Council Meeting ( Agenda ) 14 November 2001

A 01/02-6

Legislative Council

Agenda
Wednesday 14 November 2001 at 2:30pm

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / Instruments L.N. No.
1.Maximum Amount of Election Expenses (Chief Executive Election) Regulation232/2001
2.Electoral Procedure (Chief Executive Election) Regulation233/2001
3.Air Navigation (Hong Kong) (Amendment of Schedule 16) Order 2001234/2001
4.Dangerous Goods (Consignment by Air) (Safety) Regulations (Amendment of Schedule) Order 2001235/2001
5.Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) (Exemption) (Amendment) Order 2001236/2001
6.Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance (Amendment of Schedules) Notice 2001237/2001


Other Papers

1. No.25-Estate Agents Authority Annual Report 2000/2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Housing)

2.Report of the Bills Committee on Massage Establishments (Amendment) Bill 2001
(to be presented by Hon James TO, Chairman of the Bills Committee)


II. Questions

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

Regarding the statistics on household income and assisting low-income households, will the Government:

    (a)provide statistics on household income presented in the following way: based on the data collected from the population censuses conducted in 1991 and this year and the 1996 Population By-census, and by ranking Hong Kong households by their income levels and then grouping them into ten groups of equal numbers, provide the statistical breakdowns to show the highest, lowest, average and median monthly household incomes in each of such groups in these three censuses, together with the relevant figures for 1991 and 1996 adjusted according to the price levels in February this year; and

    (b)inform the Council of the measures in place to reduce the household income gaps and improve the financial position of low-income households?
Public Officers to reply :Secretary for Health and Welfare
Secretary for Education and Manpower


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

It has been reported that the problem of corrosion in roof tanks and fresh water pipes in domestic buildings is quite serious. Laboratory tests revealed that the rust content in the relevant water samples exceeded the relevant standard stipulated by the World Health Organization. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the Water Supplies Department will collect more fresh water samples from household water taps for laboratory tests, and how it will tackle the problem of sub-standard quality of fresh water;

    (b)whether the Housing Department plans to enhance the maintenance and repair of water supply systems in its estates; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)of the measures in place to encourage owners of private buildings to arrange for regular cleaning and maintenance of their water supply systems, so as to ensure that the fresh water supplied complies with international health standards?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Works

3. Dr Hon David CHU to ask: (Translation)

The Board of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited ("HKEx") decided in May last year to remove, with effect from 1 April 2002, the rule which sets a minimum rate of brokerage commission. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows if the Board of HKEx had, before making the decision, assessed the numbers of securities companies which may have to lay off their staff or close down their business upon the removal of the rule; and

    (b)in view of the substantial reduction in the revenues of securities companies last year due to the low trading volume, the authorities will propose that the HKEx shelve its decision to remove the minimum commission rule, so as not to apply further pressure on the operation of securities companies; if not, of the reasons for that and the measures in place to increase the business opportunities and revenues of the securities sector?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Financial Services

4. Hon Emily LAU to ask:
(Translation)

On 17th last month, in response to a reporter's request for views on criticisms made by a newspaper on Headliner, a television programme of Radio Television Hong Kong ("RTHK"), the Chief Executive ("CE") said, "I don't want to comment on those bad-taste productions." In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)whether they have assessed if the CE's remarks have constituted pressure on RTHK's editorial independence; if they have, of the results;

    (b)whether they will continue to adhere to the established policy of upholding and supporting RTHK's editorial independence, and undertake not to turn RTHK into a mere official mouthpiece; and

    (c)how the CE and senior government officials will be made accustomed to facing public opinions and criticisms with magnanimity and a sense of humour?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting

5. Hon Fred LI to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the up-to-date average cumulative percentage change in respect of each of the following categories of charges since October 1, 1998: unit charges on electricity, gas and water, fixed network telephone tariffs, container terminal handling charges, airport landing charges, as well as the fares of the KCR, LRT, MTR, franchised buses and ferries;

    (b)how these figures compare with the cumulative percentage change in the Composite Consumer Price Index over the same period; and

    (c)whether it will take measures to promote competition in the relevant sectors so that such service charges can be reduced in keeping with deflation?
Public Officers to reply :Secretary for Economic Services
Secretary for Transport


6. Hon LAU Kong-wah to ask: (Translation)

Regarding the operation of boundary control points, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)round-the-clock operation will be implemented at various land boundary control points during the next Lunar New Year period; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)it will consider recruiting part-time immigration personnel so as to ease the staffing of the Immigration Department during peak cross-boundary traffic periods; and

    (c)it will consider allowing the introduction of shuttle bus service to and from the Sha Tau Kok Control Point to ease the cross-boundary passenger traffic at other land boundary control points; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officers to reply :Secretary for Security
Secretary for Transport
Secretary for Economic Services


*7. Hon Kenneth TING to ask: (Translation) There are reports that insurance surcharges amounting to 10-20% of the original insurance premium on air freight transport, recently approved by the authorities and imposed by a number of airlines on shippers, have greatly increased the cost burden on shippers. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed the specific impact of the rise in air freight transport costs on local enterprises; if it has, of the details; if not, whether it will conduct an assessment expeditiously; and

    (b)of the measures in place to assist local enterprises in their bid for a reasonable insurance premium level to be set for air freight transport?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Commerce and Industry

*8. Hon Abraham SHEK to ask: (Translation)

The Chief Executive announced in the 2001 Policy Address that the Government and the two railway corporations plan to invest $600 billion in the various infrastructural projects currently in progress or to be undertaken within the next 15 years. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the description, amount of investment, commencement and completion dates of each of the infrastructural projects that will commence in the next 12 months, as well as the total number of new jobs these projects will create? Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Works

*9. Hon LAU Wong-fat to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the scope of services of street cleaning service contractors under the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department ("FEHD"), will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)when the FEHD started to instruct these contractors to remove bills or posters displayed, without permission, at telephone booths and bus stops, including ancillary advertising light boxes;

    (b)whether the FEHD has charged the organizations owning the bus stops and telephone booths concerned and related parties for the above services; if not, of the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether the FEHD will offer the service of removing bills or posters to owners or tenants of private buildings in the same manner?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Environment and Food

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

Last year 299 people died of tuberculosis ("TB") in Hong Kong; the number for the first half of this year has already reached 206. Moreover, the ratio of notified TB cases to the population in Hong Kong has increased persistently from 100.3 per 100 000 persons in 1996 to 111.7 per 100 000 persons in 2000. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of respective breakdowns of the numbers of TB deaths last year and those of the first half of this year by:

    (i)the number of years for which the deceased had contracted TB; and(ii) the number of years the deceased had resided in Hong Kong when they were diagnosed of having contracted TB;

    (b)whether it has investigated the causes of the higher proportion of deaths due to TB for the first half of this year than the annual figure for last year, and whether it has drawn up measures aiming at reducing the number of deaths;

    (c)whether it has investigated the causes of the persistently increasing ratio of notified TB cases in the past five years, including the channels through which there were larger increases in the number of infection cases; and

    (d)whether it will step up measures to prevent the spreading of TB?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

Regarding the implementation of information technology ("IT") education in primary schools, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of government and aided primary schools offering IT or computer subjects;

    (b)whether the Education Department has drawn up syllabuses for these subjects; if not, of the reasons for that; and whether it knows the criteria adopted by the schools concerned in drawing up the contents for these subjects; and

    (c)among those teaching these subjects, the respective percentages of teachers who possess various IT academic qualifications teaching these subjects; and whether it plans to set minimum IT academic qualifications required of these teachers; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Education and Manpower

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

It has been reported that the Hong Kong SAR Government is holding discussions with the Macau SAR Government on the feasibility of transporting local construction and demolition waste to Macau for use in reclamation projects. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the progress of the above discussions; and

    (b)the earliest possible date for exporting construction and demolition waste, the quantity of such waste to be exported annually, as well as how long the service life of local landfills can be extended as a result?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Environment and Food

*13. Ir Dr Hon HO Chung-tai to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the handling of discarded computers, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has drawn up internal guidelines for the disposal of computers by government departments;

    (b)of the estimated number of computers which were disposed of at landfills in each of the past two years; and

    (c)whether it plans to step up promotional efforts in the next two years to encourage separate collection of waste computers and their components for recycling; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Environment and Food

*14. Hon Fred LI to ask:
(Translation)

The Chief Secretary for Administration announced on 3 September this year the suspension of the sale of flats of Home Ownership Scheme ("HOS") estates. It has been reported that the Housing Authority plans to pay the building contractors of the nearly complete HOS estates for extending the defects liability periods ("DLPs") of these estates. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the names of the HOS estates that require the extension of DLP and, in respect of each of them, the number of flats, the DLP stipulated in the building contract, the length of extension of the DLP and the amount to be paid in this regard? Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Housing

*15. Hon Emily LAU to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding aviation service between Hong Kong and Taiwan, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of airlines currently operating passenger and freight flights between the two places;

    (b)of the respective volumes of air passenger and freight traffic between the two places in the past three years;

    (c)of the respective numbers of passenger and freight flights between the two places every day on average;

    (d)whether they have assessed if the numbers of such flights are adequate; if they have, of the results; and

    (e)whether they will consider further opening up the air transport market to allow more airlines to operate new passenger and freight routes between the two places; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Economic Services

*16. Hon LAU Kong-wah to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the security of government buildings, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of private security companies currently engaged by the Administration to provide security services for government buildings, and the relevant expenditure last year;

    (b)whether it regularly reviews the quality and efficiency of the services provided by such private security companies; if so, of the relevant review mechanism; and

    (c)whether it will consider installing smart card-activated access control systems at access points of various government buildings; if so, of the costs required; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Security

*17. Hon Abraham SHEK to ask:
(Translation)

In March last year, the Hong Kong Housing Authority ("HA") announced the demolition of North Point Estate and proposed to redevelop the site together with an adjacent lot. It has been reported that the Administration has recently endorsed the HA's proposal and allocated the whole lot of land to the HA for developing public and private housing in partnership with private developers. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed the prevailing market value of the land concerned; if it has, of its assessed value; if it has not, the reasons for that; and

    (b)as the Steering Committee on Land Supply for Housing has yet to formulate the criteria for the allocation of Home Ownership Scheme sites, whether the Administration has assessed if the adoption of such a development option for the site contravenes the Government's objective of stabilizing the private property market, as well as impact of the development option on the transaction volume and prices of existing private residential flats in that area; if so, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Housing

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

Regarding the costs of specialist services in public hospitals, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective unit costs of the medicine, surgery, maternity and paediatrics departments in various public hospitals;

    (b)of the reasons for some hospitals incurring higher costs than other hospitals; and

    (c)how the Health and Welfare Bureau will follow up the issue of some public hospitals incurring excessively high or low costs?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

Regarding the Electronic Tendering System ("ETS") launched by the Government Supplies Department ("GSD") since last year, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the number of tenders notices of which have been issued through the ETS;

    (b)the number of quotations submitted through the ETS, and the percentage of such quotations in the total number of quotations received by the GSD, with a breakdown showing the relevant suppliers as registered local or foreign companies respectively; and

    (c)the percentage of quotations submitted through the ETS among all successful bids?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Treasury

*20. Hon Kenneth TING to ask:
(Translation)

In spite of the losses amounting to $78 million incurred in investments last year, the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority ("MPFA") still paid bonuses to its staff at the end of September. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the justifications for MPFA's decision to pay bonuses in the face of heavy losses incurred in its investments, and the criteria adopted for determining the amount of bonuses payable to its managing director and executive directors; and

    (b)whether, before paying bonuses to its staff, MPFA is required to obtain approval from the authorities concerned or inform them of such a decision?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Financial Services

*For written reply.

III. Bills

First Reading

Juvenile Offenders (Amendment) Bill 2001

Second Reading (Debate to be adjourned)

Juvenile Offenders (Amendment) Bill 2001 : Secretary for Security

Second Reading (Debate to resume), Committee Stage and Third Reading

Massage Establishments (Amendment) Bill 2001 : Secretary for Security

IV. Motions

  1. Proposed resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance

    Secretary for Constitutional Affairs to move the following motion:


  2. RESOLVED that the Election Committee (Appeals) Regulation, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 196 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 10 October 2001, be amended by repealing section 12 and substituting - "12. Validity of acts of person A -

    (a)ruling made by the Revising Officer under section 6; or

    (b)reversal or confirmation of such a ruling by him under section 10(1),


    does not invalidate acts done by the person as a member of the Election Committee whose election or whose registration as such a member is questioned before the making of such a ruling, reversal or confirmation, as the case may be.".


  • Proposed resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance


  • Secretary for Constitutional Affairs to move the following motion:

    RESOLVED that the Election Committee (Registration)(Voters for Subsectors)(Members of Election Committee)(Appeals) Regulation, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 197 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 10 October 2001, be amended in section 3 -

      (a)in subsection (2)(c)(iii) and (d)(iii), by repealing "on a date not later than 1 day";

      (b)in subsection (3) -

      (i)in paragraph (a) -

      (A)by repealing "in any year";

      (B)by repealing 7日 and substituting 第8日或;

      (C)by repealing everything after 須在 and substituting 自該投票日期前25日起計的一段21日的期間內;及;

      (ii)in paragraph (b) -

      (A)by repealing "in any year" where it first appears;

      (B)by repealing 7日內或該投票日期當日或 and substituting 第8日;

      (c)in subsection (6)(a)(iii), by repealing "on a date not later than 1 day".


  • Proposed resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance

    Secretary for Constitutional Affairs to move the following motion:


  • RESOLVED that the Registration of Electors (Appeals) (Amendment) Regulation 2001, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 199 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 10 October 2001, be amended in section 3(d) -

      (a)in subparagraph (ii)(A), by repealing 7日 and substituting 第8日或;

      (b)in subparagraph (iii) -

      (i)by repealing "in any year" where it first appears;

      (ii)by repealing 7日內或該投票日期當日或 and substituting 第8日;.


  • Proposed resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance

    Secretary for Security to move the following motion:


  • RESOLVED that the Rehabilitation Centres Regulation, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 195 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 10 October 2001, be amended -
      (a)by repealing section 11 and substituting -

      "11.Religious services and instruction

      (1)The Officer-in-charge may, if satisfied that an offender belongs to a religious denomination, if the offender so desires and it is reasonably practicable to do so, make arrangements for the offender to attend appropriate religious services.

      (2)The Officer-in-charge may, if satisfied that an offender belongs to a religious denomination or has a genuine need for religious instruction, if the offender so desires and it is reasonably practicable to do so, make arrangements for the offender to receive appropriate religious instruction.";

      (b)by repealing section 14 and substituting -

      "14.Supervision order

      (1)A supervision order against an offender shall be read and explained to, and served on, the offender by the Officer-in-charge before the offender is released from a rehabilitation centre.

      (2)Where a condition of a supervision order against an offender is varied, the varied order shall be read and explained to, and served on, the offender by the Officer-in-charge.";

      (c)in Schedule 1 -

      (i)in paragraph (j), by adding "or with any other offence of which he was convicted" after "sentenced";(ii) in paragraph (k), by adding "or with any other offence of which he was convicted" after "sentenced".


    V. Members' Motions

    1. Proposed resolution under the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance

      Hon James TO to move the following motion:


    2. RESOLVED that in relation to the -(a) Fugitive Offenders (Sri Lanka) Order, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 203 of 2001; and (b) Fugitive Offenders (Portugal) Order, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 204 of 2001,and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 17 October 2001, the period referred to in section 3(3) of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance (Cap. 503) for repealing the Orders be extended under section 3(5) of that Ordinance to the meeting of 21 November 2001.

    3. Proposed resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance

      Hon IP Kwok-him to move the following motion:

      RESOLVED that in relation to the -

        (a)Election Committee (Subscribers and Election Deposit for Nomination) Regulation, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 205 of 2001;

        (b)Legislative Council (Subscribers and Election Deposit for Nomination) (Amendment) Regulation 2001, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 206 of 2001;

        (c)Distribution of Number of Members Among Designated Bodies (Election Committee) Order 2001, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 207 of 2001;

        (d)Electoral Affairs Commission (Nominations Advisory Committees (Election Committee)) Regulation, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 208 of 2001;

        (e)Electoral Affairs Commission (Nominations Advisory Committees (Legislative Council)) (Amendment) Regulation 2001, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 209 of 2001; and

        (f)Electoral Affairs Commission (Electoral Procedure) (Election Committee) Regulation, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 210 of 2001,
        and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 17 October 2001, the period referred to in section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) for amending subsidiary legislation be extended under section 34(4) of that Ordinance to the meeting of 21 November 2001.


    4. Improving the business environment

      Hon Kenneth TING:
    5. (Translation)

      That, as the Chief Executive mentioned in his 2001 Policy Address that in the face of economic restructuring, it is necessary to continue to improve the business environment to ensure that Hong Kong maintains its competitiveness and in order to expeditiously implement the proposals in the Policy Address, this Council urges the Government to:

        (a)establish a business environment assessment committee to ensure that the impact of new policies and legislation being formulated on the business environment will be fully assessed, and at the same time review existing legislation and administrative measures that are unfavourable to the business environment, so as to facilitate the overall economic development; and

        (b)streamline the existing licensing mechanism and expedite the provision of one-stop licensing services for various trades, and lower the licence fees so as to reduce the operating costs of businesses.

        Amendments to Hon Kenneth TING's motion

        (i)Hon SIN Chung-kai: (Translation)

        To delete ", as the Chief Executive mentioned in his 2001 Policy Address that in the face of economic restructuring, it is necessary to continue" and substitute with "this Council urges the Government"; to delete "improve" and substitute with "dedicate itself to improving"; to add ", in the face of economic restructuring, by promoting fair market competition, implementing sustainable development, protecting the rights of both employers and employees, abolishing unnecessary business rules and regulations, reducing the burden on enterprises in complying with regulations and improving the support services for the business community" after "the business environment"; to delete "in order to expeditiously implement the proposals in the Policy Address, this Council urges the Government to" and substitute with "to adopt the following measures"; to delete "establish a" after "(a)" and substitute with "to review the functions of the Business Advisory Group, with a view to enhancing its work in"; to delete "committee" after "business environment assessment"; and to add "to" after "(b)".

        (ii)Hon LEE Cheuk-yan: (Translation)

        To add "did not elaborate on the meaning of improving the business environment when he" after "That, as the Chief Executive"; to add "(a) affirm that environmental conservation and the right to decent work are essential elements for improving the business environment;" after "this Council urges the Government to:"; to delete "(a)" and substitute with "(b)"; to delete "establish a business environment assessment committee to"; and to delete "(b)" and substitute with "(c)".

      Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Commerce and Industry

    6. Reducing the fares of various public transport services

      Hon LAU Kong-wah: (Translation)

      That, whereas Hong Kong's economy remains in the doldrums with the unemployment rate rising to 5.3%, the Consumer Price Index falling for three consecutive years, and the worsening deflationary situation, the fares of various public transport services remain high and have not been adjusted downwards in keeping with the movements of the Consumer Price Index; in this regard, this Council urges the Government to discuss with various public transport operators with a view to expeditiously reducing the fares of public transport services, thereby alleviating the burden on the public.

      Amendment to Hon LAU Kong-wah's motion

      Hon TSANG Yok-sing:
      (Translation)

      To delete "whereas" after "That," and substitute with "as"; to add "while" after "and the worsening deflationary situation,"; to delete "and have not been adjusted downwards in keeping with the movements of the Consumer Price Index; in this regard" and substitute with ", and transport expenses account for a large proportion of the public's living expenses"; and to delete "with a view to expeditiously reducing the fares of public transport services" and substitute with "and encourage them to take account of their respective operating conditions and reduce their fares or offer concessions to passengers".

      Public Officer to attend
    :Secretary for Transport



    Clerk to the Legislative Council