Council Meeting (Agenda) 7 January 2009



A 08/09-13

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 7 January 2009 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.
1.Admission and Registration (Amendment) Rules 2008277/2008
2.Legal Practitioners (Risk Management Education)(Amendment) Rules 2008278/2008
3.Employees Retraining Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 2) (No. 3) Notice 2008279/2008
4.Domicile Ordinance (Commencement) Notice280/2008
5.Pawnbrokers Ordinance (Amendment of Schedules) Order 20091/2009
6.Tax Reserve Certificates (Rate of Interest) Notice 20092/2009
7.Fugitive Offenders (Ireland) Order (Commencement) Notice3/2009

Other Paper

No. 53-The Audited Financial Statements together with the Report of the Director of Audit on the Immigration Service Welfare Fund and the Report by the Director of Immigration Incorporated on the Administration of the Fund
(to be presented by the Secretary for Security)

II. Questions

1. Hon IP Kwok-him to ask:
(Translation)

A green group has found that as most of the 1 300 wall bracket-mounted street lights installed on the external walls of buildings are close to the windows of residential flats, they seriously affect the quality of sleep of the residents concerned. Furthermore, the Highways Department indicated in December last year that with the completion of energy saving pilot schemes, it planned to install, in the next four years, dimmable electronic ballasts in order to save energy, in conjunction with the replacement of 12 000 street lights with new lighting installations. Regarding the problem of light pollution, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it will phase out wall bracket-mounted street lights; if so, of the relevant timetable; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)of the specific reasons why four years is needed to complete the installation of dimmable electronic ballasts for 12 000 street lights; and

    (c)as there have been comments that the light pollution problem in Hong Kong is becoming more serious and, in addition to street lights, there are light pollution sources such as advertisement signboards and large outdoor television screens, whether the Government will formulate long-term policies to solve the light pollution problem; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officers to reply:Secretary for Transport and Housing
Secretary for the Environment

2. Hon CHAN Hak-kan to ask: (Translation)

Some young applicants of public rental housing ("PRH") have relayed to me that since the implementation of the Quota and Points System ("QPS") for non-elderly one-person applicants of PRH by the Hong Kong Housing Authority in 2005, their waiting time for PRH units has become longer and their chances of being allocated PRH units have been reduced. Under QPS, the allocation of PRH units is prioritized according to the age of the applicants, whether they are PRH tenants and how long they have been on the Waiting List. These young applicants have also pointed out that the Waiting List income and asset limits are too low, which covertly discourages them from saving and owning assets while waiting for the allocation of PRH units. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the average and the longest cumulative waiting time of non-elderly one-person applicants currently on the PRH Waiting List, broken down by age groups each covering 10 years;

    (b)whether it will consider building more one-person PRH units to cope with the demand; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that, and whether the Government will introduce other measures to assist such young people, who have housing needs; and

    (c)whether the authorities will consider raising the above income and asset limits?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

3. Ir Dr Hon Raymond HO to ask:
(Translation)

In August last year, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Guangdong Provincial Government agreed to jointly map out a strategy to transform "the Greater Pearl River Delta Region into a green quality living sphere" on the basis of environmental protection and sustainable development. To this end, the mode of cooperation between Guangdong and Hong Kong on environmental protection will be changed from focusing on collaboration in individual projects in the past to regional environmental cooperation. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the specific differences between the old and new modes of cooperation between Guangdong and Hong Kong on environmental protection;

    (b)of the details of the areas which will be covered by regional environmental cooperation; and

    (c)what Hong Kong's role in regional environmental cooperation will be?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

4. Hon Tanya CHAN to ask:
(Translation)

At present, more than 500 trees in Hong Kong with cultural, historic or conservation value have been included in the Register of Old and Valuable Trees. However, no specific legislation has been enacted for the conservation of trees in Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether presently, there is any conservation plan specifically made for the Register of Old and Valuable Trees to ensure the preservation and healthy growth of the trees listed therein; if so, of the details of the plan, and whether the Government will review the plan; if there is no such plan, whether the Government will consider initiating the relevant study and work out a conservation plan in the near future;

    (b)whether presently, it has plans to introduce specific legislation for caring trees; if so, of the details and present progress of such work; if not, whether the Government will initiate the relevant study in the near future; if it will not, of the reasons for that; and

    (c)what measures are presently adopted by the Government to ensure that trees with conservation value (such as the wall trees in the Wan Chai and Central & Western districts, as well as the trees outside the country parks in the rural areas of the New Territories) will not be felled indiscriminately?
Public Officers to reply:Secretary for Development
Secretary for Home Affairs

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

At present, all construction workers carrying out construction works on construction sites must be registered workers. When the relevant provisions of the Construction Workers Registration Ordinance are implemented in future, certain works may be carried out only by registered skilled workers for the relevant designated trades. To facilitate the implementation of the Ordinance, the Construction Workers Registration Authority ("CWRA") has been registering construction workers since the end of 2005. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the causes for the situation that among the 230 000 registered workers as at the end of March last year, only about 80 000 (i.e, about one-third of them) were registered skilled workers;

    (b)what measures are in place to assist registered general workers and registered semi-skilled workers in acquiring the required qualifications in order to be registered as skilled workers; and

    (c)given that the registration cards of construction workers have been expiring one after another since the beginning of this month, and that quite a number of workers have indicated that they are unaware of the renewal procedure for their registration cards, whether CWRA will step up relevant publicity to remind the workers to renew their registration cards before expiry; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

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

It has been reported that vegetables not originating from farms or collection stations registered for supplying vegetables to Hong Kong, as well as uninspected chilled chickens, other types of meat and hairy crabs are being smuggled from the Mainland into Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has investigated if activities of merchants smuggling food from the Mainland into Hong Kong by such ways as using labels with false information on the source of vegetables and hiding chilled chickens in vegetables are rampant;

    (b)whether it will enhance the coordination with vegetable traders in Hong Kong, in order to eradicate the smuggling of vegetables from the Mainland; and

    (c)in view of the above smuggling activities, what new measures are in place to eradicate the problem of smuggling food into Hong Kong and selling smuggled food in the market, including whether it will enhance communication with the relevant mainland authorities, and step up the works of border inspection as well as inspection of retail outlets?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

Regarding the situation of rent arrears among public rental housing ("PRH") tenants, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the monthly rent arrears rate (in terms of the amount of rent arrears), the monthly number of PRH tenants with rent arrears, the annual number of notices-to-quit issued by the authorities to tenants on grounds of rent arrears as well as the annual number of PRH units recovered, in the past three years, together with a breakdown of such figures by whether tenants concerned were recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance; and

    (b)given the recent economic downturn of Hong Kong, whether the situation of rent arrears among PRH tenants has deteriorated; if so, of the measures in place to assist such tenants?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

*8. Prof Hon Patrick LAU to ask:
(Translation)

The Civil Engineering and Development Department will soon commence works to install a supplementary radar and an equipment room on the rooftop of the North Point Government Offices ("NPGO") to enable the Marine Department to keep surveillance of the sea conditions. Given the huge size of the facilities (three to five metres wide and some 10 metres high) and that they will be located right in front of the rooms, which have seaview, on the top three floors of a nearby hotel, concerns and objections have been raised by the affected parties in the vicinity. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether, prior to deciding to provide such facilities, it had thoroughly consulted the management of the hotel concerned as well as the people who live or work in the neighbourhood, and disclosed to them, the Town Planning Board and the Eastern District Council the actual size of the facilities, their visual impact and the possible effect of the radiation released on a person's health; if it had not, of the reasons for that;

    (b)of the population within 500 metres of NPGO; whether similar facilities in Hong Kong are all located far away from residential buildings and at least 200 metres away from commercial buildings, and which of these facilities were installed before 1997;

    (c)whether, prior to deciding to provide the above facilities, it had made reference to examples of similar large-scale facilities installed on the rooftop of commercial or residential buildings in other developed regions; if so, of the details; if not, whether the reason of not making reference is that Hong Kong is the first international city which will have such large-scale radar facilities installed in such a location;

    (d)whether the authorities have conducted risk assessments on the installation of such facilities, as well as formulated close surveillance procedure and contingency measures in the event of radar system failure; if so, of the details;

    (e)whether it has compared the selected location and radiation level of the above facilities against the safety standards recommended by the World Health Organization ("WHO"), and conducted public consultation in accordance with the procedure recommended by WHO; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (f)whether it has considered installing the above facilities at locations far away from the densely populated urban areas, and conducted feasibility studies in this regard; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (g)whether it has assessed if international criticism and radical protesting actions will be aroused, and if both the international image of Hong Kong and the image of the Government will be tarnished, should the Government insist on its original plan to install such facilities; if it has not conducted such an assessment, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

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

According to existing legislation, a permanent resident of Hong Kong holding an identity document and ordinarily residing in Hong Kong was eligible to be registered as an elector and to vote in the Legislative Council election held on 7 September last year only if he had reached 18 years of age on or before 25 July last year (which was also the statutory deadline for publishing the final register for last year). Persons who reached 18 years of age during the period from 26 July to the election day were therefore unable to exercise their voting right in the election. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the estimated number of aforesaid persons who were unable to exercise their voting right in last year's election;

    (b)whether the authorities will, in future, consider making other arrangements for persons under similar circumstances, so as to enable them to exercise their voting right; if not, of the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it has assessed if the arrangement, which had rendered the above persons unable to exercise their voting right, has violated the provisions of the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (Cap. 383); if the assessment result is in the affirmative, of the remedial measures; if the assessment result is in the negative, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs

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

Regarding the property development projects at the TW5, TW6 and TW7 sites at the West Rail Tsuen Wan West Station which are under planning by the MTR Corporation Limited ("MTRCL"), will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the updated details of the above development projects, including the numbers of blocks to be built, their height, orientation and disposition, the numbers of floors, level of podiums and numbers of residential flats of the proposed buildings, the numbers and width of breezeways, the respective residential and non-residential gross floor areas, together with the permitted site-coverage percentages and the plot ratios of these development projects;

    (b)whether it knows if MTRCL has carried out air ventilation assessments for the above development projects; if so, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that;

    (c)as the Government announced in November last year the lowering of the development densities of the above-station property development projects at the Nam Cheong Station and the Yuen Long Station of the West Rail, whether the primary considerations in reaching such a decision are also applicable to the above-station development projects at the Tsuen Wan West Station; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (d)among the above development projects, whether it has plans to lower the development densities of those which have not yet been put to tender, so as to improve the air ventilation and the living environment in the district; if so, of the details of such plans; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

*11. Dr Hon Priscilla LEUNG to ask:
(Translation)

With the joint effort of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, the Chinese Ministry of Culture, in September last year, applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for the inscription of Cantonese opera onto the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity ("the inscription"). Furthermore, as an agreement on tenancy renewal has yet to be reached between the tenant and landlord of the Sunbeam Theatre in North Point, this large-scale performance venue for Cantonese opera may soon disappear. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the current policies to support the work of inscription by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, and to facilitate the sustainable development of Cantonese opera;

    (b)whether it will consider proposing options to the landlord and tenant concerned in respect of tenancy renewal for the Sunbeam Theatre, so as to preserve this performance venue for Cantonese opera with historic value; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (c)whether it will consider converting the Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market into a world-class large-scale Cantonese opera theatre, as well as converting the Yau Ma Tei Theatre into an academy of Cantonese opera, so as to nurture professionals and talents in the field; if not, of the reasons for that; and

    (d)given that many amateur artists and audience of Cantonese opera gather around Temple Street and the "Banyan Tree" in Yau Ma Tei, whether the Government will study the adoption of a targeted approach to promote and develop the culture of Cantonese opera in the area; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

*12. Hon LEUNG Kwok-hung to ask:
(Translation)

I have received complaints from the residents of Ma Shi Po Village in Fanling, pointing out that as soon as some developers knew, during the Government's commencement of the North East New Territories New Development Areas ("NDAs") Planning and Engineering Study, that the Government would consider adopting a public-private partnership approach for this development plan, they began to acquire land in the areas concerned. As land acquisition was carried out by private developers, the residents affected (most of them being elderly persons) could only apply for public rental housing ("PRH") units on their own. At present, there are still more than 20 households which have not yet been allocated PRH units, and there are some others which have been allocated units in unfamiliar districts which are far away from where they currently reside, such as Tuen Mun and Tin Shui Wai. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it will arrange for the residents affected by the above development plan to be rehoused in-situ in PRH units; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (b)of the number of the residents who will be affected by the above development plan and, among them, the respective numbers of residential premises situated within the areas of government land and private land;

    (c)whether it will include the rehousing needs of the affected residents in the study for the above development plan; if not, of the reasons for that; and

    (d)whether it will review the rehousing policy applicable to residents affected by land acquisition by private developers (especially for the development projects which involve public-private partnership); if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

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

It was reported that within one day on 10 December last year three buses caught fire or emitted smoke while in motion and such a situation has given rise to public concern. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of accidents of buses catching fire in each of the past five years and their respective causes;

    (b)whether it has recently discussed with franchised bus companies how to step up regular maintenance and inspection of buses, with a view to reducing accidents of buses catching fire;

    (c)whether it knows the respective numbers of buses in the existing fleets of Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited, Citybus Limited and New World First Bus Services Limited, together with a breakdown of these buses by their age (under three years, three to under six years, six to under 10 years, and over 10 years) and their respective percentages; and

    (d)whether it knows the details of the bus replacement programmes of the above franchised bus companies for the next five years; and whether it will urge franchised bus companies to make reference to the practice in some European countries and install automatic foam fire extinguishing systems on buses, so as to strengthen the protection for passengers' safety?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

*14. Hon Paul TSE to ask:
(Translation)

As the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter is a popular tourist attraction, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the number of tourists who took sampan rides for sightseeing at the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter in each of the past three years;

    (b)of the existing measures and plans to preserve the scenic attractions with traditional features at the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter and to keep the sea in the area clean; and

    (c)whether it will provide additional facilities at the Aberdeen Promenade, such as building a cover for and providing seats at the pier, so that tourists will not be tormented by the scorching sun and lashing rain while waiting to board the vessels; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

*15. Dr Hon LAM Tai-fai to ask:
(Translation)

In reply to my question on 3 December last year, the Government said that the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation ("ECIC") had compiled a list of credit risk ratings on different countries or markets, of which they were classified into four grades from A to D (A being the highest rating), and the list was an internal document solely for use in the assessment of credit risks involved in insurance policies, and thus releasing such information to the public would have an impact on ECIC's competitiveness in the market, and as a general practice, other insurance companies would not make public their lists either. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the number of countries or markets in each of the grades and the total insured business paid, set out in a table, for each of the grades last year;

    (b)given that quite a number of small and medium enterprise ("SME") operators have relayed to me that in the absence of information on credit risk ratings assigned to different countries or markets by ECIC, they are concerned about making wrong investment choices, whether ECIC will make public the above list to address the SMEs' concern; if it will not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)as ECIC, being a public organization wholly-owned by the Government, has all its contingent liability guaranteed and undertaken by the latter, why ECIC is concerned about its competitiveness in the market, who its competitors are, as well as the justifications for it to make reference to the practice of private insurance companies and not to make public the aforesaid list?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

*16. Hon Cyd HO to ask:
(Translation)

According to the Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance (Cap. 174), save for a permit for the removal and burial of a dead body ("permit") issued by an officer in charge of a police station, no person shall remove any dead body before the issuance of a certificate of registration of death ("death certificate"). It is learnt that owing to certain religious reasons, some members of the public wish to transfer from hospitals the dead bodies of their relatives, right after the deaths of the latter due to illness, to funeral parlours for conducting religious funeral ceremonies thereat. However, when their relatives' deaths fall outside the office hours of the Deaths Registry, they will have to wait until the following day to apply for death certificates. On the other hand, if the deceased persons are not Muslims, the Police will refuse to issue a permit. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the details of the guidelines for the Police to issue permits;

    (b)whether the Police will approve the applications for permits submitted on religious grounds in respect of deceased persons who are not Muslims; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (c)of the respective numbers of applications for permits which were received, approved and rejected by the Police last year, with a breakdown of the applications concerned by the reason for rejection; and

    (d)whether the authorities will consider authorizing, apart from an officer in charge of a police station, officers in charge of a hospital to issue such permits, so as to enable the relatives of the deceased to obtain the dead bodies directly from hospitals for conducting funeral ceremonies, as well as to reduce the demand for dead bodies storage facilities in mortuaries?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

*17. Hon KAM Nai-wai to ask:
(Translation)

Some residents of Taikoo Shing Phase 5 ("TKS5") have told me that when they purchased their existing units, there were only open space and non-restaurant shops on the podium of the estate. The lease of the land concerned also contained provisions on "restrictions on such operations as food supply and lodging house" in the estate, but the leaseholder could be exempted from the restriction of the provisions concerned temporarily after obtaining a waiver from the Lands Department. As the developer of the estate has planned to convert the open space and shops on the podium of TKS5 into restaurants, the residents are worried that the developer will further develop the podium into a restaurant zone, so as to attract customers from the nearby One Island East and outside the estate, and thus may have negative impact on the environmental hygiene and the health of the residents of the estate, as well as on the community as a whole. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the Government has received complaints from the residents about the restaurants in the estate in the past two years; if so, of the number and contents of the complaints;

    (b)of the current land use and restrictions stipulated for the podiums of the estate, and whether restaurants are permitted on the podiums; if so, of the permissible number of restaurants and their total area;

    (c)of the progress of the application by the developer for a waiver to temporarily relax the restrictions in the lease of land concerned and the Government's procedure for handling the application;

    (d)given that more than 1 000 residents of the estate have signed a petition against the application, whether the Government will reject the application on the basis of the residents' views;

    (e)of the gross floor area of One Island East and its usage distribution, and among them, of the respective areas for which applications for providing restaurants and clubs had been submitted and approved;

    (f)of the number of applications received for providing restaurants in One Island East so far and the progress of such applications; and

    (g)how the Government will safeguard the interests of the residents of private housing estates in the light of the above case and prevent developers from converting the open space and shops on the podiums of the estates concerned into restaurants after selling the residential units?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

*18. Hon CHEUNG Kwok-che to ask:
(Translation)

The CEASE Crisis Centre, which is a crisis intervention and support centre operating on a pilot basis commissioned by the Social Welfare Department, provides crisis support and shelter service for victims of domestic violence or sexual violence. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the respective numbers of cases involving domestic violence and sexual violence received by the Centre since commencement of services in March 2007, and in respect of each category:

    (i)the respective quarterly numbers of cases broken down by gender and age, type of referring agents and the type of violence;

    (ii)the quarterly numbers of victims who received outreaching service; and

    (iii)the quarterly numbers of victims who were offered accommodation;

    (b)as the Labour and Welfare Bureau stated in its paper submitted to the Panel on Welfare Services of this Council in October last year that the services of the Centre "have proven to be essential, and the mode of delivery was considered effective", of the justifications for such a statement; and

    (c)whether it will study the effectiveness of the services provided by the Centre; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

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

When this Council resumed the Second Reading debate on the Rail Merger Bill on 6 June 2007, the then Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works said that after the rail merger, the MTR Corporation Limited ("MTRCL") would maintain the East Rail Line Monthly Pass, West Rail Line Monthly Pass and West Rail Line Day Pass concessionary schemes until June this year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the respective monthly average numbers of passengers who benefited from the above three concessionary schemes since their launch; and

    (b)if MTRCL will extend the above concessionary schemes; if it will, of the details; if not, whether MTRCL will offer new concessions?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

In June last year, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conversation Department ("AFCD") diverted or permanently closed the Keung Shan Country Trail, Nei Lak Shan Country Trail, Shek Pik Country Trail and Section 4 of the Lantau Trail, which had been damaged by landslides. Regarding the repair and maintenance of country trails and hiking trails, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it will repair the above trails expeditiously; if it will, of the details; if not, whether it has plans to construct alternative hiking trails; if it has, of the details of the plans; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)whether, upon confirming that the above trails cannot be repaired, the Lands Department will update the rural maps published by its Survey and Mapping Office expeditiously besides publication of notices by AFCD, so as to avoid endangering hikers who enter those trails mistakenly; if it will, of the details; and

    (c)apart from the above permanently closed trails, which country trails, hiking trails and other trails in various country parks under AFCD are permanently closed at present because of landslides or other reasons; whether it has evaluated the possibility of repairing such trails; if it has, of the evaluation results; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

*For written reply.

III. Motions

Proposed resolution under the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance

The Chief Secretary for Administration to move the following motion:


RESOLVED that the appointment of -

(a)Mr Murray Gleeson;

(b)the Right Honourable The Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe; and

(c)the Right Honourable The Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury,

as judges of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal from other common law jurisdictions pursuant to section 9 of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance (Cap. 484) be endorsed.

IV. Members' Motions
  1. Motion for the adjournment of the Council

    Hon LEUNG Kwok-hung: (Translation)

    That this Council do now adjourn for the purpose of debating the following issue: The Israeli Government's attack on the Gaza Strip.

  2. Air pollution and public health

    Hon KAM Nai-wai: (Translation)

    That air pollution in Hong Kong has been worsening in recent years, posing an increasing threat to people's health, but the Government still uses the first stage objectives of the World Health Organization ("WHO") as the goals of the reform in its recent review of Air Quality Objectives, this Council expresses disappointment at this; quite a number of overseas studies nowadays have proved that serious air pollution will increase death rates as well as direct and indirect medical costs, and result in a loss in productivity, in this connection, this Council urges the Government to:

    (a)establish a "smog alarm system" and formulate guidelines and corresponding measures for the alarm system, so as to enable the public to know more about the impact of air pollution on health;

    (b)adopt the latest objectives of WHO as the benchmark for formulating measures to improve air pollution, evaluate the effectiveness of each of these measures in improving public health, and set improving public health as the primary policy objective in addressing the problem of air pollution;

    (c)conduct a long-term tracking study to accurately calculate the loss of life expectancy in the territory resulting from air pollution, as well as the impact of air pollution on the health of people of different ages (including the elderly and children) and on those suffering from various forms of respiratory illnesses and cardiovascular diseases in the territory, so as to provide reference data for formulating long-term policies; and provide financial support to those academic institutions and non-profit-making bodies which are interested in conducting the above study;

    (d)in conducting the review of Air Quality Objectives, entrust the Food and Health Bureau with the responsibility of assessing whether the intended benefits to public health as a result of the implementation of new Air Quality Objectives have been achieved and, based on the assessment results, formulate the guiding framework, timetable and corresponding air quality improvement measures for implementing the new Air Quality Objectives;

    (e)continue to implement measures to regulate the emission standards of vehicles in areas with busy traffic, develop footbridge networks and encourage the public to use mass transit systems;

    (f)improve the subsidy scheme for owners of commercial diesel vehicles to replace such vehicles with new ones and attract more owners to participate in the scheme, as well as expand the subsidy scheme to cover franchised buses; and

    (g)gradually implement the mandatory Building Energy Codes and mandatory energy efficiency labelling for electrical appliances, and expeditiously set the caps on the emissions of air pollutants from power companies for the next stage, so as to reduce pollution caused by generation of electricity.

    Amendments to the motion
    (i)Hon CHAN Hak-kan: (Translation)

    To delete "air pollution in Hong Kong has been worsening in recent years" after "That" and substitute with "there is no marked improvement in the air quality in the Pearl River Delta Region"; to add "Hong Kong" after "posing an increasing threat to"; to add "local and" after "quite a number of"; to delete "and" after "franchised buses;"; and to add "; and (h) expeditiously discuss with the Guangdong Provincial Government the post-2010 cross-boundary cooperation plan between Hong Kong and the Mainland for improving air quality" immediately before the full stop.

    (ii)Hon Audrey EU: (Translation)

    To add "in facing the worsening of" after "That"; to delete "has been worsening" after "air pollution in Hong Kong"; to delete "disappointment at this;" after "this Council expresses" and substitute with "regret at this; meanwhile, this Council notes that"; to delete "studies nowadays" after "quite a number of overseas" and substitute with "and local studies"; to delete "as well as" after "attract more owners to participate in the scheme,"; to delete "; and" after "franchised buses" and substitute with ", and implement appropriate policies and measures to encourage owners of private cars to use cleaner cars;"; to delete "gradually" after "(g)" and substitute with "expeditiously"; and to add "; (h) expeditiously formulate a timetable and an action plan for achieving the target of raising the proportion of electricity generated by natural gas to 50%; and (i) strengthen cooperation with Guangdong Province in drawing up the post-2010 emission reduction targets to further improve the air quality in the Pearl River Delta Region" immediately before the full stop.

    (iii)Hon LEE Wing-tat: (Translation)

    To delete "and" after "franchised buses;"; and to add "; (h) relocate the sources of air pollution (e.g. concrete plants) which are adjacent to residential areas, so as to reduce the impact of pollutants on the health of the residents nearby; and (i) step up tree-planting and greening efforts on roads and in high-rise buildings, and introduce more greening concepts into the procedures for renewal of old districts and construction of new roads" immediately before the full stop.

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for the Environment

  3. Public consultation on 2012 constitutional development

    Dr Hon Margaret NG:

    That, this Council demands that when the Chief Executive draws up proposals for reform of the method of election of the Chief Executive and election of the Legislative Council for public consultation early this year as he has pledged in his Policy Address, the Chief Executive will make clear that functional constituencies are to be abolished and he will ensure that such proposals lead:

    (a)for the method of election of the Chief Executive, to a nomination process which is open and in accordance with Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR"); and

    (b)for election of the Legislative Council, to the abolition of functional constituencies and to election by universal and equal suffrage and in accordance with Article 25 of ICCPR.

    Amendments to the motion
    (i)Hon Abraham SHEK:

    To add "in 2012" after "and election of the Legislative Council"; to delete "early this year" after "public consultation" and substitute with "during the first half of 2009"; to delete "functional constituencies are to be abolished and" after "clear that"; to delete "lead" after "such proposals" and substitute with "will be conducive to achieving the objective of promoting democracy, and that"; to delete "the method of" after "(a) for" and substitute with "implementing the"; to delete ", to a nomination process which is open and in accordance with Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR")" before "; and" and substitute with "by universal suffrage, a nominating committee has to be formed in 2017 in accordance with Article 45 of the Basic Law to nominate a certain number of candidates according to democratic procedures, and the Chief Executive will be returned by all registered electors on a "one-person-one-vote" basis, so as to comply with the principle of universal and equal suffrage"; to add "implementing the" after "(b) for"; and to delete ", to the abolition of functional constituencies and to election by universal and equal suffrage and in accordance with Article 25 of ICCPR" immediately before the full stop and substitute with "by universal suffrage, gradual and orderly progress should be made in developing democracy in accordance with Article 68 of the Basic Law, and all the members of the Legislative Council will be elected by universal suffrage in 2020, so as to comply with the principle of universal and equal suffrage".

    (ii)Hon CHEUNG Kwok-che:

    To add "all" after "clear that"; and to add "in one go" after "abolished".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs

Clerk to the Legislative Council