27 wanted Basic Law invitation

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 June, 1999, 12:00am

At least 27 local National People's Congress deputies wanted to attend the Standing Committee meeting on reinterpretation of the Basic Law tomorrow but only four had been invited, it emerged yesterday.

Speaking on the eve of the meeting on the Government's request for a reinterpretation in the abode controversy, local deputy Lee Chark-tim said he was aware that 27 of his colleagues wanted to attend.

Only four convenors and deputy convenors of local deputies - Ng Ching-fai, Yuen Mo, Maria Tam Wai-chu and Ng Hong-man - had been invited and Mr Ng Hong-man had said he would be unable to attend.

Allen Lee Peng-fei, the only deputy publicly opposing the reinterpretation, was angry last night that he had been excluded.

'I don't think the four convenors can express our views,' he said. 'We should be, at least, given a chance to express ourselves.' He said it was a shame that a request to the committee to allow deputies to elect their own representatives had not been entertained.

However, Mr Lee Chark-tim said he was happy with the arrangement, adding that it was impossible to invite all local NPC deputies to attend.

'The four convenors can represent our views . . . all local deputies are free to express themselves at any time, be it in Beijing or in Hong Kong.' He added however that the four might be unable to speak at the meeting, as they had only been invited to attend but not to actually take part.

Meanwhile, RTHK quoted Beijing sources as saying the meeting would not touch on the Court of Final Appeal's right to repeal laws breaching constitutions.

Xiao Weiyun, a mainland legal expert and former Basic Law drafter, said although the court was empowered to make an interpretation under the Basic Law, it did not have the power to repeal laws breaching the constitution.