Council Meeting (Agenda) 4 February 2009



A 08/09-16

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 4 February 2009 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.
1.Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulation 20099/2009
2.Public Health and Municipal Services (Setting Aside Places for Use as Public Pleasure Grounds) Order 200910/2009
3.Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Amendment of Fourth Schedule) Order 200911/2009
4.Ferry Services (The "Star" Ferry Company, Limited) (Determination of Fares) (Amendment) Order 200912/2009
5.Import and Export (General) Regulations (Amendment of Seventh Schedule) Notice 200913/2009
6.Antibiotics (Amendment) Regulation 200914/2009
7.Dangerous Drugs Ordinance (Amendment of Second Schedule) Order 200915/2009
8.Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Fees (Amendment) Rules 200916/2009
9.District Court Civil Procedure (Fees) (Amendment) Rules 200917/2009
10.Civil Justice (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2008 (Commencement) Notice18/2009
11.Tax Reserve Certificates (Rate of Interest) (No. 2) Notice 200919/2009

II. Questions

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

In line with the mechanism stipulated in the Lump Sum Grant Manual, the Social Welfare Department ("SWD") allocated, in accordance with the 2008-2009 civil service pay adjustment rates, supplementary subvention to subvented non-governmental organizations ("NGOs") in September last year, and informed the NGOs concerned that the allocation aimed to be spent on adjusting the pay of their staff. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows the respective numbers of NGOs which have not adjusted the pay of their staff in accordance with the relevant rates of pay adjustment for the civil servants of comparable ranks, NGOs which have not applied the pay adjustments retrospectively from 1 April last year, and NGOs which have not offered back pay to former staff who left the service after 1 April last year in respect of the period between 1 April and the end of the employment; and

    (b)it will request those NGOs not having adjusted the pay of their staff in accordance with the rates of pay adjustments for the civil service to return the balance of the allocation; if it will, of the details; if not, whether there is any measure to penalise such organizations; if there is not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

2. Hon Mrs Regina IP to ask:
(Translation)

The Civil Service Regulations stipulate that as the employer, the Government will make every endeavour to give civil servants, retired civil servants, and their eligible dependants "the best available medical attendance and treatment" ("civil service medical benefits"), including services of the Hospital Authority ("HA"). Yet, a number of civil servant organizations have relayed to me that there is a huge gap between the actual situation and the Government's pledge, and encountering difficulties in seeking medical consultation and obtaining drugs is a common phenomenon. For example, there is an acute shortage of the services provided by families clinics, rendering it very difficult to book consultation slots; the waiting time for specialist out-patient services is too long; potent but expensive drugs with little side effect have to be purchased at the patient's own expenses; and the procedure for claiming reimbursement of medical expenses are complicated. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the expenditure on civil service medical benefits and the year-on-year percentage changes in each of the past five financial years;

    (b)of the amount and percentage of the provision for HA in 2007-2008 allocated for providing civil service medical benefits, and the basis used by the authorities in determining the amount; and

    (c)as the healthcare reform consultation document did not mention civil service medical benefits, when and how the Government plans to commence the relevant consultation, and what specific new measures are in place to improve civil service medical benefits?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Civil Service

3. Dr Hon PAN Pey-chyou to ask:
(Translation)

Earlier on, a family tragedy occurred which involved a woman who had just left a psychiatric hospital to convalesce at home. She was suspected to have committed suicide and died after killing her son and daughter. It has been reported that similar tragedies occurred time and again in recent years. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of cases in the past five years of mental and ex-mental patients inflicting harm on themselves and/or other people while such patients were taking leave from hospital to stay at home or at the initial stage of their return to community, as well as the trend of such data;

    (b)what support the Government and Hospital Authority currently provide specifically for mental and ex-mental patients who will soon be discharged and those who have just been discharged, as well as for their families, so as to reduce the pressure they are facing and occurrence of incidents involving casualties; and

    (c)as the authorities have indicated that the Working Group on Mental Health Services chaired by the Secretary for Food and Health will work on the formulation of an appropriate framework for developing mental health services and identify key areas for priority action, of the latest progress of such tasks, and whether the Working Group has, since its establishment, reviewed if the existing support services for the families of mental patients are adequate and able to meet their needs?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

4. Hon Jeffrey LAM to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the provisional taxes for the current year of assessment, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of applications, received by the Inland Revenue Department ("IRD") up to the end of last month, for holding over the provisional salaries tax and profits tax for the current year of assessment, and the increase in numbers of applications as compared with those of the same period last year; the ultimate number of applications to be received, the total amount of provisional tax involved in the approved applications, and the impact on the overall financial situation of the Government, as anticipated by IRD;

    (b)of the respective total amounts of provisional salaries tax and profits tax for the current year of assessment involved in the applications so far received by IRD for holding over such taxes; and among these applications, the respective largest amounts of provisional salaries tax and profits tax involved, the occupation and trade to which the applicants concerned respectively belong, and according to IRD's estimations based on the information submitted by them, the respective reductions (compared with those of last year), in terms of amounts and percentages, in the annual income and profits earned by them; and

    (c)what new measures are in place to help relieve the burden of tax on the employees and companies with diminished income and profits, such as whether it will allow companies with fewer profits made to defer the payment of profits tax for one year or reduce the tax rate concerned, so that they could have more operating capital?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

5. Hon Fred LI to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the Advertising Standards Authority ("ASA") of the United Kingdom adjudicated last month that the claim made in an advertisement for a famous brand of skin product that users would "start to see wrinkles disappear instantly" was unsubstantiated and was likely to mislead. ASA also adjudicated in January 2007 that the claim made in an advertisement for a brand of toothpaste that "more than 80% of dentists recommend" the toothpaste was misleading. Both sellers were requested to stop making such relevant claims. On the other hand, similar claims are often found in advertisements in Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the existing measures in place to monitor the contents of advertisements to prevent product sellers from making misleading statements or misrepresentations in advertisements;

    (b)of the number of sellers prosecuted in each of the past three years for making misleading statements or misrepresentations in product advertisements; and

    (c)as the report on "Fairness in the Marketplace for Consumers and Business", published by the Consumer Council in February last year, recommends the introduction of a comprehensive trade practices statute in Hong Kong to prohibit retailers from using unfair trade practices in selling various types of goods and services, and to impose administrative and civil sanctions on the offenders, whether the Government has plans to introduce a comprehensive trade practices statute as recommended; if it has, of the relevant timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

6. Hon Miriam LAU to ask:
(Translation)

The Government is pressing ahead with the expeditious commencement of cross-boundary transport infrastructure projects such as the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point and, upon their commissioning, cross-boundary passenger and freight transport will be more convenient. Yet, the Review of the Use of Cross-boundary Ferry Terminals Report, which was released in May last year, had not assessed the impact of the commissioning of these infrastructure facilities on cross-boundary ferry services and only made a forecast of the demand for cross-boundary ferry services up to 2012. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of passengers of each of the cross-boundary ferry routes to and from the ports of Macao and the Mainland in the past five years, as well as the respective routes with the highest percentage of increase and decrease in the numbers of passengers during the period, and whether it has examined the relevant causes for such increase and decrease;

    (b)when it will conduct an assessment of the impact of the commissioning of the aforesaid cross-boundary transport infrastructure facilities from 2014 onwards on the demand for cross-boundary ferry services; and

    (c)given the increasingly convenient cross-boundary land transport, what long-term plans are in place to assist cross-boundary ferry services in enhancing their competitiveness, so as to enable a balanced development of cross-boundary sea and land transport services, and hence achieve a win-win situation and maintain Hong Kong's position as a transport and maritime hub?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

*7. Hon Timothy FOK to ask:
(Translation)

As it is learnt that the tenancy renewal for the Sunbeam Theatre in North Point has not yet been settled, it is expected that the project of converting the Yau Ma Tei Theatre into a Xiqu Activity Centre with a small theatre will not be completed until 2011, and the supporting facilities and seating capacity of the Ko Shan Theatre do not exactly meet the requirements of Cantonese opera performances, will the Government inform this Council whether it will take immediate measures to assist the Cantonese opera sector in solving the problem of shortage of performance venues?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

Regarding vegetables imported from the Mainland, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed if sufficient quantities of vegetables can be produced by registered mainland farms for supplying vegetables to Hong Kong, so that the vegetable prices in Hong Kong can remain stable in different seasons; if the assessment result is in the affirmative, of the justifications for that; if the assessment result is in the negative, the ways to tackle the problem;

    (b)of the measures currently in place to monitor the operations of registered mainland farms for supplying vegetables to Hong Kong which are located in places outside Guangdong Province, such as Beijing and Shanghai; and

    (c)given that some members of the public have relayed to me that the retail prices of vegetables do not follow reduction in wholesale prices and drop immediately, resulting in a "quick-in-going-up but slow-in-coming-down" situation, whether it will consider conducting an investigation to examine if any price fixing exists at the wholesale level; if it will not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance (Cap. 593) came into full operation on 22 December 2007. Members of the public who do not wish to receive unsolicited faxes, short messages or pre-recorded telephone messages can have their fax/telephone numbers registered on the relevant registers set up by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority ("OFTA"). In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective up-to-date numbers of fax and telephone numbers registered on the registers, their respective percentages in the total number of such numbers, and the number of relevant enquiries received;

    (b)of the number of complaints received so far from users of numbers which have been registered on the relevant registers that they still received unwanted types of unsolicited electronic messages, with a breakdown by the content of such complaints;

    (c)whether it will further step up publicity activities so that more members of the public will be aware of the registers; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (d)of the monthly average number of complaints presently handled by the team set up under OFTA to handle complaints and carry out investigations, and the existing number of outstanding complaints; whether there is any plan to increase manpower in this regard; if there is, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

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

Given that some students and parents have relayed to me that they have concerns and worries about the New Senior Secondary ("NSS") Academic Structure, which will be implemented from the 2009-2010 school year onwards, will the Government inform this Council of the measures in place to assist:
    (a)the first cohort of Secondary Three students to be promoted to Secondary Four under the NSS academic structure in handling the various problems they may face, (including changes in the format and requirements of examination, as well as the pressure of school work arising from the new academic structure, having to make the choice between education and career as well as emotional disturbances, etc.), so as to prevent them from developing suicidal thoughts because they cannot adapt to the new academic structure;

    (b)Secondary Five students who will be sitting for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination ("HKCEE") in 2010 to face the pressure that they could only repeat in the last HKCEE in 2011, and to offer assistance to them in facing education and career problems; and

    (c)parents of the first cohort of students affected by the NSS academic structure in facing the changes in various respects arising from the new academic structure?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

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

Will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the number of abandoned or stray cats and dogs which were caught or received by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department ("AFCD") in each of the past three years and, among them, the respective numbers of those which have been adopted and euthanized;

    (b)the number of prosecutions instituted by AFCD against owners of abandoned dogs under the Rabies Ordinance (Cap. 421) in the past two years; and

    (c)the new measures in place to tackle the problem of abandoned or stray cats and dogs?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

The Environmental Protection Department ("EPD") launched the Indoor Air Quality ("IAQ") Certification Scheme for Offices and Public Places ("the Certification Scheme") in September 2003 to encourage public and private organizations to pursue the best level of IAQ. Moreover, under the Accreditation Scheme for IAQ Certificate Issuing Body ("CIB") implemented by EPD since February last year, all IAQ certificates and reports under the Certification Scheme must be issued by CIBs accredited by the Hong Kong Accreditation Service. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows, since the implementation of the Accreditation Scheme for IAQ CIB, the respective numbers of premises, offices and buildings which have been issued or have applied for the IAQ certificate and report; whether it has reviewed the effectiveness of the Certification Scheme and the Accreditation Scheme for IAQ CIB (including the numbers of premises, offices and buildings participating in the Certification Scheme); if it has, of the results of the review; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)it has ascertained if the number of existing CIBs is sufficient to meet the demand, and of the measures currently in place to encourage more organizations to participate in the Certification Scheme, so as to assist more public and private organizations in improving IAQ;

    (c)it will make the Certification Scheme mandatory and require public and private organizations to commission CIBs to assess IAQ in their premises, offices and buildings; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (d)it will consider formulating a set of IAQ standards; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

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

It has been reported that in recent months, waste and materials have been fly-tipped by people on a piece of government land of conservation value in Nam Sang Wai of Yuen Long, but the government departments concerned did not take immediate actions to stop such activities. Some environmentalists suspected that land-filling activities were conducted to ruin the ecological value of the land concerned, hoping that it would be easier to get approval for the relevant application for changing land use. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of complaints about fly-tipping of waste or materials on government and private land within "conservation area" or "village type development" zones received by the Government in the past two years and, among them, the respective numbers of cases which have been dealt with, have yet to be dealt with, as well as cases in respect of which prosecutions were instituted, and those in which the persons involved were convicted;

    (b)of the number of lots within "conservation area" zones where the environment had been damaged by fly-tipping of waste or illegal land-filling activities in the past five years, the locations of such lots, the numbers of Reinstatement Notices issued by various government departments in respect of each of the lots, as well as the requirements set out in such Notices (including the actions required to be taken by the persons concerned);

    (c)of the number of applications for changing land use received by the Town Planning Board in the past five years involving sites within "conservation area" or "village type development" zones where the environment had been damaged by fly-tipping activities; the number of such applications approved and the reasons for granting the approval; and whether the Government has taken measures to prevent any person from getting approval more easily for an application to change the land use of a piece of land by conducting fly-tipping activities to ruin the ecological value of that land; and

    (d)whether it will consider increasing the penalty for fly-tipping activities; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

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

The Trade and Industry Department ("TID") launched the Special Loan Guarantee Scheme ("the Scheme") on 15 December last year to help enterprises tide over their cashflow difficulties. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows, among the loan guarantee applications submitted to TID by participating lending institutions ("PLIs") so far, the number of applications relating to enterprises which were new customers of the PLIs concerned and the latter had never granted any loan to them, and the respective numbers of approved and rejected applications as well as the respective total amounts of loans involved;

    (b)among the approved loan guarantee applications, the number of applications relating to enterprises which are small and medium in size (i.e. any manufacturing enterprises which employ fewer than 100 employees in Hong Kong; or any non-manufacturing enterprises which employ fewer than 50 employees in Hong Kong), and the total amount of loans granted to them; and

    (c)as the Government has estimated that about 40 000 companies will benefit from the Scheme during its six-month operation period, whether it has assessed if such estimated figure can be met; if the assessment result is in the negative, whether it will adjust downward the estimated figure and extend the operation period of the Scheme?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

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

It has been reported that the Department of Health ("DH") and Hospital Authority ("HA") had extended for two years the expiry dates of about 20 million doses of antiviral drugs for influenza stockpiled by them, and the expiry dates of some of the drugs have been extended for the second time. In the connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)among the drugs stockpiled by DH and HA, how many doses have had their expiry dates extended since 2004, together with a breakdown by the type of drugs;

    (b)whether the authorities have specified the maximum number of times that the expiry dates of various types of drugs may be extended;

    (c)what testing mechanism is presently adopted by the authorities for ensuring that drugs with extended expiry dates are still potent and will not produce unexpected side effects;

    (d)whether, over the past five years, there were cases of patients feeling sick or experiencing unexpected side effects after taking drugs with extended expiry dates, and whether the authorities have received complaints from patients about the falsification of the expiry dates of drugs; if there were such cases and complaints, of their respective numbers; and

    (e)whether it knows if hospitals in overseas places extend the expiry dates of their drugs?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

Regarding the inclusion of old cinemas with a long history in the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme ("the Revitalisation Scheme"), will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it has conducted assessments to determine the grading of all old cinemas in Hong Kong (including the Cheung Chau Theatre and the Peng Chau Theatre), apart from the Yau Ma Tei Theatre which has been classified as a Grade II historic building; if so, of the details; if not, whether it will expeditiously conduct assessments to determine the grading of all old cinemas in Hong Kong; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (b)it has studied if the revitalising approach adopted for the Dom Pedro V Theatre in Macao can be applied to the old cinemas in Hong Kong; if it has, of the study results; if not, whether it will conduct such a study expeditiously; and

    (c)it will consider including the old cinemas which have been graded as historic buildings into the Revitalisation Scheme, so as to conserve and revitalise such historic buildings?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

*17. Dr Hon Joseph LEE to ask:
(Translation)

According to the remuneration policies of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority ("HKMA"), variable pay will be awarded to staff in accordance with their performance, in addition to fixed pay. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the total variable pay awarded to staff by HKMA in each of the past five years, together with a breakdown by rank;

    (b)of the criteria adopted by the Financial Secretary ("FS") for reviewing the amount of variable pay to be awarded by HKMA each year; and

    (c)whether FS will, in considering the variable pay to be awarded by HKMA, take into account its recent performance in the handling of the Lehman Minibonds incident, the rate of return on investments of the Exchange Fund, as well as the supervision of banks; if he will, on the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : The Financial Secretary

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

It has been reported that several incidents of buses braking resulting in passenger casualties occurred one after another recently. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the number of such kind of incidents in the past three years, the reasons for the buses braking, other factors contributing to the casualties of those passengers, as well as a breakdown of the number of those passengers by age and sex;

    (b)of the number of bus drivers involved in such kind of incidents who were prosecuted in the past three years, with a breakdown by charge and court verdict; and

    (c)whether measures are in place to prevent recurrence of such kind of incidents; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

Regarding the regulation of the sale and labelling of health food products, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the existing measures in place to ensure that the labels on the packaging of health food products truthfully indicate the ingredients of the products concerned;

    (b)of the existing regulatory measures prohibiting sellers from making exaggerated statements or misrepresentations in advertisements regarding the efficacy of health food products;

    (c)whether it will consider making it mandatory for sellers to place a warning notice of "excessive consumption may lead to undesirable side effects" on a prominent position of the packaging of health food products; if it will not, of the reasons for that; and

    (d)whether it will step up the relevant publicity work, by broadcasting "Announcements in the Public Interest" on radio and television as well as through other media (such as the web sites of government departments), to provide members of the public with information on health maintenance and things to note when consuming health food products?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

Regarding the storage and display of works of art, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of a breakdown, by categories of works of art and the number of times the works of art had been displayed (five times or below, from six times to 19 times and 20 times or above), of the number of works of art currently stored by the Government, the storage locations for works of art and their respective areas, the supporting facilities of the storage locations and their maximum storage capacities; whether it has assessed, based on the number of works of art acquired annually at present, when those locations will be fully occupied; if it has, of the assessment results; whether it has considered other ways of storage for works of art; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)whether the works of art currently on display in government buildings were acquired by the relevant departments themselves; if so, whether it will consider displaying in government buildings works of art which are in storage, as well as adopting measures to encourage private institutions to display works of art at their premises, so as to provide more venues for public display of works of art and improve the interior ambience of buildings; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)what policies and measures the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department have put in place to assist local young artists in displaying their works; whether it will formulate new policy to assist them in displaying their works (such as displaying works at various public space and public galleries); if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

* For written reply.

III. Bills

First Reading

Road Traffic (Driving-offence Points) (Amendment) Bill 2009

Second Reading (Debate to be adjourned)

Road Traffic (Driving-offence Points) (Amendment) Bill 2009:Secretary for Transport and Housing

IV. Members' Motions
  1. Proposed resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance

    Hon Miriam LAU to move the following motion:

    RESOLVED that in relation to the Independent Police Complaints Council Ordinance (Commencement) Notice, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 6 of 2009 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 14 January 2009, the period for amending subsidiary legislation referred to in section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) be extended under section 34(4) of that Ordinance to the meeting of 4 March 2009.

  2. Assisting grassroots workers in counteracting economic adversities

    Hon IP Wai-ming: (Translation)

    That the economic outlook for Hong Kong is not optimistic, employees lose their jobs as a result of economic slowdown and closure of enterprises, some enterprises use the financial tsunami as the pretext to effect pay cuts and layoffs even when they are making profits, resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate, and employees are the first ones to be hard hit, this Council calls on employers to undertake not to effect pay cuts and layoffs and urges the Government to:

    (a)immediately promote collective bargaining between employers and employees, formulate collective agreements, study overseas experience in implementing collective bargaining, as well as legislate on the right to collective bargaining on the central, trade and enterprise levels, so as to strive for employees a bargaining position which is on an equal footing with their employers;

    (b)subsidize the Mandatory Provident Fund contributions of low-income employees to relieve their burden;

    (c)improve the mode of developing social enterprises to allow more bodies and organizations to establish social enterprises;

    (d)promote local community culture economy in various districts, such as morning and night markets, holiday flea markets and art fairs, etc, to bring into play the local community culture and create employment opportunities;

    (e)allocate suitable spaces in various districts to set up commercial and household waste recycling points, so as to promote the transaction of second-hand products and recycling of wastes;

    (f)develop diversified industrial structures to create positions in more trades and at more levels; and

    (g)establish an unemployment assistance system with integrated measures of financial assistance, employment training, employment placement, etc, so as to obviate the need for the unemployed to apply for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance to tackle imminent financial problems.

    Amendments to the motion
    (i)Hon Frederick FUNG: (Translation)

    To add "the latest unemployment rate has risen to 4.1%," after "That"; to delete "and" after "create positions in more trades and at more levels;"; to delete "an unemployment assistance system" after "(g) establish" and substitute with "a short-term unemployment financial assistance scheme"; to delete ", so as to obviate the need for the unemployed" after "employment placement, etc" and substitute with "to serve as a second safety net, so that unemployed persons who are not eligible"; to delete "to tackle" after "Comprehensive Social Security Assistance" and substitute with "can still tackle their"; and to add "; and (h) expeditiously implement the recommendations made by the Legislative Council Subcommittee to Study the Subject of Combating Poverty in its Report on Working Poverty and the recommendations on issues concerning the unemployed and the working poor put forward in the Report of the Commission on Poverty" immediately before the full stop.

    (ii)Hon Vincent FANG: (Translation)

    To add ", as the impact of the financial tsunami on the economy will gradually surface," after "That"; to add ", increasing difficulties in operating businesses" after "economic slowdown"; to add "even" before "closure of enterprises"; to add "at the present stage" after "making profits"; to add "to make every effort" after "employers to undertake"; to add "so long as the business environment does not further deteriorate significantly" after "not to effect pay cuts and layoffs"; to delete "promote collective bargaining between employers and employees, formulate collective agreements, study overseas experience in implementing collective bargaining, as well as legislate on the right to collective bargaining on the central, trade and enterprise levels, so as to strive for employees a bargaining position which is on an equal footing with their employers" after "(a) immediately" and substitute with "make reference to the practice of our country in boosting the economy and stimulating internal demand and, in accordance with this principle, distribute consumption vouchers to each Hong Kong citizen, so as to stimulate the local economy through promoting consumption, so that enterprises can continue their operations, thereby achieving the effects of protecting employment and assisting the grassroots; (b) study how to strengthen the existing mechanism for mediating labour disputes to reduce conflicts between employers and employees, thereby enabling both parties to focus their strengths on counteracting the financial tsunami together"; to delete the original "(b)" and substitute with "(c)"; to delete the original "(c)" and substitute with "(d)"; to add "(e) waive the licence fees of grassroots hawkers for one year to relieve their burden under the current economic predicament;" after "establish social enterprises;"; to delete "(d)" before "promote local community culture economy" and substitute with "(f) retain as far as possible all existing open-air bazaars and suspend temporarily the Voluntary Surrender Scheme for hawkers so that they can continue to earn a living and, according to market demand,"; to delete the original "(e)" and substitute with "(g)"; to delete the original "(f)" and substitute with "(h)"; and to delete the original "(g)" and substitute with "(i)".

    (iii)Hon CHEUNG Kwok-che: (Translation)

    To add "as the unemployment rate has reached 4.1% and" after "That"; to delete "resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate," after "making profits,"; and to add "; pay the Mandatory Provident Fund contributions for employees with monthly earnings between $5,000 and $10,000 until the economy has recovered" after "low-income employees to relieve their burden".

    (iv)Hon Albert HO: (Translation)

    To delete "and" after "create positions in more trades and at more levels;"; and to add "; (h) provide subsidies to employers to encourage them to employ secondary school students graduating this year as trainees, so as to help the graduates enter the labour market; and (i) study the employment situation of graduates of the Employees Retraining Board and enhance the employment counselling service, so as to increase the success rate of trainees in securing employment and help those with low skills and low educational attainment to re-enter the employment market" immediately before the full stop.

    Public Officers to attend:Secretary for Home Affairs
    Secretary for Labour and Welfare

  3. Promoting the development of local creative industries

    Dr Hon Samson TAM: (Translation)

    That, under the impact of the financial tsunami, Hong Kong's economic development is at a crossroads where there is a pressing need to develop a new economy and the creation of jobs has become a social consensus; this Council urges the Government to make reference to the experience of successful countries or regions to formulate expeditiously the long-term policies, objectives and implementation timetables for creative industries in coping with the development of a new economy, as well as to:

    (a)secure Hong Kong as the locomotive for developing creative industries in the region, with a view to assisting the industries in expanding their markets, in particular the highly promising Mainland market, and strengthening its cooperation with the industries in the Pearl River Delta region;

    (b)facilitate cross-sector collaboration among creative industries, take proactive measures, such as building a one-stop platform and using the internet and technologies of new media, to enhance the competitiveness of local creative industries and assist the conventional industries in transforming their business successfully;

    (c)offer various incentives, including tax concession, to ensure that adequate resources are available for implementing the policies and realizing the objectives;

    (d)nurture and engage talents needed by creative industries;

    (e)promote intellectual property rights economy and open up room for developing creative industries; and

    (f)foster a social culture which is conducive to promoting the development of creative industries and encourage the general public to have the values of exploration and innovation.

    Amendments to the motion
    (i)Hon Cyd HO: (Translation)

    To delete ", under the impact of the financial tsunami," after "That"; to add "already" after "economic development is"; to add "(a) safeguard free flow of information and freedom of thoughts and speech to stimulate creativity and imagination;" after "as well as to:"; to delete the original "(a)" and substitute with "(b)"; to delete the original "(b)" and substitute with "(c)"; to delete the original "(c)" and substitute with "(d)"; to delete the original "(d)" and substitute with "(e)"; to delete the original "(e)" and substitute with "(f)"; to delete "intellectual property rights economy and open up" after "promote" and substitute with "creative commons, strike a balance between retaining of copyright and the right of reasonable utilization to further broaden the"; to delete the original "(f)" and substitute with "(g)"; to delete "and" after "promoting the development of creative industries" and substitute with ","; and to add ", and build up a local cultural identity" immediately before the full stop.

    (ii)Hon Audrey EU: (Translation)

    To delete "under" after "That," and substitute with "having experienced"; to add "Hong Kong can no longer rely solely on its original four major economic pillars to boost economic growth, and" after "the financial tsunami,"; to delete "is at a crossroads" after "economic development" and substitute with "has reached a bottleneck"; to delete "a new economy and the creation of jobs has become a social consensus" after "to develop" and substitute with "new economic pillars to increase gross domestic product and create job opportunities"; to add "base on the actual local situation and" after "the Government to"; to add "cultural and" after "timetables for"; to delete "in coping with the development of a new economy" before ", as well as to"; to add "cultural and" after "the locomotive for developing"; to add "cultural and" after "among"; to add "cultural and" after "needed by"; to add "cultural and" after "open up room for developing"; to delete "and" before "(f)"; to add "cultural and" after "promoting the development of"; and to add "; (g) facilitate professionals and the civil society to join hands in building a humanistic West Kowloon Cultural District ("WKCD") in a bottom-up approach which is free from the bureaucratic-led development model, so as to make WKCD a catalyst for cultural and creative industries; (h) proactively improve the business environment for cultural and creative industries such as film, comics, illustration, pop music, as well as performing arts sector such as Cantonese opera and musical play etc.; and (i) set up a cross-bureau ad hoc committee to conduct long-term planning and strategy studies on the promotion and publicity of Hong Kong's cultural and creative industries" immediately before the full stop.

    (iii)Hon Paul CHAN: (Translation)

    To add "and deploy adequate resources to implement the policies," after "the development of a new economy,"; and to delete ", including tax concession, to ensure that adequate resources are available for implementing the policies and realizing the objectives" after "incentives" and substitute with "to help Hong Kong enterprises and manufacturers upgrade their business and transform into high value-added industries, which include, but not limited to, the following tax concessions: (i) extending the current practice of allowing deduction of expenditure incurred in the purchase of patent rights in calculating assessable profits to cover the purchase of trade marks and copyrights; and (ii) increasing the amount of tax deduction for expenditure on research and development from the existing 100% to 200% of the actual expenditure".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development
Clerk to the Legislative Council