Council Meeting ( Agenda ) 21 November 2001

A 01/02-7

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 21 November 2001 at 2:30pm

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / Instruments L.N. No.
1.Census and Statistics (Survey of External Claims, Liabilities and Income) (Amendment) Order 2001240/2001
2.Chief Executive Election (Election Petition) Rules241/2001


Other Papers

1. No.26-Hong Kong Productivity CouncilAnnual Report 2000/2001

(to be presented by Secretary for Commerce and Industry)

2. No.27-Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund Board 2000 Annual Report

(to be presented by Secretary for Education and Manpower)

3. No.28-Report of the Director of Audit on the Accounts of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the year ended 31 March 2001

(to be presented by the President)

4. No.29-Report No. 37 of the Director of Audit on the results of value for money audits - October 2001

(to be presented by the President)

5. No.30-Accounts of the Government for the year ended 31 March 2001

(to be presented by Secretary for the Treasury)

6. Report of Bills Committee on Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 2001

(to be presented by Hon James TIEN, Chairman of the Bills Committee)


II. Questions

1. Hon Howard YOUNG to ask:

It has been reported that manufacturing defects have been found in some of the Hong Kong SAR passports issued by the Administration, resulting in opposite pages sticking together. In this connection, will the Administration inform this Council of:
    (a)the total number of complaints received so far concerning the quality of Hong Kong SAR passports, and the contents of such complaints;

    (b)the causes of the problems which caused the complaints; and

    (c)the remedial actions it has taken to address the problems?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

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

China and Taiwan have successively joined the World Trade Organisation ("WTO"). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has re-assessed the impact of China's accession to WTO on Hong Kong, including the benefits and disadvantages;

    (b)of the new initiatives to assist Hong Kong businessmen in exploring the Mainland market and Hong Kong people getting employment there; and

    (c)whether it has assessed the changes in the trade relations between Hong Kong and Taiwan following China and Taiwan's successive accession to WTO; if it has, of the details?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Industry

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

It has been reported that the Hospital Authority ("HA") has selected seven public hospitals for setting up pilot Chinese medicine out-patient clinics. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the criteria adopted by HA for determining the public hospitals at which Chinese medicine out-patient clinics are to be set up; and whether HA has invited its public hospitals to submit applications in this regard;

    (b)given that the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong have respectively set up research and teaching departments for Chinese medicine, whether it knows the reasons for the teaching hospitals under the two universities, namely the Queen Mary Hospital and the Prince of Wales Hospital, not having been selected; and

    (c)whether the Health and Welfare Bureau has monitored HA to see if it was adhering to the principle of putting resources to optimal uses in selecting the relevant hospitals; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

At the end of last month, a Mainland cargo ship entered Hong Kong waters without tendering Pre-Arrival Notifications ("PANs") to the relevant authorities in advance and accidentally damaged some rafts in the fish culture zone at Ma Wan. Regarding Mainland vessels entering Hong Kong waters and marine accidents involving them, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the circumstances under which Mainland vessels may enter Hong Kong waters without tendering PANs in advance; the number of entries of Mainland vessels into Hong Kong waters in each of the past three years, together with a breakdown by the type of vessels;

    (b)of the number of marine accidents within Hong Kong waters involving Mainland vessels in the past three years, and a breakdown by the type of vessels, as well as the number of such accidents involving Mainland vessels which were not required to tender PANs; and

    (c)whether it will consider introducing legislative amendments to require all Mainland vessels to tender PANs before entering Hong Kong waters; if it will, of the legislative timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Services

5. Hon Bernard CHAN to ask: (Translation)

It has been reported that according to a survey published by a consultancy company, among the foreign investors living in 13 Asian territories, only those in Hong Kong are pessimistic about the local economy five years from now and are disappointed with the leadership of the Hong Kong Government and the assistance it provides to the business sector. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the measures in place to change the pessimistic mood of foreign investors regarding the prospects of the local economy;

    (b)whether it has compared the economic prospects of Hong Kong with those in other Asian territories; and

    (c)whether it will consider providing more assistance to the business sector?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Industry

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

Regarding the existing transport services and subsidies provided for disabled persons, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has reviewed the public-funded Rehabus service provided by the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation, including the demand and supply of the service; if it has, of the results of its review; if it has not, whether such a review will be conducted;

    (b)given that the existing Rehabus service mainly operates on scheduled routes, whether it will consider providing the relevant organizations with fundings for the purchase of vehicles to facilitate the enhancement of the dial-a-ride Rehabus service as well as the provision of rehabilitation taxi service; and

    (c)as the current charges for dial-a-ride Rehabus service are much higher than ordinary bus fares, and only recipients of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance are eligible for half-fare refund after having first paid the full charge, whether it will provide higher levels of transport subsidy to relevant organizations or the disabled persons in need?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

*7. Hon WONG Sing-chi to ask: (Translation)

Regarding the provision of support services to young Hong Kong people who have allegedly breached the laws and regulations in the Mainland, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the total number of young Hong Kong people aged between 12 and 21 who were detained or arrested by Mainland law enforcement agencies for having allegedly breached the laws and regulations in Guangdong Province in the past six months, together with a breakdown of such cases by the duration and grounds of detention; and of the respective numbers of young people prosecuted and convicted subsequently;

    (b)whether it knows the general procedures adopted by law enforcement agencies in the Mainland for detaining these young people, and the channels available to the detainees for seeking legal and counselling services;

    (c)whether it will consider enhancing the dissemination of information to young people on the consequences of participating in illicit activities in the Mainland, and on the kind of punishments they may get; and

    (d)whether the Administration provides services to young Hong Kong people who have been sentenced in the Mainland and to their families in Hong Kong; if so, of the resources used for such purpose each year; if not, whether it will consider providing such services, including cross-border outreaching services for the youth?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

*8. Dr Hon David CHU to ask: (Translation)

The Canadian Overseas International College closed down on 28th last month due to financial problems. It was reported that about 380 students were affected, involving prepaid tuition fees totalling $10 million. With regard to the Education Department's ("ED") supervision of schools, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether, before the closure of the College, the ED was aware that the College was facing financial or operational difficulties; if so, of the follow-up measures taken by the ED; if not, whether it has assessed if the sudden closure of the College is a reflection of inadequate supervision by ED, or the existence of loopholes in the supervisory mechanism; and

    (b)of the ED's criteria for granting permission for the College and other schools to collect tuition fees on a prepaid basis, rather than on a monthly basis as prescribed by the legislation, and the current number of schools permitted to collect tuition fee on a prepaid basis, together with a breakdown by the type of such schools?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

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

Regarding the provision of psychiatric services and counselling services on emotional problems to the unemployed and those on the verge of unemployment, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of first attendance in the Hospital Authority's ("HA") psychiatric outpatient clinics in each of the past three years and, among them, the number of those who were unemployed;

    (b)of HA's expenditure on providing various psychiatric services and HA's establishment of medical and nursing staff providing such services, in the past three years;

    (c)of the resources allocated to the relevant government departments and non-government organizations in the past three years for providing counselling services on emotional problems to the unemployed and those on the verge of unemployment; and

    (d)whether it has predicted the number of people who will suffer from mental health problems arising from unemployment and will need psychiatric treatment in the next three years, and whether it has assessed if the resources of the HA can cope with the new cases?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

*10. Hon Miriam LAU to ask: (Translation)

It was reported that cracks were found on a flyover under construction in Sai Kung District, resulting in a delay in its completion date. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the causes of the cracks found on the flyover;

    (b)the remedial measures it has taken; and

    (c)the revised completion date of the flyover?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Works

*11. Hon Albert CHAN to ask: (Translation)

In response to my question on 1 November last year, the Government advised that the stench from a nullah in Tin Shui Wai originated from pig farms in the district, and that it would continue with its enforcement actions against illegal discharges of pig excretion. It is learnt that the problem of stench from the nullah has deteriorated rather than improved. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the measures that have been implemented since November last year for solving the above problem;

    (b)the number of prosecutions instituted against farmers who illegally discharged pig excretion in the district within the same period, and the prosecution results; and

    (c)the specific plans and measures to address the problem and the time by which it can be thoroughly solved?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment and Food

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

As libraries perform many functions, such as facilitating members of the public in pursuing continuing education, participating in cultural activities and having access to information, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the planning standards for the establishment of small libraries; and

    (b)whether it plans to extend the opening hours of public libraries and establish additional small libraries or reading rooms within public housing estates and Home Ownership Scheme estates; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited ("HKEx") plans to launch trading services for equity-linked notes ("ELN") in its exchange. It has been discussing this issue with the Securities and Futures Commission ("SFC") for a long time but the outcome is still awaited. However, the SFC has recently issued a securities dealer licence to iMarkets Limited, a subsidiary of the Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited, allowing it to set up a trading platform for ELN. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)whether they have investigated if the SFC's decision to issue a securities dealer licence to iMarkets Limited was fair; if they have, of the results;

    (b)whether they know the reasons for the SFC not yet reaching an agreement with the HKEx on the trading of ELN in its exchange; and

    (c)how they ensure that the SFC will not adopt double standards in vetting and approving applications for the provision of trading services for new investment products?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services

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

It has been reported that Tuen Mun Hospital is anticipated to have a budget deficit of 100 million dollars in this fiscal year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the respective amounts of approved fundings for various public hospitals and their estimated total expenditure in the current fiscal year;

    (b)the main causes of budget deficits in public hospitals, and whether the downward casting of estimates in order to implement the Enhanced Productivity Programme is among them; and

    (c)how the Hospital Authority and its public hospitals deal with their deficits?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

Regarding the full-time sub-degree and high diploma information technology-related programmes conducted by various tertiary institutions on a public-funded or self-financing basis, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the student intake of these programmes in the last academic year; and

    (b)the course title, enrolment and tuition fee of each of such programmes in the current academic year?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

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

Regarding police strength in Sai Kung and Tseung Kwan O, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of reported crimes in Sai Kung and Tseung Kwan O in the past three years, together with a breakdown by the type of crimes and the types of crimes that have an upward trend;

    (b)of the current respective ratios of police officers stationed at the divisional police stations to the populations in Sai Kung and Tseung Kwan O;

    (c)whether it has assessed the adequacy of police strength in these two areas;

    (d)whether police officers are still being deployed on bicycle beat duties in Tseung Kwan O; if so, whether it has assessed if the number of police officers deployed is adequate; if police officers are no longer deployed for such duties, of the reasons for that; and

    (e)of the respective projected population growths in Sai Kung and Tseung Kwan O in the next three years; whether, in the light of the projected population growths, it will consider setting up a new police district to command these two divisional police stations, which are currently under the command of Wong Tai Sin District and Kwun Tong District respectively; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

*17. Hon Albert HO to ask: (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it will consider introducing a tax allowance for maintenance payments, so as to alleviate the burden of divorcees and encourage them to make maintenance payments to their ex-spouses; if not, of the reasons for that; and

    (b)of the amount of tax forgone per year if maintenance payments are fully tax exempted?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Treasury

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

In 1991, the Administration increased the vehicle licence fee for vans of a permitted gross vehicle weight exceeding 1.9 tonnes in order to reduce the gap between the licence fees of vans and private cars, thereby discouraging people from buying vans for use as private cars. As many new models of private cars with more spacious compartments and a larger passenger capacity are available in the market in recent years, less people now buy vans for use as private cars than before. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it plans to reduce the licence fee for vans; if so, when this will be implemented; if not, of the justifications for that? Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport

*19. Dr Hon David CHU to ask: (Translation)

Regarding the Self-employment Business Start-up Assistance Scheme launched in August this year, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the total number of loan applications received so far by the lending institutions participating in the Scheme, and the number of such applications which have been approved, together with a breakdown by the rate of interest charged on the loans; and

    (b)whether the authorities concerned will study together with the lending institutions participating in the Scheme the possibility of exempting applicants from paying the handling fees?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

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

Under the Trial Placement Scheme for People with a Disability launched on 1 September last year, the Labour Department will make arrangements for disabled persons to work for employers participating in this Scheme for a trial period of one month and the employers are granted subsidies amounting to half of the wages they pay to each employee during the trial period, subject to a ceiling of $3,000. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of disabled persons placed under the Scheme so far, together with a breakdown by the type of jobs in which they are engaged and their monthly salaries; and among these employees, of the number of people who are still being employed two months after the trial period has lapsed, together with a breakdown by the type of jobs in which they are engaged and their monthly salaries;

    (b)of the reasons for some disabled persons not being offered continued employment after the trial period; and

    (c)as disabled persons may not be able to secure long-term employment under the Scheme, whether it will consider formulating other measures to help disabled persons secure employment, such as making it a statutory requirement that public and private organizations must employ disabled persons up to a certain percentage in the overall number of employees, or offering tax concessions to private organizations employing disabled persons?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*For written reply.

III. Bills

First Reading


Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2001

Second Reading (Debate to be adjourned)

Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2001 : Secretary for the Treasury

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

Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 2001 : Secretary for the Treasury

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 (Subscribers and Election Deposit for Nomination) Regulation, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 205 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 17 October 2001, be amended -

    (a)in section 6(1), by repealing ", notwithstanding those sections,";

    (b)in section 8(3), by repealing "under subsection (2)" and substituting "by the voter under subsection (2) for the same election".

  • Proposed resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance
    Secretary for Constitutional Affairs to move the following motion:


  • RESOLVED that the Electoral Affairs Commission (Nominations Advisory Committees (Election Committee)) Regulation, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 208 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 17 October 2001, be amended -
      (a)in section 6 -

      (i)in subsection (13) -

      (A)by adding "by a Committee" before "may,";

      (B)by repealing "the Committee concerned" and substituting "that Committee";

      (ii)in subsection (16), by adding "by the Chief Electoral Officer" before "on";

      (b)in section 8(c), by repealing "any notification" and substituting "any written notification".
    V. Members' Motions

    1. Proposed resolution under the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance
      Hon James TO to move the following motion:


    2. RESOLVED that the Fugitive Offenders (Sri Lanka) Order, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 203 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 17 October 2001, be repealed.

    3. Conservation policy

    4. Hon CHOY So-yuk: (Translation)

      That this Council urges the Government to formulate a set of comprehensive policies on conservation of the natural environment and the ecology, including:

      (a)setting clear and specific conservation objectives;

      (b)based on the findings of the Hong Kong Biodiversity Survey recently completed by the University of Hong Kong, as well as the relevant data available from government departments, non-governmental organizations and other tertiary institutions, setting up an ecology database expeditiously and establishing a plan and the order of priority for conservation work;

      (c)reviewing and improving the existing legislation and mechanisms relating to conservation, so as to ensure that land of ecological value can be duly protected and managed;

      (d)in view of the public interest, exploring practicable and reasonable options to conserve the ecological environment on privately-owned land, and offering reasonable compensation to or making arrangements for the affected owners to ensure more effective conservation and management of the land concerned;

      (e)increasing the funding for education and research work on conservation in local tertiary institutions, and strengthening the co-operation with such institutions in this regard;

      (f)enhancing the training for personnel engaged in the management and keeping of nature reserves; and

      (g)encouraging discussion and the exchange of views on conservation issues among government departments, green groups, private organizations, village representatives, universities and research institutions and uniting the efforts of the various parties in actively promoting the protection of the ecological environment in Hong Kong, with a view to integrating environmental conservation with urban development and achieving a balance between the two.

      Amendments to Hon CHOY So-yuk's motion

      (i)Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG: (Translation)

      To add ", taking account of the principle of achieving balanced social development and effective use of social resources, while avoiding hampering the business environment and creating a heavy financial burden on the Government," after "That this Council urges the Government"; to delete "based on the findings of the Hong Kong Biodiversity Survey recently completed by the University of Hong Kong, as well as the relevant data available from government departments, non-governmental organizations and other tertiary institutions," after "(b)"; to delete "increasing the funding for" after (e) and substitute with "encouraging local tertiary institutions to undertake"; and to delete "in local tertiary institutions" after "education and research work on conservation".

      (ii)Hon LAW Chi-kwong: (Translation)

      To add "and strategies" after "(a) setting clear and specific conservation objectives"; to delete "exploring" after "(d) in view of the public interest," and substitute with "formulating and implementing"; to add "which has conservation value" after "practicable and reasonable options to conserve the ecological environment"; and to add "penalizing those who cause wanton destruction of such ecological environment, and strictly prohibiting any developments in the sites designated as of high ecological value;" after "to ensure more effective conservation and management of the land concerned;".

      Public Officer to attend : Secretary for the Environment and Food

  • Alleviating the disparity between the rich and the poor

  • Hon Frederick FUNG: (Translation)

    That, as Hong Kong's economy remains in the doldrums and the problem of the disparity between the rich and the poor is becoming increasingly serious, this Council urges the Government to comprehensively study the causes of the problem and formulate corresponding social and economic policies so as to improve the livelihood of the poor and narrow the gap between the rich and the poor.

    Amendment to Hon Frederick FUNG's motion
    Hon WONG Sing-chi:
    (Translation)

    To add "to adopt the recommendation of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to establish an inter-departmental anti-poverty commission" after "this Council urges the Government"; to add "problem and its" after "to comprehensively study the"; to delete "of the problem" after "causes"; to add "anti-poverty strategies and" after "and formulate"; and to add ", as well as establishing a poverty line or poverty lines," after "corresponding social and economic policies".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Health and Welfare

    Clerk to the Legislative Council