SCMA answers media questions on constitutional development (with photos)

     The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, and the Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Godfrey Leung, attended a consultation session organised by the HKSME Forum to exchange views with participants on the "Consultation Document on the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive in 2017 and for Forming the Legislative Council in 2016" this morning (April 23). Following is the transcript of Mr Tam's remarks at a media standup before the seminar:

Reporter:  Mr Tam, a lot of reports criticised the meeting with the US made by Anson Chan and Martin Lee. Some say that it may affect the Government's decision to accept their reform proposal. What do you have to say about this?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: I would only like to mention two points. First, constitutional development is an internal affair of Hong Kong and we are handling this matter seriously and carefully ourselves. We hope that any foreign governments would respect this constitutional order that it is for Hong Kong to decide. The second point I would like to make is that we would welcome any proposal by any group or personality in the community. We are still in the first stage of our public consultation and we would welcome any proposal that may be able to survive three tests: the legal test, the political test as well as the practical test.

Reporter: With the consultation coming to an end early this coming month, what will the Government be doing? What's the next step? And how would you assess each proposal that has been submitted?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: After the closing of the public consultation on the 3rd of May, we would take about two months' time to prepare the necessary consultation report. We will then submit it to the Chief Executive. He will consider our report and write his own report and submit that to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, suggesting that the amendment procedure to the Annexes of the Basic Law to be or not to be started. Then it will be up to the Standing Committee to make the necessary decision. If the Standing Committee would decide that we could commence the formal amendment procedure, the Government would conduct another round of public consultation and we would have our own proposal to put forward to the community for a second round of consultation. Thereafter, we would formally submit an amendment motion to the Legislative Council. Then it would be up to the Legislative Council to decide whether we would move forward on the constitutional development in 2017. Thank you.

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

Ends/Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Issued at HKT 14:30