Following is the speech (English translation) by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in moving the second reading of the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2007 in the Legislative Council today (December 19):
I move that the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2007 be read the second time.
The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Legislative Council Ordinance (LCO) to update the electorate of functional constituencies (FCs) for the 2008 Legislative Council (LegCo) election, and make consequential amendments to the Chief Executive Election Ordinance (CEEO). We consulted the LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs on November 19, 2007 on the relevant proposal.
I would like to commence by introducing the background of the Bill. On December 21, 2005, the Government put to the LegCo two motions to amend Annexes I and II of the Basic Law respectively to implement the package of proposals for the methods of selecting the Chief Executive (CE) in 2007 and forming the LegCo in 2008. As the motions did not receive the required two-thirds majority support of LegCo members, the proposals could not be processed further.
In accordance with the Interpretation made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on April 6, 2004, if no amendment is made to the methods for selecting the CE and for forming the LegCo as stipulated in Annexes I and II of the Basic Law, the provisions relating to the two methods in Annexes I and II of the Basic Law will continue to apply. In the circumstances, the 2008 LegCo election will be held on the basis of the existing arrangements. Based on this approach, the number and composition of existing FCs should remain unchanged for the 2008 LegCo election, and only minor technical updates will be made.
Major Provisions of the Bill
The Bill was drafted on the above basis. I would now like to highlight the major provisions in the Bill.
Firstly, the Bill will amend the LCO to reflect changes in the names of corporate electors or organisations in the existing electorate of six FCs, i.e. the Education, Import and Export, Information Technology, Transport, Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication; as well as the Wholesale and Retail FCs.
Secondly, the Bill will remove the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation from the Transport FC to reflect the corporation’s cessation of transport operation under the Rail Merger Ordinance.
Thirdly, the Bill will replace two elector or organisation which have ceased to exist by another relevant elector or organisation. Such amendments involve the inclusion of the Hong Kong Sports Institute Limited in the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication FC. This body has taken over the elite training function of the former Hong Kong Sports Development Board, which was a registered voter under this FC before its dissolution.
The other amendment involves the inclusion of the Tobacco Association of Hong Kong Limited in the Wholesale and Retail FC. After the removal of the Tobacco Institute of Hong Kong Limited from this FC upon its winding up, there is no organisation in this FC that represents the tobacco industry. Accordingly, there is a case for the Tobacco Association of Hong Kong Limited to be included in this FC as the representative body of the tobacco industry.
Fourthly, the Bill reflects the restructuring of membership of two organisations in the Information Technology FC.
In addition, the Bill contains consequential amendments to the Schedule to the CEEO to make corresponding changes to the composition of the relevant Election Committee subsectors.
Madam President, we hope that this Amendment Ordinance can come into operation on April 1, 2008, so that the Voter Registration Campaign, scheduled to commence in April 2008, can take account of relevant changes. With these remarks, I hope members will support the Bill and pass it as soon as possible, to enable the preparation for the 2008 LegCo election to commence as scheduled.
Thank you, Madam President.
Ends/Wednesday, December 19, 2007