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Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 00:42

Tam: Disgraced pair should not be given a second chance

By Joseph Li
Tam: Disgraced pair should not be given a second chance
Maria Tam Wai-chu, a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee, said Legislative Council President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen should withdraw his earlier decision to give the two disgraced separatist lawmakers a second chance to take the oath. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Maria Tam Wai-chu, a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee, suggested Legislative Council President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen should not give the two disgraced separatist lawmakers-elect a second chance to take the oath on Wednesday.

This comes after the pair was roundly criticized for using insulting language and propagating separatism during their swearing-in ceremony on Oct 12.

Maria Tam Wai-chu says the LegCo president can reverse his earlier decision

Tam, who is a barrister, said the LegCo president can reverse his earlier decision. He can at least defer administration of the oath until the ruling of the Court of First Instance.

She also noted that the government initiates a judicial review to argue that legislators-elect Sixtus Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching should be disqualified in accordance with legal procedures. There is no such thing as infringing the “ separation of powers ” and harming executive-legislative relations that the opposition camp alleges, she explained.

In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Tam stressed that Yau and Sixtus Leung behaved most inappropriately. They insulted the Chinese people and the nation and included “Hong Kong independence” and bad language in their oaths on Oct 12, she recalled.

Some believe their conduct amounted to “decline or neglect to take an oath” as stipulated in Section 21 of Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, Tam added.

“The ordinance also says that if those persons have entered office, they shall leave office, and be disqualified if they have not entered office,” she said.

Although the LegCo president had earlier allowed five lawmakers-elect to swear again last Wednesday after their oaths made on Oct 12 were declared invalid, the pro-establishment camp walked out of the meeting to prevent Leung and Yau from taking the oath for the second time.

Tam suggested the LegCo president should consider new developments in withdrawing his decision and deferring the oath for the pair.

First of all, the Chief Executive and secretary for justice initiated the judicial review after the LegCo president had made the decision. And the majority of LegCo members oppose a second chance for the duo, Tam noted.

“More important is, legally, there is a very strong case to argue in court that they did not take the oath in accordance with the law on Oct 12,” she stressed.

Tam is normally against aborted meetings. Yet she supports the aborted meeting last Wednesday because all concerned parties needed an extra week to think of what to do.

She also said “separation of powers” is a common law concept that is neither mentioned in the Basic Law nor part of the constitutional system of the SAR. It is only a practice the courts adopt in adjudicating cases.

“Opposition lawmakers, especially those with legal backgrounds, should know better that the Chief Executive and secretary for justice initiated the legal proceedings in accordance with the Basic Law and local laws. The legal proceedings will in no way destroy executive-legislative relations,” she added.

joseph@chinadailyhk.com

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