ªğ¦^ Back
NSO Update on Recent Developments and Survey Results
 

Dear friends,

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 night.

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 erickcli@ericli.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

ªğ¦^ Back