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|SCA considers including Chinese medicine practitioners in FC
The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, suggested today (December 10) that the Government should reconsider the inclusion of registered Chinese medicine practitioners in the Medical Functional Constituency (FC).
He also proposed that the existing electoral arrangements for 28 FCs including the number of constituencies and the basis for demarcation of electors remain broadly unchanged.
However, he would make necessary technical adjustments to tie in with the developments and situation of the relevant FCs. More significant change would be made to the Medical FC.
Mr Lam noted that the Administration had considered including registered Chinese medicine practitioners in the Medical FC in preparation for the 2000 Legislative Council elections. The proposal was subsequently withdrawn as the statutory framework for registering Chinese medicine practitioners was not yet fully ready then.
However, the Administration undertook to consider the proposal for the 2004 LegCo elections.
Mr Lam said a statutory registration scheme has been put in place and thousands of Chinese medicine practitioners would have been properly registered by mid-2004.
The Medical FC is currently made up of about 7 700 registered doctors and dentists (as against a potential electorate of 13 100), he noted.
The Chinese Medicine Council has vetted the academic qualification and practice experience of some 7 700 "listed" Chinese medicine practitioners and announced that about 2 400 of them have been registered as Chinese medicine practitioners.
As for the remaining 5 300 "listed" practitioners and graduates completing recognised undergraduate degree courses, they may apply for registration as registered Chinese medicine practitioners only after they have passed the registration assessment or licensing examination to be held from 2003 onward.
Mr Lam noted that for the third term LegCo elections, the Government agreed in principle to consider including registered Chinese medical practitioners in the Medical FC. However, the Government would consult the relevant profession and interested parties on the proposal and, having regard to the views, would take a decision on the issue in finalising the amendment bill for submission to LegCo, he added.
The Government will in the coming few weeks listen to the views of The Hong Kong Medical Association, the Hong Kong Dental Association, the Chinese Medicine Council and other relevant parties.
The Government needed to amend the Legislative Council Ordinance in order to implement the above and other proposals on the 2004 LegCo elections, Mr Lam said. He planned to submit the amendment bill to the LegCo in the first quarter of 2003.
Mr Lam made a number of recommendations today on the 2004 LegCo elections.
To encourage more prospective candidates to stand in the LegCo elections and facilitate the development of local political parties and political organisations, Mr Lam also suggested the Government provide financial support to candidates in accordance with the number of votes they had received, and allow candidates to have the names and emblems of their parties or organisations or the candidates' photographs printed on the ballot papers to help voters recognise candidates and their parties and organisations.
Furthermore, Mr Lam said the Government was studying the number of constituencies and the number of Members for each constituency for the geographical constituencies elections. Upon the completion of the study, he would announce the findings and proposals as soon as possible.
Under the Basic Law, 30 seats of the third term LegCo will be returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections, and the remaining 30 by functional constituencies.
End/Tuesday, December 10, 2002.