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SCMA and EOC Chairperson Selection Board meet the media

     The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam; the Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) Chairperson Selection Board, Mrs Laura Cha; and two members of the Selection Board, Mr Bernard Chan and Mr Tsang Kin-ping, met the media today (March 18) on the appointment of the EOC Chairperson. Following is the transcript of remarks made by Mr Tam:

Reporter: Mr Tam, two questions. The first question, can you explain why you have chosen an academic to lead the Equal Opportunities Commission this time, considering the past two Chairmen have a civil servant background. Secondly, Dr York Chow has been pushing repeatedly for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) help against discrimination. Can the LGBT communities still expect that sort of commitment from someone who has a background in elderly affairs?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: If you look at the background of various chairpersons of the Equal Opportunities Commission in the past 20 years, you can see that we have actually appointed a wide range of personalities to become the chairpersons. We have a former judge, we have former civil servants of course, and we have an academic as the first chairperson as well. In considering the most suitable person to be recommended to the Chief Executive for appointment, the Selection Board has actually looked at a wide range of personalities, more than 140-something personalities in Hong Kong. The factors for consideration have been mentioned by Mrs Cha at her opening statement, so I do not need to repeat that. After considering all factors, I think the Chief Executive has, upon the recommendation of the Selection Board, made the decision we announce today.

     Your second question is about the LGBT. I think (the report made by) the Advisory Group (Advisory Group on Eliminating Discrimination against Sexual Minorities) chaired by Professor (Fanny) Cheung as well as the report made by the EOC have been discussed initially by the Legislative Council (LegCo) about a month ago. I am sure that this discussion will go on. I will attend in April the LegCo Finance Committee to explain what the Government would do in our coming budget in furthering the objective of removing any discrimination against these sexual minority communities in Hong Kong through training, publicity and perhaps a further study on the experience encountered by other foreign jurisdictions so as to have a better basis for us to move forward with the anti-discrimination work against the sexual minorities in Hong Kong. We are going to proactively and positively consider the two reports. When we are ready, we will make the necessary announcement through LegCo and the media at an appropriate junction.

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