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Transcript of SCA's standup briefing after panel meeting

Following is the transcript (English portion) of a standup briefing given by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after the meeting of the Legislative Council Panel on Constitutional Affairs today (October 7):

Reporter: The Legislative Councillors have expressed a number of concerns today about the declaration system. What is your response to that and will the Government do more to publicise the details?

SCA: We have designed the system in the spirit that Principal Officials should be personalities of the highest possible public conduct. It is essential that they should maintain a position which does not bring them into any potential conflict of interest. We believe that the system we have designed enables the public to scrutinise their investments, their personal interests in terms of holding of properties or shareholdings in individual companies. This model has been based on that which applies to Executive Council Members over the years and also senior civil servants in years past. So, this is an early stage of the accountability system being implemented. In so doing, in the months ahead, we will obviously keep in view progress we have made. But, we do believe that the balance we have drawn thus far is appropriate and effective.

Reporter: But, will you be extending the declaration to other areas or in more details?

SCA: On the one hand, we need to enable the public to scrutinise the investment interests of Principal Officials. On the other hand, we also have to preserve their privacy and that of their family members. So, it is necessary for us to maintain this balance in the days and months and years ahead. But, I would say that this model has been in use for many years. We believe it is effective and that it has struck the appropriate balance.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion.)

End/Monday, October 7, 2002.