Legislators have attacked a plan to spend more than $2 million this year to register more voters for the soon-to-be defunct nine new functional constituencies as unnecessary and a waste of money. In a written reply on budget-related questions, the Government revealed it would be spending $2.17 million for voter registration work in 1996, including the registration of electors for the nine new functional constituencies. According to the Registration and Electoral Office, it is planning to register 40,000 new voters both for geographical and the new functional constituencies in this year's registration drive. These nine new groups, the most contentious feature in the Governor's electoral reform package, were condemned by China as a breach of the Basic Law and will be nullified after the handover. All 2.7 million employees in the territory are eligible voters in these constituencies. Chan Kam-lam, legislator from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, blasted the move as a waste of time. 'There is simply no reason to register new voters for these nine new functional constituencies as they will be abolished next year,' said Mr Chan. 'It will also be a waste of time for electors who make the effort to put their names on the roll.' Mr Chan said he would question government officials in the special Finance Committee meeting on this year's budget, beginning on Wednesday. Independent legislator Eric Li Ka-cheung criticised the move as a waste of time and totally unnecessary. He said everyone knew the roll would not be kept after 1997 and the whole exercise was a show to maintain the authority of the British Government. Emily Lau Wai-hing, in putting forward her question, doubted the value of such an exercise when the present categorisation of the functional constituencies might no longer be appropriate. But she said later she understood why the Government had to keep the exercise, because it had always been its position that the new functional constituencies were in line with the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. Officials from the Constitutional Affairs Branch were not available for comment. In the written reply, the Government said only that it was required by law to compile and publish the voter register every year for both the geographical and functional constituencies.