Council Meeting (Agenda) 5 May 2010



A 09/10-25

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 5 May 2010 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.
1.Fugitive Offenders (South Africa) Order43/2010
2.Professional Accountants (Amendment) Bylaw 201044/2010
3.Import and Export (Strategic Commodities) Regulations (Amendment of Schedules 1 and 2) Order 201045/2010

II. Questions

1. Hon Jeffrey LAM to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the work of the Inland Revenue Department ("IRD"), will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed the impact of the financial tsunami on the tax revenue (including profits tax and salaries tax) of the last financial year, and whether the respective amounts of tax paid by the 10 individuals and 10 enterprises which were levied the highest amounts of salaries tax and profits tax, when compared with those of the previous year, had decreased significantly due to the financial tsunami; if an assessment has been conducted, of the outcome;

    (b)of the total number of applications for holding over of tax payments the processing of which was completed by IRD and the amount of tax involved, as well as the respective numbers of cases of overdue profits tax and salaries tax and the amounts involved, in the last financial year; and what measures the authorities have put in place to assist the enterprises and employees who are unable to make full tax payment; and

    (c)of the respective amounts of back tax and penalties collected by IRD in the past five financial years; the largest amount of back profits tax collected in the last financial year and whether it is the largest in the past three years; the number of profits tax recovery cases being processed at present and the estimated total amount of tax involved; how IRD will expedite the recovery of tax in default so that it will not be barred from recovering such arrears because of the lapse of the tax recovery period?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

2. Hon Starry LEE to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that a survey conducted by the Consumer Council ("CC") has found that more than 60% of the car models on sale in Hong Kong may still attain optimal efficiency even if they use 95-octane petrol, which is lower in price. The survey outcome is more or less the same as those of a similar survey conducted by CC 10 years ago. Yet, at present oil companies do not follow the practice in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan and Singapore of offering petrol of different octane numbers for vehicle owners to choose. Instead, they only sell the more costly 98-octane petrol, leaving some 200 000 vehicle owners in Hong Kong with no choice but to use it. It is estimated that the extra expenses on petrol paid by vehicle owners exceeded $2 billion in the past 10 years. There have been comments that the cause for the aforesaid existing situation is oligopoly in the motor vehicle fuel business. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)what measures the Government had adopted in the past 10 years to encourage oil companies to introduce petrol of lower octane numbers to Hong Kong; whether it had assessed the impact of oil companies not introducing petrol of lower octane numbers on vehicle owners in Hong Kong; if an assessment had been conducted, of the outcome;

    (b)whether the authorities had, in the past five years, studied the experience in other places to explore how the technical difficulties in supplying petrol of different octane numbers at the same time could be solved; if they had not, whether such studies will be conducted; whether the authorities will consider setting the supply of petrol of lower octane numbers as one of the lease conditions when inviting tenders for petrol filling station sites; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)of the Government's measures to increase the supply channels of fuel products and enhance competition in the industry, so as to safeguard the rights and interests of consumers?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

3. Hon Miriam LAU to ask:
(Translation)

To enhance inter-departmental co-operation, the Police, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department as well as Food and Environmental Hygiene Department drew up in early 2008 new operating protocols in respect of the procedures for initial handling of reports of suspected cruelty to animals, as well as subsequent investigation and follow-up actions. Meanwhile, the Police have also adopted new measures focusing on districts with an upward trend of cases of cruelty to animals and will assign designated teams to follow up and investigate. Yet, it has been reported that recently there is an aggravating trend in cases of cruelty to animals. For example, there were cases of stray cats being thrown from a height causing tragic death and being soaked in cement resulting in skin ulcer, as well as a stray cat having its left leg cut off. Moreover, some wild monkeys were injured after being shot by air guns and stun guns. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) of the respective numbers of complaints about cruelty to animals received by the Government since the implementation of the aforesaid new operating protocols and in the year before that, and among such cases, the respective numbers of those in which follow-up actions were taken, prosecutions were instituted and the persons involved were convicted, as well as the penalties imposed on them;

    (b)of the districts in which the Police adopted the aforesaid new measures in the past three years; and

    (c)whether the authorities have reviewed the effectiveness of the various aforesaid measures; if they have, of the criteria based on which the review was conducted and the outcome thereof; if they have not, whether they will conduct a review as soon as possible?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

4. Hon Ronny TONG to ask:
(Translation)

At the meeting of the Panel on Commerce and Industry of this Council held on 20 April this year, some members of the convention and exhibition ("C&E") industry pointed out that monopoly might exist in the industry at present. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) whether the authorities will consider inviting an independent academic institution to conduct a study, so as to examine if monopoly exists in the C&E market at present; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; whether the authorities will review the policy on the C&E industry according to the existing fair competition policy, including the policy of promoting market competition by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council ("TDC"); if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)whether the authorities will consider formulating new policies and measures to enable more market players to participate in the C&E industry; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)given that it has been reported that a "non-competition" clause, which is in contravention of the fair competition policy, is included in the existing operation agreement signed between TDC and the company responsible for the management of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, whether the Government will request TDC and the company to revise or remove the "non-competition" clause contained in the agreement; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; how the Government will explain to the public the situation of the C&E industry being monopolized?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

5. Hon Cyd HO to ask:
(Translation)

It was reported that Hong Kong being affected by the sandstorm in Northern China, exceptionally high air pollution index readings had been recorded continuously for more than 10 hours from the evening of 21 March to the morning of 22 March by the air quality monitoring stations set up by the Environmental Protection Department ("EPD"), and in response to the situation, the authorities had activated the emergency mechanism and taken measures. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) whether the Hong Kong authorities and the mainland authorities had mutually notified each other of the phenomenon when the sandstorm swept through Northern China on 20 March; if so, of the time and details of notification;

    (b)of the names of the bureaux or government departments participated in the discussions on the emergency mechanism held between 21 and 22 March, as well as details of the specific measures which they decided at that time to take; and

    (c)whether the Inter-departmental Working Group on Climate Change ("IWGCC") led by EPD was involved in addressing the problems caused by the sandstorm, and whether IWGCC will conduct follow-up studies on the relation between sandstorms and climate change, the contingency measures Hong Kong should take and the procedure for activating these measures; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

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

It has been reported recently that a telecommunications service company, after obtaining Excavation Permits from the Highways Department ("HyD") only but without the approval from the Lands Department, had erected iron poles on certain pedestrian walkways for installation of fixed telecommunications network services equipment. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)HyD had, before granting the aforesaid Excavation Permits, verified that the iron pole erection works had been approved by the relevant government departments; and

    (b)it has regularly deployed personnel to inspect if such iron poles are securely installed and requested the company to remove the iron poles which were installed without approval, so as to ensure the safety of road users; if so, of the details?
Public Officers to reply :Secretary for Transport and Housing
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

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

A member of the trade has relayed to me that under the Town Planning Ordinance (Cap. 131), the Planning Department may take enforcement and regulatory actions only in respect of land use in areas covered by Development Permission Area Plans. Moreover, he has pointed out that some developers are suspected of violating the relevant regulation in planning to provide private columbarium niches in Chek Nai Ping village, which has been zoned as a "green belt" in the Sha Tin Outline Zoning Plan. Yet, as Chek Nai Ping village does not fall within the areas covered by Development Permission Area Plans, the Director of Planning cannot take law enforcement actions against such act of violation. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)what plans the authorities have to plug the aforesaid loophole in the legislation, so as to ensure that any person, when undertaking land developments, shall comply with the land use requirements set out in the statutory Outline Zoning Plans; and

    (b)what mechanism the authorities have put in place to ensure that the buildings constructed on lands outside the areas covered by Development Permission Area Plans comply with the requirements under the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123)?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Environment
(in the absence of Secretary for Development)

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

A member of the public has recently relayed to me that as his senile uncle had not made any will when he was alive; nor had he any statutory successors such as children, etc. his relatives were unable to use his estate to settle his funeral matters upon his death. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the total number of intestates with estates left in each of the past three years; the annual amount of such estates taken over by the Government each year, and how such estates were handled and used;

    (b)given that relatives such as a sister's child are not included in the classes of statutory successors for estates of the intestates stipulated in section 4 of the Intestates' Estates Ordinance (Cap. 73), of the reasons and the law's spirit for not including such classes;

    (c)whether it will amend the legislation to increase the number of classes of successors for estates of the intestates; and

    (d)whether it will step up publicity and educate members of the public on making a will in advance for the distribution of their property?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

It has been reported recently that problems have been found in the management of some private residential care homes for the elderly ("RCHEs"), some of which have resorted to "on-the-run shifts" or "professional on-the-run staff" to pretend that they have sufficient manpower, while some others have provided their residents with vegetarian diets which cost only two to three dollars per meal per person in order to cut their catering expenditure. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of regular inspections and surprise inspections conducted by the authorities on private RCHEs last year;

    (b)of the criteria adopted by the authorities for arranging surprise inspections; and

    (c)whether during inspections on private RCHEs in the past three years, the authorities had uncovered cases of RCHEs resorting to "on-the-run shifts" or "professional on-the-run staff" to pretend that they had sufficient manpower; if so, how the authorities followed up such cases, whether they had instituted prosecutions, and of the number of prosecutions instituted?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

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

It has been learnt that the Hopewell Centre II development project ("the development") in Wan Chai includes the provision of a pedestrian walkway along the flyover connecting Kennedy Road to the development and a tunnel, and the developer may deduct the costs of the works from the land premium payable. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)apart from connecting Kennedy Road to the hotel included in the development, what other places the aforesaid pedestrian walkway will connect;

    (b)whether the pedestrian walkway is a private street;

    (c)of the details of the public's right of access to the pedestrian walkway and tunnel (including their opening hours and restrictions on the right of access to that road section);

    (d)whether it has assessed the amount of land premium to be foregone by the Government which is attributable to the pedestrian walkway and tunnel; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (e)what approach the authorities will take to regulate the construction, use and management of the pedestrian walkway and tunnel?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Environment
(in the absence of Secretary for Development)

*11. Dr Hon David LI to ask:

Regarding the reorganizations of policy bureaux of the Government Secretariat that take place from time to time, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the procedure in place to guide such reorganizations is subject to any formal review; if so, how frequently such reviews are carried out;

    (b)whether the reorganization that took effect on 1 July 2007 was subject to any post-execution review and, if so, of the nature of that review; and

    (c)whether the Government has kept records of all the complaints related to the reorganization that took effect on 1 July 2007; whether such complaints were lodged with The Ombudsman, the bureau concerned or any other arm of the Government; and whether any complaint was substantiated and necessitated changes to the procedure or operation of bureaux or government departments?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs

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

At the meeting of this Council on 21 April this year, the Secretary for Security indicated that the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme ("CIES") had brought around $50 billion of investments to Hong Kong since its implementation in October 2003. He also pointed out that CIES was just one of the ways for foreign investors to come and reside in Hong Kong. Foreign entrepreneurs may also apply to set up their businesses and reside in Hong Kong according to general employment policies. The Government will from time to time review the arrangements of CIES. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective breakdowns of the types of applicants, distribution of investments and amounts of investments each year since the implementation of CIES (set out in table form);

    (b)whether it knows the respective numbers and proportion of residential and non-residential properties among the real estates invested by admitted applicants under CIES at present; and in respect of the residential properties among them, of the average asset values and their locations, as well as the respective numbers of applicants who have leased out the properties invested by them at present, occupied the properties themselves or left them vacant;

    (c)whether it has compiled statistics on the total number of applicants since the implementation of CIES who sold the real estates invested by them within two years after admission; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (d)whether it has assessed the total number of local jobs created by the capital brought by CIES since its implementation; if it has, of the breakdown by year and job title; if not, the reasons for that;

    (e)when it will review CIES afresh and of the details (including when the review will be completed and the outcome published);

    (f)whether there is any measure to encourage applicants under CIES to invest in the asset classes that belong to the four pillar industries and the six economic areas where Hong Kong enjoyed clear advantages; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (g)whether it has assessed the impact of the rule under CIES to prescribe real estate as one of the permissible investment asset classes on the property prices in Hong Kong at present and the impact of lifting such a rule on the Hong Kong economy; if an assessment has been conducted, of the outcome; if not, whether it will conduct such an assessment; and

    (h)given that the Secretary for Security has indicated that entrepreneurs may apply to set up their businesses and reside in Hong Kong according to the general employment policies, of the classes of entrepreneurs who have applied to set up businesses and reside in Hong Kong, their areas of business, the amount of investments involved and the number of jobs created, since the implementation of such policy, as well as their contributions to the Hong Kong economy (set out in table form)?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

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

In recent years, the Transport Department ("TD") has been promoting the development of Intelligent Transport Systems ("ITS") and conducting research and development of Transport Information System in Hong Kong. Apart from gradually installing Variable Message Signs ("VMS"), it also posts closed-circuit television ("CCTV") snapshots of traffic conditions on the Internet, so as to provide information on real-time traffic conditions. Yet, quite a number of motorists have complained to me that the authorities have only installed such facilities on Hong Kong Island trunk roads and many other major traffic spots are not covered. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the locations where the aforesaid VMS and CCTV cameras which capture snapshots of traffic conditions for display on the Internet have been installed on Hong Kong Island since the implementation of the ITS, the dates on which they came into operation and the costs involved respectively; whether the authorities will install more such facilities on Hong Kong Island; if so, of the details;

    (b)given that quite a number of the CCTV cameras currently installed on Hong Kong Island are mainly for traffic monitoring purposes by government departments, of the number of such CCTV cameras, the criteria adopted by TD for determining the images of real-time traffic conditions to be displayed on the Internet; whether it will, upon strong request by the public, post on the Internet all the images captured by such CCTV cameras; if it will, of the procedure;

    (c)whether TD will, in the near future, install more VMS in areas such as Eastern and Western Mid-Levels, Pok Fu Lam, Ap Lei Chau and Deep Water Bay, etc. within a short period of time, so as to provide information on real-time traffic conditions for motorists; if not, of the reasons for that; whether district councils may install and manage such message signs on their own expenses and connect them with TD's central systems while the work of installation and maintenance, etc. is co-ordinated by TD, so as to promote the development of the ITS; and

    (d)of the Government's new plan to further develop real-time traffic condition services in Hong Kong in the future for reference or use by members of the public?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

An organization conducted a survey on social enterprises recently, and the outcome indicated that only 27.1%, 22.9% and 30.5% of the respondent social enterprises had recorded profits in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively, and some 40 social enterprises (i.e. 16%) even closed down their businesses during the survey. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) of the current measures to promote the development of social enterprises; whether it has reviewed the effectiveness of these measures as well as the overall strategies to promote such development; if it has, of the outcome; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (b)of the purpose, direction and timetable of the work of the newly established Social Enterprise Advisory Committee ("Advisory Committee"); how the Government will implement the recommendations of the Advisory Committee; whether the Advisory Committee will review the overall strategy for promoting the development of social enterprises and make new recommendations?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

With effect from the current term of the Legislative Council, Members of this Council are provided with an end-of-service gratuity and accountable medical allowance. Yet, similar remuneration package is not available to District Council members ("DC members"). In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)whether the Independent Commission on Remuneration for Members of the District Councils of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("the Independent Commission") has reviewed the remuneration package for DC members of the next term (i.e. 2012 to 2015); if it has, of the details of the provision of medical allowance and end-of-service gratuity to them; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)whether they will consider providing Mandatory Provident Fund coverage to DC members of the next term; if they will, of the details; if not, the principles for that; and

    (c)whether the Independent Commission will consider arrangements other than those in (a) and (b) to improve the remuneration package for DC members; if it will, of the details?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

Some travellers have recently relayed to me their dissatisfaction with the services provided by merchants certified under the Quality Tourism Services ("QTS") Scheme, set up by the Hong Kong Tourism Board ("HKTB"). These travellers lodged complaints with HKTB but to no avail, and the HKTB staff were also unhelpful. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the total number of merchants certified as QTS merchants each year since the launch of the QTS Scheme; the number of complaints relating to the QTS Scheme received by HKTB each year, as well as the number of QTS merchants who were disqualified because they had been the subject of complaints or the level of their services had been assessed to be below standard;

    (b)when travellers are dissatisfied with HKTB's handling of their complaints against the aforesaid merchants, what channels are available for them to request for a review; and

    (c)which government department is currently responsible for monitoring the QTS Scheme; of the specific monitoring measures; whether the authorities have requested HKTB to review the effectiveness of the QTS Scheme in response to travellers' complaints about the QTS Scheme; if they have, of the details?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

*17. Hon Mrs Regina IP to ask:
(Translation)

The Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586) stipulates that, to fulfil the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ("CITES"), anyone who imports endangered species such as Scleractinia, Antipatharia, Tubiporidae, seahorses and giant clams, etc. shall hold a licence issued by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, and a CITES certifying document from the place of origin of such species. Moreover, it has been reported that shop tenants shall hold a licence for publicly displaying and selling marine organisms which are endangered species. Yet, I have learnt that many shop tenants do not hold such licences and illegally display and sell marine organisms which are endangered species, and the trading of such marine organisms on the Internet is also rampant. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it will conduct a review on how to enhance law enforcement actions; if it will, of the details?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

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

It has been reported that recently, some street arts performers, when staging performances in the pedestrian zone in Causeway Bay, were being repeatedly complained against by members of the public for obstructing the pedestrians, and were driven away and charged by the Police. Moreover, many business promotional articles such as easy-mount frames, etc. are set up in such pedestrian zone, obstructing the use of public space by members of the public. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) given that at present the obstruction problem arising from articles such as easy-mount frames, etc. placed in the aforesaid pedestrian zone is still serious, whether the authorities had conducted regular inspections last year, so as to ensure that members of the public can make good use of public space; if so, of the details; and

    (b)given that the cultural and creative industry is one of the six industries promoted by the Government as areas where Hong Kong enjoys clear advantages, whether the authorities have planned to further promote the distinctive street arts performance culture and safeguard the right of such performers to stage performances in public spaces under lawful situations; if so, of the details of such plans?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

The Social Welfare Department announced at the end of March this year that an annual funding of $5 million would be allocated to Po Leung Kuk for implementing a Victim Support Programme for Victims of Family Violence ("the Programme") to provide victims of family violence with legal advice, emotional support and counselling services, etc. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a) how the authorities select the organizations to be funded, and why funding is allocated to a single organization;

    (b)how the authorities determine the amount of funding to be allocated; of the service contents and manpower deployment under the Programme, and how they assess the effectiveness of the Programme; and

    (c)whether similar programmes will be implemented in various districts in Hong Kong, so as to assist residents in different districts?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

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

I have learnt that when vacancies of permanent teaching posts arise within their approved teaching establishment, quite a number of aided schools recruit only contract teachers to fill such vacancies. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) of the numbers of aided primary and secondary schools which employ contract teachers to fill the permanent teaching posts within their approved teaching establishment at present, the numbers of such contract teachers, together with a breakdown by District Council district as set out in the following table:

    District Council district No. of aided secondary schools in the district Employment of contract teachers to fill permanent teaching posts within the approved teaching establishment
    (aided secondary schools)
    No. of aided primary schools in the district Employment of contract teachers to fill permanent teaching posts within the approved teaching establishment
    (aided primary schools)
    No. of schools No. of contract teachers No. of schools No. of contract teachers
    (Figures in this row are for illustration only) 30 5
    4
    3
    1
    0
    1
    3
    2
    35 3
    5
    4
    1
    2
    3



































    Total






    (b)of the various reasons for aided primary and secondary schools to employ contract teachers to fill the permanent teaching posts within their approved teaching establishment; and

    (c)how the authorities deal with or follow up the situation that some schools employ contract teachers to fill a considerable number of permanent teaching posts within their approved teaching establishment?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

* For written reply

III. Bills

First Reading

Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 2010

Second Reading (Debate to be adjourned)

Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 2010:Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

    Hon CHAN Kin-por to move the following motion:

    RESOLVED that in relation to the Dutiable Commodities (Exempted Quantities) (Amendment) Notice 2010, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 35 of 2010 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 14 April 2010, 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 2 June 2010.

  2. Medical check-ups for professional drivers

    Hon Andrew CHENG to move the following motion: (Translation)

    That quite a number of incidents of drivers feeling unwell and becoming unconscious while driving occurred in recent years, with some even resulting in traffic accidents and causing death and injury to drivers, passengers and passers-by, and this causes public concern and worry about the health conditions of professional drivers; as the health problems of professional drivers have direct impact on passenger safety, this Council urges the Government to expeditiously allocate additional resources, and study and formulate policies to motivate professional drivers to undergo regular medical check-ups to safeguard their health as well as the safety of road users, including:

    (a)to study the provision of medical check-up services for professional drivers by public medical institutions, including the Department of Health, the Hospital Authority, etc., and the workers' health centre of the Labour Department;

    (b)to consider requiring professional drivers to submit medical reports to prove that they are physically fit to drive when applying for or renewing driving licences;

    (c)to study the introduction of legislation to require all professional drivers to undergo regular medical check-ups, so as to safeguard road safety and the health of drivers;

    (d)to request the Transport Department to allocate more resources to the relevant activities, including the 'Safe Driving and Health Campaign', 'Health Check Days', etc., so that such activities can cover more professional drivers and the health checks can be conducted in a more comprehensive and thorough manner; and

    (e)to step up the relevant publicity and public education so that more professional drivers will care and know more about their own health conditions.

    Amendment to the motion
    Hon LI Fung-ying to move the following amendment:
    (Translation)

    To add ", as" after "That"; to add "being affected by excessively long working hours" after "the health conditions of professional drivers"; to add "ensure that professional drivers have sufficient rest time and" after "formulate policies to"; to delete "workers' health centre" after "etc., and the" and substitute with "Occupational Safety and Health Centre"; to delete "consider requiring professional drivers to submit medical reports to prove" after "(b) to" and substitute with "urge employers to ensure that professional drivers have sufficient rest time and"; to delete "when applying for or renewing driving licences" after "fit to drive"; and to delete "study the introduction of legislation to require" after "(c) to" and substitute with "encourage".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Transport and Housing

  3. Improving air quality

    Hon KAM Nai-wai to move the following motion: (Translation)

    That air quality in Hong Kong is deteriorating by the day, posing a serious threat to public health, and during the onslaught of 'sandstorm' earlier, many districts recorded an Air Pollution Index ('API') reading at the 'severe' level of 500; the 'sandstorm' has not only exposed the 'belated awareness' of the Administration, but also highlighted the shortcomings in its early warning mechanism; quite a number of local and overseas studies have pointed out the close relationship between the severity of air pollution and the mortality rate; in this connection, this Council requests the Administration to make protection of public health its primary policy objective in tackling the problem of air pollution, and urges it to:

    (a)immediately conduct a review on its sluggish response in this 'sandstorm' incident, and improve the early warning mechanism and warning signals, so as to enable members of the public to be aware of the warning messages about air quality as early as possible;

    (b)in respect of the situations where API reaches 'extremely severe' and 'severe' levels, formulate specific guidelines, including implementation of measures to suspend schools and arrange for workers who need to work outdoors for long hours to suspend work, etc. so as to protect the health of school children and the underprivileged, such as people with chronic illness, the elderly and workers working outdoors, in situations where the pollution is serious;

    (c)designate 'low emission zones' in areas with serious air pollution and restrict the entry of heavy diesel vehicles with high emissions into such zones, so as to improve air quality at the street level;

    (d)provide funding support for the franchised bus companies to scrap and replace earlier their franchised buses with high emissions, such as buses which are Euro II or below, so as to improve roadside air quality;

    (e)adopt the most stringent standards of the World Health Organization's air quality guidelines as Hong Kong's air quality objectives, and undertake to conduct regular review of the objectives in the future;

    (f)improve the 'To Replace Pre-Euro and Euro I Diesel Commercial Vehicles by New Commercial Vehicles - Incentive Scheme' and the scheme for the replacement of Euro II diesel commercial vehicles mentioned in the Budget of this year, including allowing those vehicle owners who just write off their vehicles to receive subsidies under the schemes; and

    (g)strengthen the co-operation and co-ordination with Guangdong Province on the improvement of air quality, including improving mutual notification and early warning mechanisms.

    Amendments to the motion
    (i)Hon Audrey EU to move the following amendment: (Translation)

    To add ", as" after "That"; to add "particularly regarding the emission of sulphur dioxide and fine suspended particulates," after "the day,"; to delete "and" after "under the schemes;"; and to add "; (h) in areas other than the Kai Tak Development Area, widely promote the use of district cooling system to enhance energy efficiency and achieve emission reduction; and (i) improve town planning and urban design to improve air ventilation and reduce the accumulation of air pollutants in urban areas, such as expediting the review of the Outline Zoning Plans of various districts to revise the planning parameters, formulating 'air ventilation objectives', studying making 'air ventilation assessment' and 'air ventilation guidelines' statutory requirements, so as to strengthen the regulation of the impact of private developments on the surrounding environment" immediately before the full stop.

    (ii)Hon Cyd HO to move the following amendment: (Translation)

    To add ", as" after "That"; to delete "the shortcomings in its" after "highlighted" and substitute with "its shortcoming of lacking an"; to delete "improve the" after "incident, and" and substitute with "establish an"; to delete "regular" after "to conduct"; to add "once every three years" after "the objectives"; to delete "; and" after "under the schemes" and substitute with ", increasing the amount of the subsidies and offering other tax concessions, etc.;"; to delete "Guangdong Province" after "co-ordination with" and substitute with "neighbouring regions"; and to add ", and through discussion gradually raise the air quality measurement objectives in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province, so as to achieve the target of meeting the ultimate air quality guidelines set by the World Health Organization; and (h) in respect of the situations where API reaches the 'severe' level, establish an inter-departmental mechanism to co-ordinate the work of government departments responsible for health care and social welfare etc., so as to cope with the possible additional demand for medical consultation, emergency medical treatment and primary community services, etc" immediately before the full stop.

    Amendment to Hon Cyd HO's amendment
    Hon CHAN Hak-kan to move the following amendment:
    (Translation)

    To delete "and" before "through discussion" and substitute with "expeditiously realize air quality objectives at a level above the national standards as mentioned in the Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation; in the long run,".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for the Environment
Clerk to the Legislative Council