Legislators called for a referendum on the pace of democracy or at least an early discussion of the issue. They said Hong Kong did not have to wait until 2007 - the earliest date under the Basic Law at which there can be full universal suffrage - to discuss the topic. Leading the Policy Address debate, House Committee chairman Dr Leong Che-hung said a referendum should be conducted to decide the pace of democratisation. He said there was still no mechanism on amending the Basic Law, although it was promulgated in 1990. 'Do not forget, the political maturity of both people in Hong Kong and on the mainland was quite different from what it is now,' he said. 'Is that timetable too quick for Hong Kong? Is it too slow?' Dr Leong renewed calls for a ministerial system to boost accountability. 'There is no reason why Exco members could not be given political appointments as ministers,' he said. Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming said a democratic system, rule of law, freedom of speech and a level playing field were vital to making Hong Kong a world-class city. The chief executive, legislature, municipal councils and district bodies should be returned by universal suffrage, he said. 'Mr Tung will have to pay a price for the anti-democracy road,' Mr Lee said. 'Hong Kong may follow the path of Indonesia in which a few enterprises would get privileges.' Tsang Yok-sing, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, called for discussion of the pace of democracy next year. Tung Chee-hwa had said society would not be mature enough until 2007 to discuss the issue. 'We should not wait for maturity to drop from the sky,' he said 'It will be meaningful to discuss the pace next year, which is also the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of the mini-constitution.' Citizens Party chairwoman Christine Loh Kung-wai said a constitutional convention should be held to discuss the pace of democracy. 'The Chief Executive becomes an apologist when he said that there are two views on the pace of democracy - quicker or slower, and so we need time for 'further study',' she said. 'Does he take us as simpletons?' Ms Loh said Mr Tung did not understand that New York and London, the cities he believed Hong Kong should be modelled on, were not only centres of international finance but also centres of established dissent, as he urged people to 'respect traditional values' and avoid 'confrontation'.