Handover body needed to avoid vacuum - Yang

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 October, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 October, 1996, 12:00am

Former chief justice Yang Ti Liang yesterday made clear his stance on the provisional legislature for the first time.

He said it had a legal basis and was necessary to avoid a legal vacuum.

But he said it was unacceptable for both the provisional legislature and the existing Legislative Council to operate in Hong Kong.

'The provisional legislature is something which many people did not want to see. As a last resort, instead of having a legal vacuum, it would be better for us to have a provisional legislature with a short lifespan,' he said.

'In my view, the provisional legislature has a legal basis and there is a necessity to establish it.' He said the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to set up the first SAR government had provided, in Chinese legal terms, the basis for the body.

'If we interpret the resolution passed by the National People's Congress in Hong Kong courts, there might be a bit of trouble because the [relevant part] was phrased in a relatively loose manner.

'If the resolution clearly mentioned the provisional legislature, there would be no problem,' he said.

But that would be a matter for the National People's Congress to decide, he said.

After unveiling his bilingual policy platform titled 'A Steady Progress into the 21st Century', Mr Yang said he could only talk about his personal views on this issue after he had formally retired from his post.

Last night, Government House spokesman Kerry McGlynn said: 'It is not for us to comment on statements by candidates for the chief executive post. It is up to the candidates to explain themselves to the public.

'Our position on the proposal for a provisional legislature is well-known and requires no further elaboration.' On the Bill of Rights Ordinance, Mr Yang said it would be up to the first legislature elected in 1998 to decide if six Draconian laws, amended as a result of the ordinance, should be reinstated.

He said the ordinance has superior status to other laws in the statute book, but did not think it challenged the status of the Basic Law, as Chinese officials claimed.

Mr Yang said if he was selected, he would ask Beijing to sign the two international conventions on human rights so it would continue to submit reports to the UN on behalf of the territory.

He proposed to have a policy secretary to oversee co-operation with China.

'Just call me mister.' That's how the former Sir Ti Liang Yang wants to be addressed from now on.

After formally stepping down as chief justice yesterday, Mr Yang has dropped the title 'Sir'.

However, Mr Yang is unclear if he can formally drop the title awarded him in 1988.

'I understand that you are not constitutionally able to give up a knighthood. The best you can do is not to use it.'