Public censure 'effective deterrent'
PUBLIC censure is an effective means of deterring election campaign irregularities, a senior government official said yesterday.
Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Nicholas Ng Wing-fui said the Boundary and Election Commission's power to cite someone publicly was a serious punishment and he doubted that additional sanctions were necessary.
But he said the power of the commission could be reviewed after the district board elections.
The commission for the first time issued a public censure against an owners' committee on Wednesday for failing to give a candidate equal opportunity in campaigning.
Holford Gardens Owners' Committee of the Mei Tin constituency in Sha Tin caught the commission's attention for barring independent candidate Chu Moon-shing from paying household visits, distributing leaflets and displaying election advertisements on the premises.
This is a violation of the election guidelines, which forbid unequal treatment of candidates.
Mr Ng said the commission and the guidelines had improved the electoral arrangements, making them clearer.
He urged the 2.5 million registered electors to vote on Sunday, but declined to predict the actual turnout rate.
Active participation in elections would have a positive effect on future political development, he said.
In response to China's vow to dismantle the three-tiered political structure in 1997, Mr Ng said electors should first build a good foundation for the representative government system by taking part in the election.
He said recent survey results had pointed to a high level of interest among voters and he hoped this would be the case.
'I am looking forward to a big turnout on Sunday,' he said.