Veteran Maria Tam rules out Basic Law Committee role for Stephen Lam
Colleen Lee in Beijing and Patsy Moy
Former constitutional minister Stephen Lam Sui-lung will not replace Elsie Leung Oi-sie as deputy director of the Basic Law Committee as had been rumoured, veteran committee member Maria Tam Wai-chu said.
Another member, Johnny Mok Shiu-luen, a senior counsel, also told the South China Morning Post that he had not heard of Lam, 57, being mentioned as a replacement for Leung, 73.
"The Hong Kong members in the committee will all serve another term," Tam said.
"The rumour is wrong. I don't know why it was going around. The Basic Law Committee does not have age requirements for its members."
Half of the 12 committee members are from Hong Kong. Their five-year term ends in June.
Tam also said she believed that "reinterpreting the Basic Law would be the only way to solve the problem of [the influx of] mainland parents giving birth in Hong Kong".
She said the justice secretary was "serving his obligation" in proposing that the Court of Final Appeal seek reinterpretation of the Basic Law from the National People's Congress Standing Committee for the right of abode case involving foreign domestic helpers.
Tam said it would be up to the city's highest court to decide whether to accept the suggestion. She said the committee had begun discussing the case 18 months ago, but would not disclose their views before the top court laid down its judgment.
Tam said it was difficult to find the right calibre of committee member. "Not many people have learned how to explain the Basic Law. Re-interpreting the Basic Law might offend the legal sector, so assuming a role in the committee is not a very attractive job."