Council Meeting (Agenda) 18 February 2009



A 08/09-18

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 18 February 2009 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

1.No. 64-Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Annual Report 2007/08
(to be presented by the Secretary for Home Affairs)

2.No. 65-Li Po Chun Charitable Trust Fund Audited Financial Statements together with the Director of Audit's Report and Report of the Trustee on the Administration of the Fund for the year ended 31 August 2008
(to be presented by the Secretary for Home Affairs)

3.No. 66-Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Reports of the Director of Audit on the Accounts of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the year ended 31 March 2008 and the Results of Value for Money Audits (Report No. 51)
(February 2009 - P.A.C. Report No. 51)
(to be presented by Dr Hon Philip WONG, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, who will address the Council)

II. Questions

1. Dr Hon Priscilla LEUNG to ask: (Translation)

According to the transitional arrangements under the registration system for Chinese Medicine Practitioners ("CMPs"), persons practising Chinese medicine on 3 January 2000 may have their names entered on a list as listed CMPs. Except those who have been practising for a specified period and/or have obtained the required academic qualifications and shall thus be granted exemption, listed CMPs are required to pass the Registration Assessment or Licensing Examination before they are qualified to apply for registration as registered CMPs. It has been noted that quite a number of listed CMPs are worried that they will be disqualified from practice in the future because they are unable to meet the above requirements, and thus will lose their means of living. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the latest number of listed CMPs and, among them, the number of those who had attempted the Licensing Examination but failed to obtain the qualification for registration;

    (b)whether the Government will directly subsidise listed CMPs to attend approved training courses and establish a Chinese medicine hospital in Hong Kong to provide internship opportunities for them, so as to help them obtain the qualifications for registration as early as possible; and

    (c)given that listed CMPs who had been practising Chinese medicine in Hong Kong continuously for not less than 15 years immediately before 3 January 2000 shall be exempted from the Licensing Examination and Registration Assessment and allowed to apply for registration as registered CMPs directly, whether the authorities will consider accepting the suggestion of the trade that in sympathy with the elderly listed CMPs as they have difficulties with the training and examinations, and allowing those whose length of practice in Chinese medicine reaches 15 years only after the above date to apply for registration as registered CMPs directly, or implementing other measures to facilitate their registration?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

At the court meeting and extraordinary general meeting ("EGM") of the PCCW Limited ("PCCW"), a listed company, reconvened on the 4th of this month, the privatization proposal made by two major shareholders were voted upon and approved. The High Court will hold a hearing on whether sanction will be given to the Scheme of Arrangement for privatization. Yet, some members of the public and PCCW minority shareholders queried that improper share transfer had taken place before those meetings in an attempt to manipulate the voting results. It has been reported that the Securities and Futures Commission ("SFC") also took away the voting records immediately after the EGM and commenced an investigation into the incident. The above incident has aroused public concern about how the Government safeguards the interests of minority shareholders and investors. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)how it will assist the PCCW minority shareholders in knowing the results of SFC's investigation and clarifying their doubts and concerns before the High Court's substantive hearing; and whether it knows if SFC will request the High Court to suspend the sanction of the Scheme of Arrangement before completion of the SFC investigation;

    (b)whether it will review the procedure and requirements for the privatization of listed companies with a view to better protecting the interests of minority shareholders; if so, of the details; and

    (c)whether it will study amending the law so that minority shareholders whose interests have been compromised may claim damages from the relevant parties by way of group litigation?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

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

In December last year, the State Council scrutinized and endorsed in principle the Outline of Pearl River Delta Regional Plan on Reformation and Development (2008-2020) ("the Outline"), which states that support will be given to the Pearl River Delta Region to conduct "in-depth cooperation" with Hong Kong and Macao in modern service industries, with focus on the development of 10 industries including finance and convention and exhibition service etc., as well as heightening the mutual recognition of the professional qualifications for the banking, securities, insurance, appraisal, accounting, law, education and medical service industries in order to create the conditions for developing service industries. The Government has also indicated that it will strive for the early and pilot implementation of more liberalisation measures in Guangdong under the framework and provisions of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)when it will discuss with the Guangdong provincial authorities further liberalisation of the service industries, how it will implement the proposals of the Outline relating to promoting closer cooperation between Guangdong and Hong Kong, and of the specific ideas and suggestions for mutual recognition of professional qualifications;

    (b)how it will strive to further lower the threshold for Hong Kong's service industries to enter the Guangdong market, with a view to creating more business opportunities for local small and medium sized enterprises; and

    (c)whether it has assessed the impact of such in-depth cooperation among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao on the economic development and employment opportunities in Hong Kong; if it has, of the findings?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

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

Some residents of Yat Tung Estate in Tung Chung have relayed to me that at first they accepted the allocation arrangement and moved into Yat Tung Estate, which was remotely located and had no convenient transport links, because staff of the Housing Department had stated that the MTR Corporation Limited ("MTRCL") would construct a Tung Chung West Station near Yat Tung Estate, and the web site of the Highways Department also indicated that a site had been reserved for the provision of a new station of the Tung Chung Line at Tung Chung West. Yet, the residents of Yat Tung Estate have already moved in for eight years so far, and the works concerned have not been implemented. The residents need to take feeder buses to the Tung Chung MTR Station before they can change for trains to other districts, and this has also added to their burden of travelling expenses. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)the Government has discussed with MTRCL the construction timetable for the Tung Chung West Station to respond to Yat Tung Estate residents' expectation for early commissioning of this station; if not, whether the Government will apologize to the residents of the Estate for the delay in constructing this station ; and

    (b)it knows if MTRCL will consider adopting, before the commissioning of the Tung Chung West Station, an arrangement similar to that made for other remote areas to provide free feeder bus services between Yat Tung Estate and the Tung Chung MTR Station; if not, what remedial measures the Government will implement to address the problems of the lack of convenient transport links and heavy burden of travelling expenses faced by residents of the Estate, including whether the Government will reduce the rents of public rental housing units according to the fares payable by the residents for the feeder bus services concerned, grant approval for red minibus and green minibus operators to provide feeder bus services, and offer monthly bus ticket concessions to the residents?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

I have learnt that in recent years, an increasing number of Hong Kong residents (including Legislative Council Members, District Council members as well as members of political parties and non-government organizations) have been refused entry into Macao on arrival without being informed of the specific reasons. There have been comments that the Macao authorities had refused the entry of these persons because of their political views, and this situation has aroused concern that Hong Kong residents' freedom of entry into and exit from Macao as well as their freedom of speech have been undermined. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows the aforesaid situation of Hong Kong residents being refused entry; if it does, whether it has examined if refusing such persons' entry was reasonable and had legal basis, and if it will undermine Hong Kong residents' freedom of entry into and exit from Macao as well as their freedom of speech; and

    (b)it has taken up with the Macao authorities the matter of Hong Kong residents being refused entry; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

*6. Hon James TO to ask:
(Translation)

On 20 October last year, CITIC Pacific Limited, a listed company in Hong Kong, issued a profit warning revealing that the Group had incurred huge losses due to the holding of leveraged foreign exchange contracts. Although the Group had been aware of the exposure arising from such contracts as early as 7 September last year, it still declared in a circular which was issued on 16 September that its directors were not aware of any material adverse change in the financial or trading position of the Group since 31 December 2007. This incident has aroused the concern of the public and investors. The Securities and Futures Commission ("SFC") also indicated on 22 October last year that it had commenced an investigation into the incident. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows the latest progress of the investigation and its results (including whether false declaration and insider trading had been involved), and whether it will release the results of SFC's investigation; if it will, when such results will be released?
    Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

    *7. Hon Tommy CHEUNG to ask:
    (Translation)

    The Government is determined to develop Hong Kong into a wine distribution hub of Asia, and since the abolition of duties on alcoholic beverages by the Government last year, there has been significant growth in the import of alcoholic beverages. Yet, some wine traders have recently expressed concern about the inflow of alcoholic beverages with forged trademarks ("counterfeit wine") into Hong Kong, and they are worried that the reputation of Hong Kong's wine industry will be tarnished. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
      (a)of the quantity of counterfeit wine seized by the Customs and Excise Department ("CED") in each of the past three years and its trend;

      (b)whether it knows the current number of experts in Hong Kong who can distinguish the authenticity of alcoholic beverage trademarks, and if the current number of experts is sufficient; and

      (c)whether CED will step up efforts in combating counterfeit wine; what other measures it has put in place to combat the inflow of counterfeit wine into Hong Kong, as well as how it assesses the effectiveness of such measures?
    Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

    *8. Hon LEE Cheuk-yan to ask:
    (Translation)

    Will the Government inform this Council of the number of complaints received in each of the past three years about the services of residential care homes for the elderly and, among such complaints, the respective numbers of those relating to the application of physical restraint, residents falling down, and skin conditions of residents?
      Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

      *9. Hon CHAN Kin-por to ask:
      (Translation)

      It has been reported that some recovery agents ("RAs") (i.e. organizations which assist victims, usually of personal injury cases, in recovering damages in return for a fee as a percentage of the damages recovered) have recently been touting for business by claiming that their services are provided on a "no win, no charge" basis. When assisting employees injured at work and victims of traffic accidents in claiming damages, they often abet the injured to exaggerate the degree of injuries sustained so as to claim for a higher amount of compensation. Such act will not only bring losses to insurance companies, but will also harm the interests of insurance policyholders in the end because of increase in insurance premium. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
        (a)of the respective numbers of reports received and arrest operations mounted against RAs by the Police in each of the past three years, and the progress and results of the cases concerned; and

        (b)given that the acts of RAs may constitute criminal offences such as "maintenance" or "champerty", whether the Government will adopt counter measures to eradicate the activities of RAs; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
      Public Officer to reply : The Secretary for Justice

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

      The Government informed this Council in January last year that the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation ("KCRC") had commenced works in 2005 to install plastic fillers at the edge of the platforms of 37 Light Rail ("LR") stations with relatively wide gaps between the platforms and the trains, so as to narrow such gaps, and it was expected that the works would be completed before the first quarter of last year. However, many members of the public have relayed to me that the platform gaps at some LR stations are still too wide, rendering electrical wheelchairs unable to move in and out of the trains smoothly. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
        (a)the average reduction in the width of the platform gaps at the aforesaid LR stations after the installation of plastic fillers;

        (b)the number of accidents in each of the past three years involving LR passengers who had tripped and sustained injuries when boarding or alighting from the trains and, among these accidents, of the number of those which took place at platforms where plastic fillers had already been installed;

        (c)if KCRC and the MTR Corporation Limited ("MTRCL"), which has taken over the operation of LR services since 2 December 2007, had conducted comprehensive tests in the past three years on whether the platform gaps at all LR stations allowed the smooth passage of electrical wheelchairs; if so, of the test results; if not, the reasons for that; and

        (d)if MTRCL has studied measures to further mitigate the problem of wide platform gaps at LR stations (e.g. installing the Mechanical Gap Filler system at platforms); if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
      Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

      The Annual Report 2007-2008 of the Hospital Authority ("HA") reveals that the remuneration of the five highest paid executives in that year increased by 3.6% to 7.6% as compared to that of last year, whereas it was reported that the pay rise for frontline nursing staff was 0.3% only. There have been comments that such situation reflects the failure of HA's internal monitoring mechanism for the adjustment of staff remuneration by the management, and thus leading to a situation which rewards the upper-ranked staff generously but gives the lower-ranked staff a niggardly pay. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether:
        (a)they know the criteria adopted by HA for determining the remuneration adjustments for its management and frontline staff;

        (b)they had regularly reviewed in the past three years HA's monitoring mechanism for the adjustment of staff remuneration by the management; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

        (c)they will consider subjecting the adjustment of remuneration of those HA staff who are equivalent in rank to directorate civil servants to the supervision of the Legislative Council; if they will not, of the reasons for that?
      Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

      It has been reported that as the financial tsunami has caused global economic downturn, quite a number of Hong Kong residents who used to work in Macao and Guangdong Province have recently returned one after another to reside in Hong Kong because they had lost their jobs or they had closed down their businesses, and they have become street sleepers due to financial difficulties. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
        (a)it knows among the people who are street sleepers, the number and percentage of the aforesaid people as well as the number and percentage of those who are not eligible to apply for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance because they have been absent from Hong Kong for more than 56 days during the one-year period immediately before the date of application; if not, whether it will conduct such a survey as soon as possible;

        (b)it knows the average daily occupancy rate, in each month of the past three years, of the shelters for street sleepers run by non-governmental organizations, and whether there was a significant increase in the occupancy rates for the last three months; and

        (c)it had, in the past three years, reviewed if the resources for the provision of support services for street sleepers were adequate for meeting new service demands, providing urgent support services for street sleepers, and publicizing the various services to them?
      Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

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

      Last month, an elderly man was injured after losing his footing while walking down the staircase from the upper deck of a double-deck bus in motion, and he later died. The bus in question was equipped with a straight staircase, the same type of staircases used on most buses purchased by the franchised bus company concerned in recent years. There have been comments that in accidents of passengers losing their footing on staircases, straight staircases tend to cause more serious injuries to such passengers, as compared to traditional spiral staircases. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
        (a)whether it knows the number of accidents in the past five years involving bus passengers losing their footing while walking up or down the staircases, together with a breakdown of such accidents by the franchised bus company involved, the age group (child, adult or elderly) of the passengers involved and the type of staircases (straight or spiral) of the buses involved;

        (b)whether the Government has issued guidelines to franchised bus companies on the types and models of buses as well as the safety designs inside bus compartments, etc.; if so, of the details of the guidelines; if not, how the Government assists the bus companies in deciding which types of buses to purchase;

        (c)whether the Government has assessed the safety of straight and spiral staircases; if so, of the assessment results; if not, whether the Government will conduct such an assessment; and

        (d)what measures are in place to reduce accidents occurring when passengers walk up or down the staircases?
      Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

      To ensure food safety, the Centre for Food Safety ("CFS") implements the food surveillance programme, under which samples of food items are taken regularly at three levels, namely import, wholesale and retail levels, for microbiological and chemical testing. Moreover, I have learnt that the Government is outsourcing such testing work to private laboratories progressively. In this connection, will the Government inform this council:
        (a)whether CFS has reviewed its criteria for taking food samples since its establishment; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

        (b)whether it will increase the number and widen the scope of food samples taken; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

        (c)of the average unit time and cost of microbiological and chemical tests conducted by various government laboratories, and how such figures compare with the relevant figures of similar tests conducted by private laboratories; and

        (d)of the respective numbers and percentages of microbiological and chemical tests conducted by government laboratories and private laboratories last year; and whether it will consider increasing the ratio of outsourced tests, in order to reduce the workload of government laboratories?
      Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

      In 2007, there were about 690 000 users of piped and cylinder liquefied petroleum gas ("LPG"), representing about 29% of the total number of users in the gas fuels market in Hong Kong. Yet, I have recently received complaints that the piped LPG market lacks competition, the transparency of retail prices of piped LPG is low, and such a situation is unfair to consumers. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
        (a)of the current numbers of piped LPG users and suppliers; and

        (b)given that at present, only one LPG supplier has established a mechanism to regularly and openly review LPG prices and release the relevant information, what measures the Government had put in place in the past three years to encourage other piped LPG suppliers to increase the transparency of the setting of LPG prices?
      Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

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

      Regarding the quality of Dongjiang water, will the Government inform this Council:
        (a)of the results of the monitoring of quality of Dongjiang raw water supplied to Hong Kong in each of the past five years and, among these results, of the items which did not meet the relevant water quality standards; and whether drinking such substandard fresh water will be harmful to health; if it will, of the details; and

        (b)whether it had discussed with the Guangdong authorities last year measures to improve the quality of Dongjiang raw water, including reducing the pollution to the source of Dongjiang water, with a view to reducing the use of chemicals for purifying fresh water; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
      Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

      *17. Hon Starry LEE to ask:
      (Translation)

      During the peak of the influenza season in March last year, the Government set up an Expert Group to conduct an in-depth investigation into the deaths of three children with acute febrile illnesses. The investigation report released in April last year came up with 14 recommendations, including extension of the recommended age range of childhood vaccination for influenza. Subsequently, the Government launched the Influenza Vaccination Subsidy Scheme ("IVSS") in November last year to encourage influenza vaccination of Hong Kong children between the age of six months and less than six years. It has been reported that up to end of last month, the coverage rate of IVSS was less than 30%. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
        (a)of the latest coverage rate of IVSS and what measures are in place to encourage influenza vaccination of more eligible children;

        (b)whether the Government will accept the remaining 13 recommendations made by the Expert Group; if it will, of the details of and timetable for implementing the recommendations; if not, the reasons for that; and

        (c)whether it will issue guidelines on whether schools should suspend classes in case of an influenza outbreak; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
      Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

      Each year, the Audit Commission conducts examinations into the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which the audited organizations have discharged their functions, and submits to this Council the Director of Audit's Reports on the results of value for money audits, which include recommendations on improvement measures. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it had, in the past three years, considered empowering the Director of Audit to follow up and monitor the implementation of the improvement measures by the audited organizations, so as to ensure that such audited organizations utilize public resources prudently and effectively; if it had, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
        Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

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

        Regarding the Tertiary Student Finance Scheme - Publicly-funded Programmes and the Financial Assistance Scheme for Post-secondary Students ("the finance assistance schemes"), will the Government inform this Council:
          (a)of the types of income counted, the items of deductible expenses and the maximum amount of deduction for each item in calculating the total family income of an applicant under each finance assistance scheme; whether the Student Financial Assistance Agency ("SFAA") will consider classifying the major expenses (such as mortgage repayments) of an applicant as items of deductible expenses; if it will not, of the reasons for that;

          (b)of the year of the statistical figures to which SFAA had made reference, and the criteria SFAA adopted, when deriving the amounts of subsidies payable to students for their living expenses under each finance assistance scheme as well as the ceiling on total family income for each level of finance assistance; and the respective current amounts of such figures after inflationary adjustments;

          (c)as it was reported that the SFAA indicated in May 2006 that a consultant had been commissioned to undertake a one-year study of the finance assistance schemes regarding the calculation of living expenses as well as the income of the applicants etc., whether the study has been completed; if so, of the consultancy fees, findings of the study (including the proposed recommendations), and the implementation date for the relevant recommendations; if not, the reasons for that;

          (d)of the number and percentage of the students of each University Grants Committee-funded institution who participated in the activities of overseas exchanges, internship or visits in the past three academic years; whether such students have received any publicly-funded subsidies; if they have, of a breakdown, by the mode of subsidy, of the numbers of beneficiaries and the amounts of such subsidies; if not, the reasons for that; whether there is any student who was unable to take part in such exchange programmes because of financial difficulties;

          (e)whether it will consider including expenses on overseas exchanges, internship and accommodation in student quarters, as well as information and technology expenses in relation to studies, in the scope of subsidies of the finance assistance schemes; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

          (f)of the numbers of disabled students studying in tertiary institutions who had applied for and received grants or loans in each of the past three academic years; and whether it has considered providing such students with subsidies in the form of grants instead of loans, taking into account the burden of expenses on them and their repayment ability; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
        Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

        * For written reply.

        III. Bills

        First Reading

        Disciplined Services Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2009

        Second Reading (Debate to be adjourned)

        Disciplined Services Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2009 :Secretary for the Civil Service

        IV. Members' Motions

        1. Measures for combating drink driving

          Hon LEE Wing-tat: (Translation)

          That, as several serious traffic accidents caused by drink driving have occurred recently, which resulted in a large number of casualties, reflecting that the awareness of the danger of drink driving among motorists is still weak, this Council urges the Government to:

          (a)review the penalties for the drink driving offence by increasing the disqualification period to a minimum of 12 months or above upon first conviction of this offence as well as raising the maximum imprisonment term and fine for such an offence;

          (b)consider further tightening the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration;

          (c)lodge appeals to the Court by the Department of Justice against drink driving cases with relatively lenient sentences so as to allow the Judiciary to formulate more stringent sentencing criteria;

          (d)consider raising the maximum imprisonment term for dangerous driving causing death to the same level as that for manslaughter; and

          (e)enhance public education and publicity to enable motorists to understand the perils of drink driving,

          so as to safeguard public safety.

          Amendments to the motion
          (i)Hon CHEUNG Hok-ming: (Translation)

          To delete "as" after "That," and substitute with "according to government information, the number of prosecutions against drink driving has been on the rise in recent years; furthermore,"; to delete "review the penalties for the drink driving offence by" after "(a)" and substitute with "allocate more resources for conducting random breath tests, and set up permanent breath test checkpoints at cross-boundary control points and the roads nearby, as well as major bar areas and restaurants, etc; (b) expeditiously conduct a comprehensive review on the effectiveness of the newly implemented Road Traffic Legislation (Amendment) Ordinance 2008, including"; to delete "to a minimum of 12 months or above" after "disqualification period"; to add "where necessary" after "such an offence"; to delete the original "(b)" and substitute with "(c)"; to add ", and formulate a set of penalties whereby the greater the extent the alcohol limit is exceeded, the heavier the punishment" after "blood alcohol concentration"; to delete the original "(c)" and substitute with "(d)"; to add "reviews or" after "lodge"; to add "and guidelines" after "sentencing criteria"; to delete the original "(d)" and substitute with "(e)"; to delete the original "(e)" and substitute with "(f)"; and to add ", and require that cautionary words such as "don't drink and drive" must be printed on the packages of alcoholic beverages" after "public education and publicity".

          Amendment to Hon CHEUNG Hok-ming's amendment
          Hon Miriam LAU:
          (Translation)

          To add "various major speeding blackspots across the territory," after "the roads nearby"; and to add "studying the introduction of a new provision on 'dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm' in the Ordinance and introducing dangerous driving after drinking as a factor of consideration for meting out heavier penalties, as well as" after "including".

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

          To add "; this Council also urges the Government to set up medical facilities for treating alcoholics and community counselling centres for such people to receive appropriate treatment and counselling, so as to enable them to understand the perils of drink driving, thereby reducing the occurrence of drink driving accidents" immediately before the full stop.

          Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Transport and Housing


        2. Helping young people cope with the financial tsunami

          Hon Tanya CHAN: (Translation)

          That, being struck by the financial tsunami, Hong Kong's economy will most probably slacken off substantially and young people will definitely face pressure from various fronts, including the financial burden arising from repaying student loans and the employment difficulties caused by reduction in jobs etc; this Council urges the Government to show concern for the needs of young people amid economic adversities and offer suitable support to help them alleviate their pressure, develop their career and contribute to the society, with specific measures which include:

          (a)removing the existing 1.5% risk rate for the "Non-means Tested Loan Scheme" and making changes to the effect that the interest will be calculated after a student has completed the relevant programme;

          (b)suspending the collection of repayments from all borrowers of student loan schemes for one year and waiving the interests on all loans for that year;

          (c)providing young people with more employment counselling and support, especially by increasing the resources allocated to the environmental protection and creative industries, with a view to helping them find suitable jobs;

          (d)creating temporary jobs and placements which are suitable for young people, including those in the fields of environmental conservation, survey studies, community relations, publicity and promotion etc, to give them opportunities to accumulate working experience;

          (e)exploring various forms of support, including appropriate training, counselling services, subsidies or loan arrangements, for young people who aspire to start a business or become self-employed; and

          (f)expeditiously implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Economic Challenges which target at young people's needs and putting forward specific work plans as well as announcing the details.

          Amendments to the motion
          (i)Hon Starry LEE: (Translation)

          To delete "being" after "That," and substitute with "as the global economy slows down, and Hong Kong is"; to delete "Hong Kong's economy will most probably slacken off substantially and" after "financial tsunami,"; to delete "removing" after "(a)" and substitute with "standardizing"; to delete "1.5% risk rate" after "the existing" and substitute with "interest rate"; to delete "and" after " 'Non-means Tested Loan Scheme' " and substitute with "at a flat rate of 2.5%,"; to add "and secured employment, as well as changing the means-tested loans to interest-free loans" after "programme"; and to add ", introducing an attachment allowance scheme for tertiary graduates whereby the Government will offer allowances to Hong Kong and Mainland enterprises which provide attachment places with a view to helping fresh graduates tackle employment difficulties," after "young people's needs".

          (ii)Hon Andrew LEUNG: (Translation)

          To add "as the world is" after "That,"; to add "in all strata" after "the needs of young people"; to delete "removing the existing" after "(a)" and substitute with "requesting the Student Financial Assistance Agency to provide special support to borrowers of student loan schemes with financial difficulties, including calculating the interest on relevant loans after a student has completed the relevant programme, and waiving the"; to delete "and making changes to the effect that the interest will be calculated after a student has completed the relevant programme" after " 'Non-means Tested Loan Scheme' "; to add "with financial difficulties" after "student loan schemes"; to delete "young people" after "providing" and substitute with "degree and sub-degree holders as well as secondary school leavers"; to delete ", especially by increasing the resources allocated" after "counselling and support" and substitute with "to help them find suitable jobs and, in particular, specially allocating resources"; to delete ", with a view to helping them find suitable jobs" after "creative industries" and substitute with "to increase job opportunities for them"; and to delete "young people's needs" after "target at" and substitute with "the needs of young people in all strata".

          (iii)Hon WONG Sing-chi: (Translation)

          To add "young people," after "That,"; to delete "Hong Kong's economy will most probably slacken off substantially and young people" after "financial tsunami,"; to add "(b) reviewing various financial assistance schemes for post-secondary students, relaxing the eligibility criteria, raising the amount of grants and loans, and reducing the interests of the loan schemes, so as to alleviate the financial burden on tertiary students;" after "programme;"; to delete the original "(b)" and substitute with "(c)"; to delete "one year" after "loan schemes for" and substitute with "two years"; to add "(d) considering giving tertiary graduates more flexibility in repayment, including repaying a smaller amount during the first three years after graduation;" after "that year;"; to delete the original "(c)" and substitute with "(e)"; to add ", information technology industries, as well as cultural" after "environmental protection"; to delete the original "(d)" and substitute with "(f)"; to add "more" after "creating"; to add "teaching assistance, information technology," after "the fields of"; to add "local ecology and heritage tourism," after "environmental conservation,"; to delete the original "(e)" and substitute with "(g)"; and to delete the original "(f)" and substitute with "(h)".

          (iv)Hon WONG Kwok-hing: (Translation)

          To add "community services," after "community relations,"; to delete "and" after "self-employed;" and substitute with "(f) raising the subsidy amount of the Continuing Education Fund to $30,000 to alleviate the financial pressure from further studies on young people and, at the same time, widening the coverage of subsidy and stepping up monitoring of course operations; (g) increasing the subsidized places for diploma, higher diploma, bachelor degree and master degree programmes, etc of various institutions, so that more young people are able to have the opportunity to receive tertiary education, thereby enhancing their competitiveness; and "; and to delete the original "(f)" and substitute with "(h)".

          (v)Hon LEE Cheuk-yan: (Translation)

          To delete "and" after "self-employed;"; and to add "; and (g) establishing a training contract system to enable young school leavers to have training opportunities and working experience " immediately before the full stop.

          Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Labour and Welfare


        Clerk to the Legislative Council