As Beijing passed a sweeping new national security law yesterday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was quick to assure Hongkongers that it would not apply to the SAR, and that the government had no plans to enact the controversial Article 23 of the Basic Law. But Leung said the city did have a responsibility to help ensure national security, which it should do by local legislation. Pro-democracy politicians have suggested the Hong Kong government may soon attempt to resurrect national security legislation last attempted in 2003, which was shelved following massive street protests involving as many as 500,000 people. But Leung said the passage of the mainland's national legislation would have no impact on Hong Kong. "It is a national law," he said. "It doesn't apply to Hong Kong." The law states that both Hong Kong and Macau are obliged to help protect national security. Confederation of Trade Unions lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan and veteran barrister and Civic Party chairwoman Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said the passage of the national law would put pressure on Leung to get moving on a local version of the legislation. "Naturally, Hong Kong is part of the country and has a responsibility and obligation to protect its security," Leung said. He stressed that obligation should be fulfilled through local legislation in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law, but "at present, we don't have any plan to enact Article 23". Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, stipulates the city's government must "enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition [or] subversion". Lee said the timing of Beijing's passage of the law was "provocative", coming hours ahead of the annual July 1 march in which protesters traditionally voice their grievances against the central government. He added that the law would "force the local deputies to the National People's Congress … to advocate Article 23 legislation". NPC deputy Stanley Ng Chau-pei reiterated that the city must introduce its own national security law as soon as possible. "It is unreasonable for us to say we don't have a timetable," he said. But University of Hong Kong law professor Simon Young Ngai-man did not think any Article 23 proposal would resurface soon. Young said Beijing's legislation did not define with any precision what offences would be subject to the law so it would not serve any purpose in fleshing out the details of any proposed local law, a task left waiting in 2003. He also said adding the national security law to Annex 3 of the Basic Law - as some pro-establishment figures have suggested - was a non-starter. Eu echoed that sentiment, saying adding the law to Annex 3 would be a violation of the Basic Law, as Article 23 required the government to draw up national security laws "on its own". National laws are not applied in Hong Kong except those listed in Annex 3.