been contemplating such an idea over the past few years as far as I know. I would remember him in my prayers. I hope that after his one-year study, the Lord would guide him in his next step to take.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Monday, May 7, 2012