Council Meeting ( Agenda ) 27 February 2002

A 01/02-18

Legislative Council

Agenda
Wednesday 27 February 2002 at 2:30pm


I. Tabling of Papers
Subsidiary Legislation / Instruments L.N. No.
1. Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Safety Management) Regulation (Cap. 59 sub. leg.) (Commencement) Notice 2002 21/2002
2. Pension Benefits Ordinance (Established Offices) Order 22/2002
3.Pension Benefits Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule) Order 2002 23/2002
4.Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Canada) Order (L.N. 290 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 2002 24/2002
5.Statutes of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Amendment) Statutes 2002 25/2002


Other Papers

1. No.59 - AIDS Trust Fund 2000-2001 Annual Accounts together with the Director of Audit's Report
(to be presented by Secretary for Health and Welfare)

2. No.60 - Audited Financial Statements and Programme of Activities of the Hong Kong Examinations Authority for the year ending 31 August 2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Education and Manpower)

3. No.61 - Audited Statement of Accounts together with the Auditor's Report and Trustee's Report on the administration of the Education Scholarships Fund for the year ending 31 August 2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Education and Manpower)

4. No.62 - Hong Kong Tourist Association Annual Report 2000-2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Economic Services)

5. No.63 - Vocational Training Council Annual Report 2000/2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Education and Manpower)

6. Report of the Bills Committee on Road Traffic Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2001
(to be presented by Hon Andrew CHENG, Chairman of the Bills Committee)


II. Questions

1. Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung to ask: (Translation)

The unemployment rate continued to rise throughout last year and reached 6.1% in the last quarter. Given that the Chief Executive stated on the 30th of last month that the Government would create some 2 000 jobs in addition to the 30 000-plus job opportunities to be created in the public sector as pledged in the 2001 Policy Address, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the progress in and the detailed schedule for creating the additional jobs, together with a breakdown by job type; and

    (b)whether it has formulated new measures, apart from the relief measures stated in its reply to this Council on November 7 last year, to tackle the unemployment problem; if so, of the details of such measures?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Education and Manpower

2. Hon LAW Chi-kwong to ask:
(Translation)

The Government announced in June 2000 its approval for the Hongkong Electric Company Limited ("HEC") to extend the Lamma Power Station. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)according to the Administration's latest estimation, of HEC's installed power generation capacity and the maximum demand in its supply area in each of the next ten years; whether it has assessed if it is still necessary to extend the Lamma Power Station and to commission the first power generation unit in 2004; if the assessment is in the affirmative, of the justifications for that;

    (b)whether the new power generation units will still be fired by natural gas as originally planned; if not, of the reasons for that, and whether HEC is required to conduct another environmental impact assessment; and

    (c)of the impact of the extension project on HEC's tariff in the next few years?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Economic Services

3. Hon Albert HO to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding cases in which Hong Kong residents die and leave behind their spouses in the Mainland who are applying to settle in Hong Kong, while their young children are in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the number of such cases in each of the past three years;

    (b)of the criteria adopted by the Immigration Department in vetting the applications, submitted by newly widowed mainlanders, for extension of stay or settlement in Hong Kong to look after their young children who are without relatives or support in Hong Kong; and the number of such applications received by the Department in each of the past three years, together with a breakdown by application results and grounds for rejection; and

    (c)whether it has assessed if the rejection of these applications contravenes Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which provides that the child shall have "the right to be cared for by his or her parents"?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Security
Secretary for Justice


4. Hon Frederick FUNG to ask: (Translation)

Some public rental housing flats have been converted to semi self-contained flats (commonly known as "partitioned flats") by the Housing Department ("HD"), and occupants of these converted flats have to share kitchen and sanitary facilities with other occupants of the adjacent flats. In view of the frequent disputes and even bloodshed among the occupants of these flats, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the number of existing semi self-contained flats and a breakdown of such flats by the let-out status of those adjacent to each other;

    (b)the number of semi self-contained flats reverted to self-contained flats by HD and the number of applications approved for transfer from semi self-contained flats to self-contained flats since January 2000, and the number of flats currently available for allocation to existing occupants of semi self-contained flats who apply for transfer; and

    (c)the measures in place to solve expeditiously and thoroughly the problem of disputes among these occupants?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Housing

5. Hon CHOY So-yuk to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the Government plans to demolish the Kennedy Town Incineration Plant, which has ceased operation for years, in the middle of next year, and that the interior of the Plant is seriously contaminated with harmful substances. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the ways in which it plans to dispose of the Plant's contaminated demolition waste; and

    (b)whether it will formulate special procedures for the demolition of those components of the Plant which contain harmful substances such as dioxins or asbestos, in order to avoid posing health hazards to workers and nearby residents?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Works

6. Hon TAM Yiu-chung to ask:
(Translation)

In respect of participation by young persons in pre-employment training and continuing education programmes, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of attendance by young persons in each type of pre-employment and continuing education programmes (including the Youth Pre-employment Training Programme, Project Springboard and other continuing education programmes organized by the Federation for Continuing Education in Tertiary Institution) in this academic year and each of the preceding two academic years;

    (b)whether such figures show a downward trend; if so, whether it has conducted surveys on the causes of the trend; if it has, of the outcome; if it has not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it will implement measures to encourage young persons to participate in these programmes, such as speeding up the academic accreditation and recognition of certain programmes, setting up low-interest loan for further studies and increasing the retraining allowance for some of these programmes; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Education and Manpower

*7. Hon WONG Yung-kan to ask:
(Translation)

The Government set up the Applied Research Fund ("ARF") in 1993 to provide funding support for technology ventures undertaken by local companies, and private sector venture capital firms have been appointed as fund managers of the ARF since November 1998. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the respective sets of criteria adopted by individual venture capital firms in vetting and approving funding applications;

    (b)the total number of funded projects since the establishment of the ARF, the amount of funds granted to each project and other details of individual projects; and

    (c)the balance of the ARF to date?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Commerce and Industry

*8. Hon James TIEN to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the number of civil servants, will the Government inform this Council whether it will:
    (a)instruct the Central Policy Unit to study if there are redundant staff in the civil service and submit the findings to this Council; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (b)request all government departments to assess their minimum manpower requirement; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Civil Service

*9. Hon Bernard CHAN to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the establishment and strength of the administrative grade and the executive officer grade within the civil service, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the respective current numbers of vacancies in these grades;

    (b)the respective current numbers of male and female administrative grade staff holding Deputy Secretary, Principal Assistant Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Director posts; and

    (c)the average length of service in the last serving rank in respect of each rank of the administrative grade directorate officers before they were promoted to the present ranks?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Civil Service

*10. Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding statutory monuments and historical buildings, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the existing statutory monuments and historical buildings in respect of which repair works have been completed or scheduled, and those which are open for visits by the public;

    (b)of the places and buildings being considered to be declared as statutory monuments or historical buildings; and

    (c)whether it knows how the relevant organisations promote to tourists the statutory monuments and historical buildings that are open for visits?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Home Affairs

*11. Hon HUI Cheung-ching to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding companies incorporated outside Hong Kong establishing regional headquarters or regional offices in Hong Kong or relocating them out of Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the respective numbers of overseas and mainland registered companies which set up regional headquarters or regional offices in Hong Kong in the period between 1 June 2000 and 31 May 2001, with a breakdown by their major lines of business and, among them, the number of those which have or plan to set up factories in Hong Kong;

    (b)the number of companies which relocated their regional headquarters or regional offices out of Hong Kong in the same period, with a breakdown by the destination of relocation; and

    (c)the specific measures it will implement this year to attract foreign investments so as to create more job opportunities?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Commerce and Industry

*12. Hon Andrew CHENG to ask:
(Translation)

In vetting and approving applications for fare adjustments by franchised bus companies, the Government will, taking into account the journey distance of the routes and other factors, first place individual bus routes in different groups before determining a new uniform adult single journey fare for each route group. However, the rates of increase in fares for individual routes shall not exceed 50%. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the details of the present mechanism for vetting and approving applications for franchised bus fare adjustments;

    (b)whether there are franchised bus routes the fares of which are different from the uniform fares determined by the authorities for the respective route groups; if so, of the route numbers concerned, their current fares and the relevant uniform fares; and

    (c)in view of the Government's reply to my oral question on 17 May 2000 that it would "examine the possibility of further simplifying the route groupings", of the progress of that study?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Transport

*13. Hon LI Fung-ying to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the commissioning of private consultancy firms to carry out policy studies and reviews, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the recommendations in the reports of those consultancy studies completed in the past three years which have not been implemented, and the related expenditure on consultancy fees; and

    (b)whether it plans to request policy bureaux and departments to arrange in-house small-scale policy studies, so as to save expenditure on consultancy fees; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Treasury

*14. Hon LEE Cheuk-yan to ask:
(Translation)

The Committee on Freedom of Association of the International Labour Organization has, on five occasions since November 1998, urged in its reports the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("HKSAR") to relax the conditions on eligibility to trade union office and the restrictions on the use of union funds as stipulated in the Trade Unions Ordinance (Cap. 332), and to give serious consideration to adopting provisions laying down objective criteria and procedures for determining the representative status of trade unions for collective bargaining purposes. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the reasons for not yet implementing the above recommendations of the Committee; and

    (b)whether it plans to implement such recommendations to fulfill the HKSAR Government's obligations under the International Labour Convention?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Education and Manpower

*15. Hon CHAN Yuen-han to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the over - 30 000 job opportunities to be created in the public sector as promised in the Chief Executive's Policy Address 2001, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of jobs created so far and the number of recruits, as well as

    (i) the highest, lowest and median salaries of each group of these jobs as categorized by trade; and

    (ii) the highest, lowest and median ages of each group of the recruits as categorized by trade; and

    (b)in view of the persistently high rate of unemployment among young people, whether, in creating the job opportunities concerned, the Administration will specifically design more jobs suitable for young people?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Education and Manpower

*16. Hon CHAN Kwok-keung to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the user licence fees paid in the last financial year by government departments for each category of packaged computer operating system software and application software, and the first five software developers who are most patronised and the respective relevant fees; and

    (b)in view of the domination of the packaged software market by a foreign software developer at present, whether government departments plan to use more software products of other developers?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting

*17. Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the building development density in public rental housing ("PRH") estates, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the development ratio, plot ratio and year of completion of each completed PRH estate within each housing management district; and

    (b)for those completed PRH estates with development density lower than the permitted plot ratio of the area in which the estate is located, whether it plans to build additional housing blocks in these estates so as to provide more PRH flats; if so, of the names of the estates concerned, the types of housing blocks to be built, the estimated production of flats and the population capacity of the additional flats?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Housing

*18. Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the provision and management of libraries in secondary and primary schools, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)in respect of aided secondary and primary schools respectively,

    (i)of the numbers and percentages of schools with libraries;

    (ii)of the numbers of persons employed for the management of these libraries and, among them, the numbers of those who have received relevant professional training; and

    (iii)among the schools with libraries, of the respective numbers and percentages of those with computerized circulation systems and teacher-librarian posts; and

    (b)of the measures the Education Department will adopt to promote the provision or improve the management of libraries in all secondary and primary schools in Hong Kong?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Education and Manpower

*19. Hon Abraham SHEK to ask:


The objective of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement ("AGP") is to ensure non-discriminatory treatment amongst domestic and foreign goods, services and suppliers, and to enhance the transparency of the public procurement system. Hong Kong became a party to AGP in mid-1997 and it is anticipated that Taiwan will also become a party to AGP. It has been reported that the Taiwanese authorities plan to bar, by invoking the exceptions laid down in AGP concerning procurement for the protection of national security and national defence, Hong Kong businessmen from bidding for major public works which have major significance on people's livelihood in Taiwan, so as to guard against Mainland authorities controlling Taiwan's public utilities through Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the details of the Taiwanese authorities' plan;

    (b)whether it has assessed if such a plan will breach AGP's principle of not discriminating against foreign suppliers; and

    (c)of the follow-up actions it has taken in respect of this plan?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Commerce and Industry

*20. Hon SIN Chung-kai to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding telecommunications service operators' disclosure of customers' personal data to third parties, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of complaints received by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data ("OPC"), the Police and the Independent Commission Against Corruption regarding disclosure of customers' personal data without their authorization by telecommunications service operators and their employees to third parties (including companies within the same group) in each of the past three years and, among them, the number of cases involving sale of personal data for profits, together with a breakdown by the type of telecommunications service;

    (b)how the relevant authorities have followed up such complaints, and of the number of cases in which prosecutions were instituted over the past three years against those involved; and

    (c)given the increasing popularity of subscription to various types of telecommunications services by the public and their increasing tendency to switch between service providers, whether OPC will enact and issue a Code of Practice on the handling of customers' personal data specially for the telecommunications industry?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Home Affairs

*For written reply.

III. Bills

First Reading

Employees Compensation Assistance (Amendment) Bill 2002

Second Reading (Debate to be adjourned)



Employees Compensation Assistance (Amendment) Bill 2002 : Secretary for Education and Manpower

Second Reading (Debate to resume), Committee Stage and Third Reading
Road Traffic Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2001 : Secretary for Transport

IV. Members' Motions
  1. Expectations for the 2002-03 Budget

    Hon SIN Chung-kai:
  2. (Translation)

    That this Council hopes that, in formulating its Budget for the next financial year, the Government will refrain from raising taxes or reducing social services in order to address the problem of budget deficit, and that the Government will implement more measures to alleviate people's hardship and create more job opportunities, so as to promote the recovery of the economy.

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for the Treasury

  3. Promoting community spirit

    Hon TAM Yiu-chung:
  4. (Translation)

    That, as the economy is in the doldrums and people are under immense pressure, with suicide and family violence incidents occurring repeatedly recently, this Council urges the Government to allocate additional resources to improve services and actively promote the development of the "third sector", so as to optimize the social capital, promote community development services, encourage self-help and mutual support among the public, strengthen the community support network, enhance the capabilities of individuals and families in solving their problems in life and prevent family violence, for the purposes of cultivating the community spirit of mutual support, care and love among residents.

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Health and Welfare
Clerk to the Legislative Council