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Transcript of SCMA's remarks at media session

     Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, at a media session this afternoon (March 31):  

Reporter: Mr Tam, for the serious matter of privacy leak, did you personally talk to the election officials involved? What exactly happened? Why were those data actually in Expo (AsiaWorld-Expo)? As the bureau chief, do you think was time well spent given especially the stalemate on political reform?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Do you mean for the past few years?

Reporter: The past five years…

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Since I was informed by my colleagues about the incident that happened in AsiaWorld-Expo this Monday, I have been talking to the Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission Justice Barnabas Fung over the phone. The Electoral Affairs Commission is an independent and statutory organisation and I would fully observe this principle. But at the same time, I talked to him to compare notes to see whether there has been any positive progress regarding the recovery of the two laptops and the follow-up mitigation measures needed to be taken by REO (Registration and Electoral Office) colleagues. Because our bureau is also the housekeeping bureau for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, I have been talking to the Commissioner himself to seek his advice on what extra measures the REO should take in order to mitigate the possible leakage to protect the interests of the data subjects – the 3.7 million Hong Kong voters. So, that's what I have been doing in the past few days. At the same time, I have scheduled a number of important meetings on Mainland affairs. I thought that after (the election) last Sunday, I would be able to re-focus on some of the important Mainland affairs, including the co-location issue and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area study. I have been meeting with Mainland officials on these two areas as well.
     Yesterday, I thought that I should come here to talk to the media about the latest progress because we had a motion debate on political reform. But, sadly, the motion did not see daylight yesterday. Today is already Friday and I think it is only fair for me to come down here to talk to you and the rest of the media colleagues about the latest information that I have in my hands. I am sure when I attend the Special Finance Committee meeting next Monday, (Legislative Council) Members will not let go this important issue and they would also have many questions to ask. At that meeting, the head of the REO would also attend and would address the questions. I hope that would provide the latest update to you.
Reporter: The question about the time spent. Is this the reason why you don't stay on for the next term?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Well, I personally do not think there has been meaningful progress in terms of building up communication and mutual trust among all stakeholders, including the Central Government and the various political parties in Hong Kong, especially the pan-democratic parties. I don't think the circumstances are there to enable an early launch of the "five-step process". Therefore, I don't think in the event that I were to choose to stay in the next term government, I would have something meaningful, to me at least, to deal with. That is why I just said that no matter what final decision I would make, I would definitely not assume this very post again.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Friday, March 31, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:53