The Basic Law does not refer to the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) nor the provisional legislature in relation to electoral arrangements for the first Legislative Council. According to the Decision of the National People's Congress (NPC) on forming the first SAR legislature outlined in the Basic Law, the Preparatory Committee (PC) 'shall prescribe' the specific method for forming the first legislature. The PC's first legislature sub-group has conveniently referred to the decision to confirm the PC's franchise to shape the SAR's first legislature. It has said it would be unlawful for the provisional legislature to amend the PC's model. Provisional legislators from the Association of Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL) have vowed to amend the electoral rules if they find them disagreeable. Reportedly, the president of the transitional assembly, Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, and provisional legislators from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) have also reacted cautiously. Mrs Fan said she had not thought clearly about whether the caretaker assembly had the right to amend the PC's conclusion, while DAB leaders Cheng Kai-nam and Ip Kwok-him declined to comment because they said they had not had sufficient information and needed to reconsider the subject. Supporters of the PC's conclusion may consider that the ADPL's challenge to the decision is expected because this is what the group does to prove they are independent. But it will be difficult for them to explain the indecisiveness of other provisional legislators, especially those with a pro-China background. Many in Hong Kong, notwithstanding the NPC decision, feel awkward about the PC's claim. They understand why the NPC has not authorised the provisional legislature to prescribe the electoral method for its succeeding assembly because the caretaker council was never envisaged in the drafting of the mini-constitution. But people will find it puzzling that even the Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa cannot have a say. Chinese leaders have repeatedly reiterated the assurance of 'Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong', but suddenly a committee with more than a third of its members being mainlanders is expected to decide who should qualify as candidates, which sectors should enjoy a functional constituency seats, and whether a 'multi-seat, single vote' system is best for our directly-elected polls. When the Basic Law was drafted, it was written on the assumption there would be a through-train arrangement for the legislature. It is true that the Basic Law did not anticipate that Mr Tung would decide how many directly elected seats should be allocated to a district. But equally, Basic Law drafters did not expect the PC to take up such a responsibility because the electoral arrangements should have been settled between China and Britain. So all that the NPC decision envisaged for the PC to decide was who would uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to Hong Kong. A proper way to address the concern of mainland officials involved in designing our electoral arrangements must be urgently found. Otherwise, it will only dilute people's faith in the promise of 'Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong', a legacy that patriarch Deng Xiaoping left to the territory.