THE Governor, Chris Patten, seems keen in observing the code of confidentiality required of him by the British and Chinese Governments. As such he disclosed precious little on constitutional reform during his policy address, press conferences and the question and answer session in the Legislative Council. Among the few glimpses he has tantalised us with is the British offer on functional constituency seats for the 1995 elections. Though Mr Patten has kept us scarcely better informed than we were last week, he has hinted that he will soon ask us to endorse his proposals. Then again he has been so evasive that he has not even stated categorically whether the package he will present to us for deliberation is exactly the same as the one introduced to the council last year or be a new version modified with ''concessions'' toChina. Because the detail is either not available or is vague, it is impossible for any responsible political group to debate, let alone decide, the merits of his reform strategy. Mr Patten has never disguised his misgivings about functional constituencies in which companies or groups, rather than individuals, cast the vote. He has asked the British Government to negotiate with China to broaden the franchise so that, numerically, on paper, the functional constituency system will be more populist. He originally planned to raise the functional constituency electorate to about 2.7 million extra voters. Since then his ambition has been scaled back and he seems content to push the total to about one million. Whether this kind of haggling is dignified or degrading is not for us to judge. Some of us are, however, dismayed that so far we are virtually clueless about the negotiations on our political future and have been asked to trust the two sovereigns on blind faith. Functional constituencies were never intended to be a permanent feature of the Hong Kong political landscape but, rather, an interim arrangement and a prelude to the full democracy we have been promised by British and China. So far we have learned through the press that the British Government is intent on creating a functional constituency for civil servants, who number nearly 200,000 (or a fifth of the magic million mark that has so smitten Mr Patten). Though legislators respect civil servants and value their contributions to Hong Kong, few are willing to condone a functional constituency for this sector because the Joint Declaration and common sense stipulate that, as executioners of executive policies, they should not be politicised and thus compromised. While they will enjoy all the other rights - to organise unions, demonstrate against unfair treatment, vote, join parties on an individual basis - they will have to refrain from running for elected office. This is in no way discriminatory. Countries with strong democratic traditions such as Britain, Canada and the United States likewise do not permit civil servants to compete for elections as candidates unless they resign from office. Hong Kong, under British administration, should not stray from the standard designed specifically to ensure a neutral civil service that can be counted on to be impartial in discharging its responsibilities and carrying out sometimes politically-charged orders. Whether we support group or individual voting for functional constituencies is not the issue until we have been told what the nine new seats are. The initial purpose of functional constituencies is to ensure representation for trades, professions and organisations which the Government deems vital to Hong Kong. These constituencies are not meant to be thoroughly democratic. If they were, they wouldcease to exist because these seats are no substitute for one person, one vote. We request the Governor, the British and the Chinese Governments to disclose the progress (or the lack thereof) of the negotiations now entering, according to Mr Patten, their final weeks. Legislators want to evaluate all the reform proposals on the basis of clear, precise information. This is in keeping with a fair, open society and with, what Mr Patten insists, a fair, open and accountable administration. Allen Lee is Chairman of the Liberal Party.