THE Hong Kong people's effort in pushing for a fully directly elected Legislative Council moved into the final phase last Friday with the publication of the Electoral Provisions (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No 3) Bill 1994 in the Gazette. The two-page Private Member's Bill succinctly embodies the wishes and aspirations of Hong Kong people for a Legco elected by universal suffrage. It will have its first and second reading in Legco on Wednesday. Originally I sought to amend the Government Bill on electoral reform but was ruled out of order by Legco President John Swaine who said it would have negated the Government Bill. That left me with no alternative but to move a Private Member's Bill. My Bill proposes that the Legislative Council (Electoral Provisions) Ordinance, which provides for the current 21 functional constituency seats, shall expire on the dissolution of Legco in the summer of next year. It further proposes that Legco shall then be composed of 60 members, directly elected by 60 geographical constituencies based on the one-constituency, one-seat premise approved by Legco in February. Under this arrangement, the colony would be divided into 60 constituencies, each with a population of 100,000. This compares favourably with the English city of Bath, the former constituency of Governor Chris Patten which has a population of 80,000. By contrast, my New Territories East constituency has a ridiculously large population of 650,000. Throughout this exercise, one of my key objectives is to have the question of whether Hong Kong should have a fully directly elected legislature debated in Legco and voted on. It is entirely up to legislators to vote for or against democracy. Their voteswould go down in history as it would be the first time that the colonial legislature debated this subject. If I had succeeded in moving an amendment to the Government Bill, it would be debated along with the myriad of other amendments on June 29, a day fixed for the resumption of the second reading debate on the Government Bill. Because it is a Private Member's Bill, the situation is different. After the first and second reading on Wednesday, my Bill will be referred to the Legco House Committee on Friday, where members will decide whether to set up a Bills Committee to scrutinise it. Given that the D-day for the Government Bill is June 29, my Bill must be debated before that. According to Westminster practice, once a Bill on a particular subject is enacted in a legislative year, another Bill on the same subject cannot be debated. Thus I would urge the House Committee to dispense with the Bills Committee because the issue is very straightforward and the only dispute is whether there should be 60 directly elected seats. If members agree not to set up a Bills Committee, I would beg their indulgence to support the resumption of the second reading debate on June 22. This is because if the House Committee were to decide on June 29, according to Legco Standing Orders, debateon a Private Member's Bill must come after a Government Bill. If the Government Bill were enacted, my Bill would not have a chance for being debated. SOME people may accuse me of trying to jump the queue and pre-empt the Government Bill. It is a fact that if my Bill is enacted, the Government Bill cannot go forward, and vice-versa. I am put in this quandary because my amendment was ruled out of order. It would be a sad day for all concerned if Legco members were to decide, on a procedural point, that the second reading debate on my Bill should not resume before the Government Bill is debated. Somehow, that would be interpreted as an attempt to muzzle the historic debate on democracy and would go down badly in many quarters. After all, Legco members may disagree on the pace of democratisation, but we should be given a chance to debate the options. Some people may say my attempt is futile because the Chinese Government has vowed to dismantle Legco in 1997. My reply is that we must do all we can to secure what is best for the colony under very difficult circumstances. After all, three years is indeed a very long time in politics.