Council Meeting (Agenda) 26 April 2006


A 05/06-24

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 26 April 2006 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.
1.Chinese Nationality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule - Fees Revision) Order 200667/2006
2.Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passports Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule - Fees Revision) Notice 200668/2006
3.Immigration (Fees Revision) Regulation 200669/2006
4.Registration of Persons (Fees Revision) Regulation 200670/2006
5.Employees Retraining Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 2) Notice 200671/2006

Other Papers

1.No.84-Report No. 46 of the Director of Audit on the results of value for money audits - March 2006
(to be presented by the President)

2.No.85-Audited Statement of Accounts of the Quality Education Fund together with the Director of Audit's Report for the year ended 31 August 2005
(to be presented by Secretary for Education and Manpower)

3.No.86-Audited Statement of Accounts of the Education Development Fund together with the Director of Audit's Report for the year ended 31 August 2005
(to be presented by Secretary for Education and Manpower)

4.No.87-Audited Statement of Accounts of the Language Fund together with the Director of Audit's Report for the year ended 31 August 2005
(to be presented by Secretary for Education and Manpower)

5.No.88-Approved Estimates of Income and Expenditure
for the financial year 2006/2007, Securities and Futures Commission
(to be presented by Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury)

6.No.89-Annual Report 2005
Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation
(to be presented by Financial Secretary)

II. Questions

1. Hon Daniel LAM Wai-keung to ask: (Translation)

Some village representatives in the New Territories have complained to me that the Government, on the grounds that the population densities in the majority of the rural areas in the New Territories are on the low side, does not provide resources for constructing rural roads and providing infrastructures such as standard-compliant fire prevention equipment and supporting hardware in these areas, thus impeding the provision of fire and ambulance services to these areas. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

    (a)it will expeditiously review its policy on the provision of vehicular accesses to the rural areas in the New Territories, lower the minimum population density required thereunder, and expeditiously construct roads for small vehicles in the villages in the New Territories currently not provided with vehicular accesses, to enable small rescue vehicles' access to the villages;

    (b)it plans to provide the fire stations in the rural areas in the New Territories with sufficient numbers of and suitable small fire engines, fire motorcycles and ambulances; if so, of the details of such plans; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)it will install supporting hardware, such as standard pedestal hydrants or fire hose reels, within individual villages in the New Territories?
Public Officers to reply :Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands
Secretary for Security

2. Hon LEE Wing-tat to ask: (Translation)

Regarding the collection and dissemination of information on property transactions, will the Government inform this Council whether:

    (a)it compiles statistics on the number of uncompleted property transactions involving signed Provisional Agreements for Sale and Purchase; if so, of the number and total value of residential units involved last year; if not, whether it will compile such statistics and regularly publish the number of uncompleted transactions and the reasons therefor;

    (b)there are provisions in the existing legislation which are targeted at acts to mislead the market with non-bona fide property transactions; if so, of the enforcement of the relevant legislation; if not, whether it will consider enacting legislation to prohibit such acts; and

    (c)it will, by drawing reference from the stipulations on disclosure of transactions in the stock market, consider requiring property developers to disclose major transactions and property transactions with connected persons?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

3. Hon Albert CHAN to ask:
(Translation)

I have recently received a request for assistance from a member of the public, who said that a member of his family had passed away without the relatives' knowledge, and the Government had subsequently buried the body in the Sandy Ridge Cemetery, Sha Tau Kok, without informing the deceased's relatives. It was not until six months later that the Police informed the relatives of this person's death. As the Cemetery is situated in the closed area, making it difficult for him to visit the grave of the deceased, he has requested the authorities to arrange for the burial of the deceased in another cemetery as soon as possible. However, under the existing government requirements, he has to go through complicated procedures and pay a high fee to make such a change. With limited financial means, he has not yet been able to claim the body and bury it in another cemetery. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)whether the authorities have measures to inform the persons' relatives when persons die; if so, of the details, and the reasons for burying the deceased without informing their relatives;

    (b)whether the authorities will improve the measures mentioned in (a) above to ensure that the authorities will exhaust every means to inform the relatives of the deceased, and only when they cannot be contacted will the authorities bury the deceased; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)regarding the situation in which the authorities bury the deceased without informing their relatives, whether the authorities will consider simplifying the procedures for family members to claim the bodies of the deceased and bury them elsewhere, as well as exempting or reducing the relevant government fees and charges; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply :Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food
Secretary for Security

4. Hon James TO to ask: (Translation)

According to the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, where, after investigation, the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data ("the Commissioner") is of the opinion that a data user has contravened a requirement or a data protection principle of the Ordinance, he may issue an enforcement notice to him to remedy the contravention. The data user will commit an offence only if he contravenes the enforcement notice. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

    (a)it will conduct a comprehensive review on the Ordinance, and consider empowering the Commissioner to institute prosecutions directly against those who have seriously contravened data protection principles; and

    (b)it will allocate additional resources to the Commissioner for deploying additional manpower to initiate investigation into cases in which he suspects that the Ordinance has been contravened?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

5. Dr Hon YEUNG Sum to ask:
(Translation)

The Chairman of the Hospital Authority ("HA") told the media that he hoped to substantially increase a number of fees and charges for public health care services this year in order to maintain the quality of such services and prevent abuse. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)whether it knows the rationale put forward by the Chairman of HA to substantiate his claim about the abuse of health care services and the ability of increased fees and charges to reduce such abuse, and whether the authorities will, before deciding whether or not to agree to the fee and charges increases, explore whether they can use other methods, such as improving the service delivery model and operation, etc, to reduce inappropriate use of health care services;

    (b)of the number of submissions which opposed the substantial increases in fees and charges for public health care services received by the authorities in their consultation last year on the future service delivery model of health care services; whether the authorities, in studying whether or not to increase the fees and charges, will respond to these opposing views and consider putting in place a mechanism, whereby any adjustment in fees and charges for health care services must have the support of the public or their representatives; and

    (c)whether the authorities will consider devising a set of clear and objective criteria to determine whether or not to increase the fees and charges for public health care services, such as linking the fees and charges for public health care services to the median income of the public for assessing and calculating such fees and charges?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

6. Hon Patrick LAU Sau-shing to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the built heritage conservation policy ("heritage policy"), will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)as the public consultation on reviewing the heritage policy was already concluded in May 2004, why the authorities have not yet announced the new heritage policy, and when they plan to announce the new policy;

    (b)whether the new heritage policy will provide guiding principles for urban renewal and town planning exercises; if so, of the relevant details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)of the existing policies and long-term strategies for avoiding discordance between the urban development direction and the heritage policy?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

*7. Hon Martin LEE to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council of:

    (a)the respective funding provisions allocated to each District Council ("DC") for undertaking environmental improvements, the promotion of recreational and cultural activities as well as community activities within its District, and the respective numbers of works projects and activities undertaken by each DC in each year from 2000-01 to 2005-06; and

    (b)the respective approved budget provisions allocated to each DC by the authorities regarding the above three categories of projects and activities in the current financial year?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

Regarding the implementation of the measures proposed by the Government in mid-2001 to enhance the role and functions of the District Councils ("DCs"), the Government replied to a Member's question at the Council meeting on 1 March 2006. Regarding the reply, will the Government provide this Council with supplementary information, as follows:

    (a)as the authorities are studying and following up the 195 suggestions put forward by DCs in the past three years regarding district leisure and cultural facilities and services, of the details of such suggestions and the detailed reasons for not implementing them immediately, broken down by DCs;

    (b)as the authorities have indicated that, among the suggestions put forward by DCs in the past three years regarding district municipal facilities and services, 13 will be considered and reviewed from time to time, depending on the resources available and 11 have not been accepted, of the details of such suggestions, broken down by DCs;

    (c)of the titles of the electronic copies of Legislative Council Briefs issued by various government bureaux to the 18 DC secretariats in the past three years;

    (d)of the respective numbers of meetings that have been held by Directors of Bureaux and Heads of Government Departments with DC members since the commencement of the current DC term, with a breakdown by DC and indication for DC meetings among such meetings;

    (e)as the Steering Committees for Rural Public Works and for Urban Minor Works are currently chaired by the Director of Home Affairs, why the authorities did not implement their suggestion in 2001 that these Steering Committees be chaired by the chairmen or members of DCs;

    (f)of the number and names of the district consultative committees the existing memberships of which comprise no DC members and the reasons for that, and whether the authorities have any plans and timetable to increase the percentages of DC members in these committees to a specified target; if they have, of the target; and

    (g)of the names of the district consultative committees currently chaired by DC members, the names of the other district consultative committees, why some district consultative committees are not chaired by DC members, and whether the authorities have any plans and timetable for all district consultative committees to be chaired by DC members?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

Regarding the outstanding projects of the former Provisional Municipal Councils, will the Government inform this Council of:

    (a)the current progress of the two projects tried out under the Private Sector Finance approach (i.e. Leisure and Cultural Centre in Kwun Tong and Ice Sports Centre in Tseung Kwan O); and

    (b)the amount of provisions involved in each of the 70 projects involving leisure and cultural facilities and the 10 projects involving environmental hygiene facilities which have been put under review; the reasons for the above projects involving environmental hygiene facilities not being taken forward as soon as possible, and whether any of the 80 projects (excluding District Square Areas 33A and 29 Tin Shui Wai) can be implemented as minor building works projects; if so, of the titles of such projects?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

*10. Hon KWONG Chi-kin to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the Administration has not properly utilized the biogas generated from sewage treatment. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)of the amount of biogas presently generated each month from each sewage treatment plant;

    (b)whether it has policies on the proper utilization of the biogas; if so, of the details; and

    (c)how the authorities utilize the biogas and the amount of biogas being utilized; whether the biogas has been sold; if so, of the organizations to which the biogas is sold and the amount of income received each year?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

Will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)of the existing number of aqua privies ("APs") and their geographical distribution;

    (b)of the basis for determining the priority of various APs in the works for conversion into flushing toilets; and

    (c)whether it has any plans to convert all APs into flushing toilets; if so, of the timetable for the conversion works and the costs involved?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

*12. Hon Albert Jinghan CHENG to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding The Link Management Limited's ("The Link Management") letting the shops in shopping arcades and market stalls in public housing estates by batches to Single Operators, will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)whether it knows if The Link Management has imposed any restrictions on the rate of increase in the rentals of market stalls to be introduced by Single Operators when the relevant tenancies expire this year;

    (b)given that Single Operators were required by the Housing Authority ("HA") to let shops or market stalls according to the designated mix of trades, as well as designate the permitted types of trade for each shop/stall, whether the Administration has required The Link Management to impose the same requirements on its Single Operators; and

    (c)given that HA had offered rent concessions to sub-tenants through Single Operators during economic downturn in the past few years, whether it knows if the same arrangements will still be adopted by The Link Management?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

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

Beginning this month, short-term travel support is provided, as an incentive for taking up employment, for residents in Yuen Long, Islands and North districts who are financially needy and have completed full-time or placement-tied courses with the Employees Retraining Board. On the 4th of this month, the Labour and Economic Affairs Committee of the North District Council wrote to Members of this Council, proposing additional funding for this purpose, as well as removing the requirement that applicants should have completed the relevant courses. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)of the reasons for requiring the applicants to have completed the relevant courses; and

    (b)whether it has looked into the feasibility of removing this requirement; if so, of the outcome, and the estimated annual expenditure to be incurred; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Financial Secretary

*14. Hon MA Lik to ask:
(Translation)

In regard to government departments and statutory organizations outsourcing information technology projects, will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)of the details, including the commissioning department/organization, name of the contractor and the type of personal data involved, of the projects outsourced in the past three years in which the contractors or their employees had access to the personal data of members of the public; and

    (b)how the government departments and statutory organizations concerned monitored their contractors' compliance with the information security policy and guidelines of the Government; of the number of cases in the past three years in which the contractors were found to have contravened the said policy or guidelines; and the details of such cases as well as the outcome of the handling of such cases?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology

*15. Hon WONG Ting-kwong to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the Free Trade Agreement ("FTA") between China and the Association of South East Asian Nations ("ASEAN") does not cover Hong Kong; as goods from the Mainland can be directly exported to ASEAN countries in future, the position of Hong Kong as the Mainland's entrepot and economic and trade window will be significantly undermined. Furthermore, the Mainland is also negotiating similar agreements with a number of countries and regions. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

    (a)it has assessed the impact of the FTA made between the Mainland and ASEAN on Hong Kong; if it has, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)it will seek to include Hong Kong in the above FTA; if it will, when it will do so; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)the Hong Kong authorities are currently negotiating any FTAs with other countries and regions, if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology

*16. Dr Hon Fernando CHEUNG to ask:


It has been reported that the government policy to promote eco-buildings has enabled developers to add to their projects floor areas that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, by paying land premiums which represent a tiny fraction of the value of the additional areas. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)of the names of residential property projects that have been granted additional floor areas for green features since the introduction of the above policy, the amount of such floor areas, the premium paid for the green features and the current market value of these floor areas for each of these projects, as well as the total number of projects and amounts of floor areas and moneys involved; and

    (b)whether it will review the above policy to address the above situation?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

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

In December 2003, the Government advised this Council that it planned to extend the application of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety ("the Protocol") to Hong Kong for better protection of biological diversity in Hong Kong through the regulation of the import and export of living modified organisms ("LMOs") (i.e. any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology). The Government indicated in April last year that it was still working on the introduction of new legislation to implement the Protocol. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)whether the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has breached the principles and regulations in the Protocol by distributing genetically-modified papaya seeds and seedlings to farmers (including those engaging in organic farming) last year;

    (b)whether the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau and the departments under its purview have been involved in the legislative exercise mentioned above; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)given that the Protocol stipulates that any exporting country of LMOs should obtain an advance informed agreement from the importing country, provide a risk assessment report indicating that LMOs will not pose adverse effects on biological diversity and human health, label LMOs in a clear manner and provide the relevant information, whether it will, by drawing reference from the above precautionary approach, consider implementing a mandatory labelling system for genetically-modified food in Hong Kong; if so, of the considerations involved; if not, the rationale for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

*18. Hon Audrey EU to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council of the number of government primary school teachers who applied to participate in the Early Retirement Scheme in each of the 2004/05 and 2005/06 academic years; the numbers of successful applicants, their age profile, and their shortest, longest and average years of teaching; among them, the numbers of degree holders and the respective numbers of those who have met the English and Putonghua language proficiency requirements; as well as the amounts of expenditure involved and the balance of the relevant funds? Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*19. Hon TAM Heung-man to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding liquidators' professional liability system and service charges, will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)whether it will consider reviewing the professional liability system for liquidators, so that in creditors' claims for compensation arising from liquidators' negligence, the liquidators are required to bear proportionate professional liability; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)whether it will consider establishing a more explicit system of liquidator charges to ensure that liquidators will have reasonable income; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it will step up the regulation of liquidators so as to maintain the quality of their professional services; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

*20. Hon WONG Kwok-hing to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the employment statistics for 2005 complied by the Census and Statistics Department, will the Government provide the number of employed persons (excluding unpaid family workers, foreign domestic helpers and employed persons who worked less than 35 hours during the seven days before enumeration due to vacation), broken down by the groupings in the form below?

Gender Hours of work during the seven days before enumeration Monthly employment earnings (HK$)
Less than 3,000 3,000 to 4,999 5,000 to 7,499 7,500 to 9,999 10,000 or above Total
Female Less than 35 hours





35 to 44 hours





45 to 54 hours





55 to 59 hours





60 hours or above





Sub-total





Male Less than 35 hours





35 to 44 hours





45 to 54 hours





55 to 59 hours





60 hours or above





Sub-total





Female and male Less than 35 hours





35 to 44 hours





45 to 54 hours





55 to 59 hours





60 hours or above





Total






Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

*For written reply.

III. Bills

First Reading


1. Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 2006

2. Freight Containers (Safety) (Amendment) Bill 2006

3. Revenue Bill 2006

Second Reading (Debates to be adjourned)

1.Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 2006 :Secretary for Home Affairs

2.Freight Containers (Safety) (Amendment) Bill 2006 :Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

3.Revenue Bill 2006 :Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

IV. Members' Motions

  1. Proposed resolution under the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China

    Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG to move the following motion:

    RESOLVED that Rule 83(5)(a) of the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region be amended by adding ", and if the company concerned is a subsidiary of another company within the meaning of section 2(4) of the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32), also the name of that other company" after "public or private".

  2. Donation of organs

    Hon Bernard CHAN: (Translation)

    That, as the situation of organ donation in Hong Kong is still not satisfactory despite many years of publicity, and the number of organs donated is not sufficient to meet the demands of those waiting for organ transplants, this Council urges the Government to immediately conduct a comprehensive review on the current policy on organ donation, with a view to formulating a package of effective measures for needy patients to receive as soon as possible suitable organs to extend their lives; such measures should include: deploying more resources to improve the methods currently adopted by the Government, the Hospital Authority and the Hong Kong Medical Association for collecting people's wish to become organ donors and for registering their information, so as to enable the public to sign up as donors more easily; enhancing the information processing system, e.g. establishing a back-end computer system to more effectively process the information of all organ donors in Hong Kong, so as to facilitate easy access to such information by authorized persons; as well as stepping up publicity efforts on organ donation and encouraging the public to actively sign up as organ donors.

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

  3. Universal retirement protection

    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan: (Translation)

    That this Council urges the Government to set up a sustainable universal retirement protection scheme, so that all senior citizens can enjoy financial security to maintain a basic standard of living immediately after retirement.

    Amendment to motion
    Hon Howard YOUNG:
    (Translation)

    To add ", to enable retired people to enjoy a higher basic standard of living and better financial security," after "That"; to delete "set up" after "this Council urges the Government to" and substitute with "adopt more incentive measures, including offering tax deduction for voluntary contributions under the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme, with a view to assisting members of the public in making more comprehensive retirement protection plans that suit their needs; the Government should also, provided that the existing burden on the community will not be increased, actively study the feasibility of setting up"; and to delete ", so that all senior citizens can enjoy financial security to maintain a basic standard of living immediately after retirement" after "universal retirement protection scheme".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

Clerk to the Legislative Council