NSO Update on Recent Developments and Survey Results
A great deal had happened since I launched the all members¡¦ survey
on the 27th June, 2003. The historic march on the 1st July, 2003.
My meeting with the Chief Executive on the next day to express your
concerns as professionals. The trip I took to Beijing last Friday
to relay similar messages to the Central Government. In both these
meetings, I advocated deferment of the legislative process and the
introduction of suitable amendments to the three contentious areas
of proscription, the police powers to search without warrant and
the adoption of public interest defense to protect the media. I
also told them of our serious reservations on how the Government¡¦s
Officials Responsibility system has been, or rather, has not been
working. Then the Executive Council¡¦s decision last Saturday to
amend the legislation along the lines that I have suggested but
to insist on moving ahead with the legislation on the 9th July,
2003. The position I took immediately in the same afternoon was
to reject the unrealistic legislative time-table and to declare
my stance to vote against the bill on 9th July, 2003. Then, finally,
the Government¡¦s last minute decision to defer the Bill late last
The above have already received
wide media coverage and I would only attach herewith the press
release (Attachment 1) I sent out last Saturday on 5th July,
2003, which provides a reasonably good summary of my position on
the NSO before the Government¡¦s impromptu response.
In fairness, the amendments are
surprisingly substantial. If the Government would just give it some
time and with further suitable refinements through a proper, unhurried
legislative procedure, these could well lead to a very tempered
law which is finally acceptable to most people. However, it is the
indecent haste and rush that again attracted the fiercest opposition.
I told you time and again that bills
like this one are ¡¥moving targets¡¦. Since the events have already
overtaken the last survey, I have decided to declare the vote counts
immediately as soon as HKSA is ready. As always, please write to
me direct at www.ericli.org if you have any doubts or point of views
to express. I will read them one by one personally (as I have done
so in the past) even if it means many late, late nights.
Originally, I would have liked to
gauge the broad sentiment of members by a second survey to distinguish
clearly whether we are against any NSO, at this point in time, as
a concept that restricts some of our freedoms, or, that we are perhaps
objecting more to the way that it has been so poorly handled by
the Government. However, since I still do not have the exact text
of the amendments and can say little about their technical aspects.
The bill itself is still a bit of a ¡¥moving target¡¦ until the final
version takes shape much later in the discussion process of the
bills committee. I am therefore persuaded by the HKSA Council to
wait a little before trying to attempt another specific survey closer
to the time when a decision is needed. So please bear with me and
I shall try to keep you posted with new developments.
For those accountant friends who
wish to be posted or have their opinions sought from time to time
by my office, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to leave
you name, HKSA membership number, email address &/or fax. A
mobile number will be extremely helpful too for fast communication.
Otherwise, I might not know how to contact you and miss you out
the next time round if you are not already on my contact list.
Eric, 7th July, 2003