Council Meeting (Agenda) 31 October 2007


A 07/08-5

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 31 October 2007 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / Instruments L.N. No.
1.Dangerous Goods (Consignment by Air) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulation 2007193/2007
2.Dangerous Goods (Consignment by Air) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulation 2006 (Amendment) Regulation 2007194/2007
3.Air Navigation (Hong Kong) Order 1995 (Amendment of Schedule 16) Order 2007195/2007
4.Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 1) Order 2007196/2007
5.Dangerous Goods (Consignment by Air) (Safety) Regulations (Amendment of Schedule) Order 2006 (Amendment) Order 2007197/2007
6.Securities and Futures (Contracts Limits and Reportable Positions)(Amendment) (No. 2) Rules 2007198/2007
7.Fugitive Offenders (Corruption) Order (Commencement) Notice199/2007
8.Rail Merger Ordinance (Commencement) Notice200/2007
9.Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance (Commencement) Notice201/2007
10.Unsolicited Electronic Messages Regulation (Commencement) Notice202/2007

Other Papers

1.No.19-Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund
Annual Report 2006-2007
(to be presented by Secretary for Development)

2.No.20-Consumer Council
Annual Report 2006-2007
(to be presented by Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development)

3.No.21-Office of the Telecommunications Authority
Trading Fund Annual Report 2006-2007
(to be presented by Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development)

4.No.22-Annual Report 2006 to the Chief Executive by the Commissioner on Interception of Communications and Surveillance (together with a statement under section 49(4) of the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance)
(to be presented by Secretary for Security)

5.No.23-Post Office Trading Fund
Annual Report 2006-2007
(to be presented by Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development)

6.No.24-Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health
Annual Report 2006-2007
(to be presented by Secretary for Food and Health)

II. Questions

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

It has been reported that the train depot of the Shatin to Central Link ("SCL") will be built on the land at the former Tai Hom Village site at Diamond Hill, with property development projects above the depot. The Wong Tai Sin District Council has expressed its objection to the construction of the depot there and the concern that the construction of the depot will create a lot of noises and wall effect. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows if a separate depot has to be constructed for SCL after the rail merger; whether the Government and the railway corporations have considered expanding the depots of the East Rail, Ma On Shan Rail or Mass Transit Railway to meet the needs of SCL; if they have, of the details, if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)it knows if the former Tai Hom Village site at Diamond Hill is the only suitable site for the SCL depot; if so, how the Government will respond to the residents' objection to the construction of the depot; if not, what other sites are suitable for the SCL depot, and the criteria to be adopted by the Government for assessing the suitability of the final choice of the site for the depot; and

    (c)the Government will conduct environmental impact assessment studies on the sites concerned before finalizing the site for the SCL depot; if it will, of the details of the studies, and whether it will report the study results to the affected residents, the District Council concerned and the Legislative Council; if assessments will not be conducted, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

As cases have occurred from time to time in which ex-mental patients, who have returned to the community but still need to take medication regularly, injuring themselves or other people because they were in emotional distress or did not take medication according to schedule, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the current number of ex-mental patients who have returned to the community but still need to take medication regularly;

    (b)of the measures to ensure that the above persons will take medication according to schedule as prescribed by medical practitioners; and

    (c)what counselling services are currently provided for the above persons by the Government and the Hospital Authority ("HA"), and the ratio of the number of ex-mental patients to the number of government and HA staff providing counselling services to them, broken down by 18 District Council districts?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

3. Hon Frederick FUNG to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the work on promoting the development of social enterprises ("SEs"), will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the progress of work of the Enhancing Self-Reliance Through District Partnership Programme; the total number of applications received in the second batch, the reasons why some applications were not approved, and list out the details of each of the approved programmes (including the type of programme, name of applicant organization, amount of grant, target beneficiaries, district(s) where the programme operates, as well as the number(s), type(s) and wage level(s) of jobs expected to be created);

    (b)whether it will consider further introducing SEs to districts where the problem of poverty is more serious (including Sham Shui Po, Kwun Tong, Tuen Mun and Yuen Long); if it will, of the details; and

    (c)of the progress of work in organizing the summit on SEs (including the time, venue and contents of the summit, list of the individuals and organizations proposed to be invited, as well as the expected effectiveness in alleviating poverty)?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

In consultation with the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation and tertiary institutions, the Government formulated in 2001 a set of common descriptors for associate degree ("AD") programmes, in which the programme objectives, entry requirements, exit qualifications, etc. were outlined. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows if there have been cases, in the past three and the current school years, in which tertiary institutions did not adhere to the entry requirements set out in the common descriptors, such as admitting students who did not obtain a pass in the English or Chinese subjects in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination or a pass in one subject in the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination or equivalent, admitting students who had not matriculated to a two-year curriculum, and allowing matriculants to proceed directly to the second year of a two-year curriculum; together with a breakdown by institution, the entry requirements not adhered to and course duration;

    (b)whether currently, the institutions are still required to adhere to the relevant entry requirements when admitting students for AD programmes; if so, how the relevant authorities follow up cases in which the tertiary institutions have failed to adhere to such requirements; if adherence is no longer required, when this began and the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it will conduct a review on the admission and exit standards for AD programmes; if it will, of the timetable of the review; if not, how it ensures that graduates conferred with the relevant qualifications have achieved the necessary academic and professional standards?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

5. Hon Alan LEONG Kah-kit to ask:
(Translation)

Concerning the appointed seats of District Councils ("DCs"), will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the following information about each appointed DC member of the current term: the number of other advisory and statutory bodies of which he/she is a member, for how long he/she has been serving as an appointed DC member, and to-date rate of attendance at DC meetings of this term;

    (b)given the Government has stipulated that in general, a non-official member of an advisory or statutory body should not serve in that capacity for more than six years, and the same person should not be appointed to be a member of more than six boards or committees at the same time, whether it will stick to these stipulations when appointing DC members of the next term; if it will not, of the reasons for that; and

    (c)as the Government had proposed in December 2005 the phased abolition of appointed DC seats, whether it will put forward again a plan to phase out appointed DC seats on this basis; if it will, of the progress and details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

In January this year, the Focus Group on Trade and Business of the Economic Summit on "China's 11th Five-Year Plan and the Development of Hong Kong" submitted its report to the Chief Executive, proposing that the Government should, among other things, establish a high-level Brand Hong Kong Group to promote the development of Brand Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the latest progress in establishing the Brand Hong Kong Group, the expected date of its establishment, and the specific work it will be responsible for;

    (b)the resources the Government will provide to assist in the internationalization of local brands; and

    (c)the details of the Government's work in consulting the commercial sector and the relevant parties on the establishment of the Brand Hong Kong Group and the promotion of Brand Hong Kong?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

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

It has been reported that there is a very big discrepancy between the actual throughput of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor and the projected figures, indicating that the corridor has failed to ease the traffic congestion at other control points effectively. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)how the average actual daily numbers of various types of vehicles using the above corridor compare to the relevant projected figures;

    (b)whether it has investigated the reasons for the throughput of the corridor being on the low side; if it has, of the findings; and

    (c)in addition to exempting goods vehicles of cross-boundary freight companies from the requirement for applying to the relevant authorities in Guangdong Province in advance for additional Shenzhen Bay Port crossing endorsement, and extending the arrangements for cross-boundary private cars to use that control point on a trial basis, whether the governments of Hong Kong and Guangdong will adopt other measures to encourage more goods vehicles, container trucks and other types of vehicles to use the above corridor, so as to ensure that the corridor can achieve its function of diverting traffic flows; if so, of the details of such measures?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

It has been reported that the Next Media Limited has been involved in 18 cases of publishing indecent articles since 2003. The reports have also indicated that, Oriental Daily News, The Sun, Apple Daily and NOW, a foreign magazine available in Hong Kong, published in December 2005 an identical set of photographs of an overseas female celebrity, but only the former two newspapers were classified as indecent articles, and NOW was not even submitted for classification. In addition, it has also been reported that the Next Media Limited has a record of over 100 convictions for publishing indecent articles so far. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority ("TELA") has instituted prosecution in respect of all the 18 cases; if it has not, of the reasons for that, and the number of cases in which no prosecution has been instituted yet;

    (b)whether there is a time limit for instituting prosecution of offences of publishing and displaying indecent articles;

    (c)whether it has assessed if TELA has adopted objective criteria for determining whether or not to submit the publications which have published the photographs of the above overseas female celebrity for classification; if an assessment has been made, of the results; and

    (d)given that the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance (Cap. 390) stipulates that any person who commits the above offences is liable to a fine of $800,000 and to imprisonment for 12 months on a second or subsequent conviction, whether the Government has examined the definition of "a second or subsequent conviction" referred to in the Ordinance; if it has, of the results of the examination, and whether it has examined if the above record of convictions of the Next Media Limited falls within the circumstances referred to in the definition; if an examination has been made, of the results?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

*9. Hon CHEUNG Hok-ming to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)given that the authorities have required that with effect from August 2004, if public light buses ("PLBs") are equipped with seat belts, passengers are required to wear them, of the number of prosecutions instituted by the authorities up to the present against passengers who contravened such requirement and the penalties imposed on them; and among such cases, of the respective numbers of those uncovered by the police during inspections and those reported by the public; and

    (b)given that many people have related to me that the passenger seat belts currently equipped on PLBs are lap belts, which are not as safe as the body restraining seat belts used in private cars, whether the authorities will review the design of the passenger seat belts on PLBs, in order to provide passengers with better safety protection?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

*10. Dr Hon Joseph LEE Kok-long to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the motion on "Policy on nursing manpower" passed by this Council on 20 June this year, the Government indicates in its progress report on the motion that it will upgrade local nursing education to degree level. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the estimated number of nursing degree graduates from each institution in each of the next three academic years;

    (b)how the proposed upgrading of nursing education to degree level will be implemented, and whether it will provide additional funding so that the University Grants Committee can increase the number of government-funded first-year places for degree programmes on nursing; if it will, of the number of the places concerned in the next three academic years, broken down by institution; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)in relation to the long-term planning for nursing manpower, whether it will amend the Nurses Registration Ordinance (Cap. 164) to prescribe that any person shall meet the qualification requirement for registering as a registered nurse or enrolling as an enrolled nurse only if he or she is a holder of a degree in nursing; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that, and whether it has assessed if the Government has, in not amending the Ordinance, breached its commitment to upgrade local nursing education to degree level; if an assessment has been made, of the results?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective monthly average numbers of incidents, in the past two years, in which fresh water and salt water supplies were suspended because of pipe burst; the public housing estates ("PHEs") particularly affected by such incidents and the reasons for that;

    (b)whether it will take measures to alleviate the inconvenience caused by suspension of fresh water or salt water supply to residents of individual PHEs estates which are particularly affected; and

    (c)of the latest progress of the comprehensive Replacement and Rehabilitation Programme of Water Mains being implemented in phases by the Water Supplies Department?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

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

Recently, many members of the public have reflected to me that quite a number of government-subsidized non-profit-making kindergartens ("subsidized kindergartens") have increased their tuition fees in the current school year. Although starting from the current school year, parents have received fee subsidy through education vouchers, they still find it difficult to afford the high tuition fees, and they also query why these kindergartens have increased their fees. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the names of the subsidized kindergartens which have increased their tuition fees in the current school year, and the rates of such increases;

    (b)whether it knows the reasons why the subsidized kindergartens concerned have increased their tuition fees; and

    (c)whether it will take measures to limit the rates of increase in the tuition fees of subsidized kindergartens; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

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

Regarding the problem of inflation, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)given that the imported foodstuffs of Hong Kong mainly come from the Mainland and, in recent months, both the exchange rate of Renminbi ("RMB") against the Hong Kong dollar ("HKD") and the inflation rate on the Mainland have shown an upward trend, of the authorities' measures to alleviate the problem of imported inflation;

    (b)given that HKD is pegged to the US dollar ("USD"), of the authorities' measures to curb the rise in local inflation rate led by the recent weakening of HKD along with USD; and

    (c)given the Employers' Federation of Hong Kong had proposed to employers early this month that pay rises given to their employees next year should not exceed 2.5%, which is lower than the projected inflation rates of 3% to 4%, and that the pay rises given to the junior level employees are generally lower than those given to the middle and senior level employees, of the authorities' measures to ease the economic pressure brought by inflation on employees at the junior level?
Public Officer to reply : Financial Secretary

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

Will the Government inform this Council of the profits tax income received in each month of the past three tax years?

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

*15. Dr Hon David LI to ask:


The Business Facilitation Advisory Committee ("BFAC") was established in January 2006 to take forward the business facilitation advisory role of the former Economic and Employment Council ("EEC"), which was disbanded in December 2005. Since then, the four Task Forces established by EEC to conduct regulatory reviews on various trades have been reporting to BFAC. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether BFAC and its Task Forces have completed work on the priorities identified by EEC; if not, of the expected time frame for the delivery of a final report on these initiatives and the winding up of its Task Forces;

    (b)of the current mechanism for prioritizing the present and future work of BFAC;

    (c)of the work plan of BFAC for the coming year; and

    (d)whether the Government has assessed if, by implementing the initiatives identified by EEC and BFAC which are aimed at cutting red tape and streamlining procedures, it has made meaningful improvements in efficiency and cost savings in the delivery of government services; if such improvements have been made, whether any personnel in any government department(s) have been re-deployed to other duties as a result?
Public Officer to reply : Financial Secretary

*16. Hon Frederick FUNG to ask:
(Translation)

I have received views from members of the public that the design of old community centres ("CCs") in various districts is relatively outdated (such as the lack of lifts, etc.), failing to meet users' needs and causing inconvenience to toddlers, the elderly and disabled persons. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it has assessed the basic facilities of the above CCs (including examining their usages and target patrons, and comparing them with the current design standards), with a view to providing suitable services according to users' needs; if so, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (b)it will consider implementing improvement works (such as retrofitting lifts, etc.) in old CCs which have a high patronage and are used by toddlers, the elderly and disabled persons?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

*17. Hon TSANG Yok-sing to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that although the School Textbook Assistance Scheme administered by the Student Financial Assistance Agency ("SFAA") provides assistance to needy students for covering the costs of essential textbooks and miscellaneous school-related expenses, many families cannot be benefited because of the relatively stringent assessment criteria and lengthy application procedure. Moreover, SFAA makes assistance payment normally in October after a school year has begun, and the maximum amount of a full grant is only about $2,000, which is insufficient to offset the textbook expenses of around $3,000. As a result, the assistance cannot meet the urgent needs of the parents. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it has plans to review the above assistance scheme (including considering suitably relaxing the assessment standards, increasing the assistance amounts according to the inflation rate, making earlier assistance payment to all eligible applicants, as well as specially expediting the processing of applications from students who were given full grants in the previous year); if it has, of the details of the plans; if not, the reasons for that?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

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

The Education Bureau (formerly the Education and Manpower Bureau) has been promoting the establishment of the Qualifications Framework ("QF") and its associated quality assurance mechanism since 2002. So far, a total of 12 industries have formed their Industry Training Advisory Committees. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the progress of the work to establish QF by the six industries in which relevant pilot studies were conducted in 2003, and whether it has assessed the effectiveness of such work; if it has, of the assessment criteria and results; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)of the difficulties encountered in promoting QF by the industries referred to in item (a) above, and how such difficulties were addressed by the authorities;

    (c)given that QF for the information and communications technology industry will be implemented by phases, which is different from other industries, and those in the industry may not have in-depth knowledge of the relevant details, whether it has organized additional promotion activities to enable more organizations, employers and employees in the industry to know about QF, so as to enhance its acceptance; if it has, of the details and timetable; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (d)whether it has formulated a strategy for promoting QF; if it has, of the details and timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

*19. Hon LAU Kong-wah to ask:
(Translation) Recently, a number of robberies which occurred in various districts are suspected to be committed by illegal entrants ("IEs"). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of crimes suspected to be committed by IEs last year as well as the details of such cases, and how the figure compares with those of the previous two years;

    (b)whether police officers were deployed to regularly patrol rural areas and search for IEs in hiding last year; if so, of the number of IEs arrested; and

    (c)of the districts with relatively more crimes suspected or found to be committed by IEs last year, and whether additional police officers have been deployed to patrol those districts?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

*20. Prof Hon Patrick LAU Sau-shing to ask:
(Translation)

The family tragedy which occurred in Tin Shui Wai recently has aroused public concern about the adequacy of assistance hotlines providing emotional counselling services. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the maximum number of assistance-seeking cases that the existing 24-hour service hotlines can handle at any one time;

    (b)the respective numbers of staff, at different intervals of the day, responsible for answering phone calls on each hotline, and the number of such staff who have received professional training in handling emotional problems (e.g. social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists);

    (c)the respective average daily numbers of assistance-seeking phone calls received by each hotline in the past 12 months, together with a breakdown by intervals; and

    (d)the current respective average daily numbers of assistance-seeking phone calls that each hotline has to transfer to the voice mailbox because all lines are engaged, together with a breakdown by intervals?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

*For written reply.

III. Motions

Proposed resolution under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance

Secretary for Security to move the following motion:


RESOLVED that the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Malaysia) Order, made by the Chief Executive in Council on 8 May 2007, be approved.

(The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters
(Malaysia) Order was issued on 17 May 2007
under LC Paper No. CB(3)588/06-07)

IV. Members' Motions
  1. Facing up to the needs of people with disabilities in using transport

    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung: (Translation)

    That this Council passed motions in the 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 sessions calling for improvement to transport facilities for people with disabilities and offer of concessionary fares to them, but the government departments concerned, some statutory transport corporations and other public transport operators have failed to take corresponding measures and face up to the requests; this Council considers that for many years there is a general consensus in the community that there is a need to offer transport concessions to help people with disabilities to integrate into society and the Government is duty-bound to take the matter forward, this Council is greatly dissatisfied and expresses deep regret that the Government has been procrastinating for years and has not achieved any results so far; moreover, some transport operators have recently proposed that the Government should bear all the deficits or keep all the surpluses arising from the introduction of half-fare concession for people with disabilities, but the Government has been procrastinating on the matter on the ground of financial commitments, which calls into question the Government's sincerity in taking the matter forward; in this connection, this Council reiterates that the Government:

    (a)must put forth, in the near future, specific proposals and timeframe for introducing half-fare concession for people with disabilities, so as to expeditiously facilitate their integration into society and improve their life;

    (b)should allocate additional resources to improve the Rehabus service; and

    (c)should strictly regulate the public transport operators in providing barrier-free facilities, so as to enable more people with disabilities to use transport and integrate into society.

    Amendment to motion
    Hon WONG Kwok-hing:
    (Translation)

    To delete "this Council passed" after "That" and substitute with ", although the Chief Executive, in response to Members' questions during the Legislative Council's Question and Answer Session on the Policy Address on the 11th of this month, said that he would give a response, in one or two months' time, on how the provision of transport half-fare concessions for people with disabilities would be addressed, in view of the past records that despite this Council's passage of"; to delete "but" after "offer of concessionary fares to them,"; to add "all" after "other public transport operators have"; to add ", there are worries about further procrastination by the government departments" after "take corresponding measures and face up to the requests"; to add "after a relevant subcommittee was formed by the Legislative Council and meetings held over the past year or so, coupled with the fact that the Chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission has written to the Chief Executive relaying the demands and justifications in this regard, the solution to this problem has dawned;" after "has not achieved any results so far;"; to delete "Government has been procrastinating on the matter on the ground of financial commitments, which" after "keep all the surpluses arising from the introduction of half-fare concession for people with disabilities, but the" and substitute with "government officials in charge have been procrastinating on putting forward a timetable and roadmap for implementation on the pretext that they have not yet assessed the various options and worked out precisely the financial commitments involved if the relevant option is chosen, which very much"; to add "determination and" after "calls into question the Government's"; to delete "reiterates" after "in this connection, this Council" and substitute with "urges"; to add "(a) must relentlessly shoulder the responsibility to provide financial assistance, regardless of which option of transport half-fare concession it eventually decides to adopt for people with disabilities;" after "that the Government:"; to delete the original "(a)" and substitute with "(b)"; to add "expeditiously" before "put forth"; to delete "timeframe" after "in the near future, specific proposals and" and substitute with "timetable"; to delete "expeditiously facilitate their integration" after "introducing half-fare concession for people with disabilities, so as to" and substitute with "help them integrate"; to delete the original "(b)" and substitute with "(c)"; to add "comprehensively" after "should allocate additional resources to"; to add "and, in particular, must extend such service to remote areas and new towns" after "improve the Rehabus service"; to delete the original "(c)" and substitute with "(d)"; and to add "public" after "providing barrier-free facilities, so as to enable more people with disabilities to use".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

  2. Alleviating the disparity between the rich and the poor and re-establishing the Commission on Poverty

    Hon Frederick FUNG: (Translation)

    That, as the disparity between the rich and the poor is becoming more serious in Hong Kong, this Council urges the Government to re-establish the Commission on Poverty and formulate a more comprehensive policy on combating poverty so as to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, thereby improving the life of the poor, reducing social conflicts and promoting harmonious social development.

    Amendments to motion
    (i)Hon LI Kwok-ying: (Translation)

    To add "the Chief Executive has advocated 'investing for a caring society' in this year's Policy Address and has correspondingly put forward improvement measures, but" after "That,"; to add "the relevant measures are inadequate to resolve the problems," after "more serious in Hong Kong,"; to add "take positive actions and, when necessary," after "urges the Government to"; to delete "and" after "the Commission on Poverty" and substitute with ", so as to"; to delete "so as to" after "policy on combating poverty" and substitute with "," ; to delete "thereby improving" after "the rich and the poor," and substitute with "improve"; to delete "reducing" after "the life of the poor," and substitute with "reduce"; to delete "promoting" after "social conflicts and" and substitute with "promote"; and to add "; meanwhile, this Council also urges the Government to implement the following measures: (a) abolishing the restrictions on the permitted period of absence from Hong Kong for applicants of the Old Age Allowance; (b) extending the period during which the On-the-job Training Allowance is payable under the Employment Programme for the Middle-aged; (c) providing concessionary transport fares for persons with disabilities; (d) allocating additional resources to assist poor children so that they can enjoy more opportunities for proper development; (e) formulating measures to facilitate the integration of the socially disadvantaged (such as the new arrivals and ethnic minorities, etc) into the community; and (f) further improving the quality of public medical services, and alleviating the medical burden on the socially disadvantaged" immediately before the full stop.

    (ii)Hon LEUNG Kwok-hung: (Translation)

    To delete "re-establish the" after "urges the Government to" and substitute with "establish a"; to delete "and formulate" after "Commission on Poverty" and substitute with "with substantive powers so that"; and to add "can be formulated, including introducing a progressive tax system for wealth redistribution," after "policy on combating poverty".

    Amendment to Hon LEUNG Kwok-hung's amendment
    Hon SIN Chung-kai:
    (Translation)

    To delete "including introducing a progressive tax system for wealth redistribution" after "can be formulated," and substitute with "and the Government should also introduce progressive rates of profits tax and rates charges, and abolish the standard rate for salaries tax".

    (iii)Dr Hon Fernando CHEUNG: (Translation)

    To add "and targeted" after "more comprehensive"; to delete "so as to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor" after "policy on combating poverty" and substitute with ", particularly in remote areas where a large number of low-income and socially disadvantaged families live, but the leisure and cultural facilities, medical and social services fall far short of the actual needs of the residents; as such, the Government must take into full account the characteristics of the population structures in these areas when allocating community facilities and services, appropriately relax the ratio of population to such facilities and services, and providing strategic and more specialized support services targeted at socially disadvantaged families such as those which are single-parent, poor, under the potential threat of domestic violence, or having family members who are mentally or chronically ill or disabled, including the reopening of Single Parent Centres and Post Migration Centres in the districts concerned"; to delete ", reducing" after "the life of the poor" and substitute with "; at the same time, the Government should strive to create more employment opportunities in these areas, and relax the eligibility criteria for applying for the pilot Transport Support Scheme, so as to alleviate the burden of travelling expenses on the residents concerned, narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, reduce"; and to delete "promoting" after "social conflicts and" and substitute with "promote".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

Clerk to the Legislative Council