Hand draft abode bill to shadow body: call

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 April, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 April, 1997, 12:00am

The Government was yesterday urged to allow its draft bill on right of abode to be examined by the provisional legislature.

In the wake of the failure to strike a Sino-British accord, Special Administrative Region (SAR) executive councillor Tam Yiu-chung said the interim body should go ahead with legislating once the bill was available.

'I know the Hong Kong Government has already prepared the relevant draft bill. It would do Hong Kong much good if it can give us the information for our legislation,' he said.

Colleague Henry Tang Ying-yen said he was not sure when the bill would be tabled to the provisional legislature.

'It depends on . . . whether the Government will give us the draft bill. But it is important we allow the provisional legislature enough time to scrutinise the bill before July 1,' Mr Tang said.

The Government remained firm in its opposition.

'There is no question of the Hong Kong Government providing any assistance in the preparation of any kind of legislation, and in particular legislation relating to the right of abode, for submission to the provisional legislature before July 1,' it said.

The statement was issued to clarify remarks by Executive Councillor Raymond Ch'ien Kuo-fung that the question of Government co-operation in drafting the law was 'still under deliberation'.

It pointed out the proposal for a White Bill to be released for consultation purposes remained on the table despite rejection by China.

Both Mr Tam and Mr Tang dismissed worries about possible legal challenges to the provisional legislature if it passed the residency bill before the handover.

'Anybody passing the law could face litigation if people are going to use the legal process to delay the problem,' Mr Tam said.

'This involves how to apply Chinese Nationality Law in Hong Kong and should be dealt with by the SAR legislative body.

'Now that the provisional legislature has already started working, it is reasonable that the issue should be handled by the body,' Mr Tam said.