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A 12/13-2

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 17 October 2012 at 11:00 am

I. Taking of Legislative Council Oath

Hon WONG Yuk-man - Legislative Council Oath

II. Address by the Chief Executive

The Chief Executive to address the Council, under Rule 8(a) of the Rules of Procedure, to elaborate on his concept of governance, review progress made in the first three months of the Fourth Term Government, and outline his policy direction and work priorities in 2013.

III. Tabling of Papers


Other Papers

1.No. 2-Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund Board
Annual Report 2011-12
(to be presented by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare)

2.No. 3-West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
Annual Report 2011/2012
(to be presented by the Financial Secretary)

3.Report No. 1/12-13 of the House Committee on Consideration of Subsidiary Legislation and Other Instruments
(to be presented by Hon Andrew LEUNG, Chairman of the House Committee)

IV. Questions

1. Hon Charles Peter MOK to ask: (Translation)

The former Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development ("SCED") told this Council on 6 January 2010 that it had been the Government's established policy to encourage competition and investment as well as the adoption of innovative technologies by the broadcasting industry, and interested parties were welcomed to apply for domestic free television programme service licences ("free TV licences"). In reply to a question from a Member of this Council on 30 May this year, the incumbent SCED confirmed that the former Broadcasting Authority ("BA") had already completed its assessment of the three free TV licence applications and made its recommendations to the Chief Executive in Council, and the Executive Council was vetting the applications. Nonetheless, the authorities have not yet announced the outcome. Earlier on, there were media reports that as the SAR Government took into consideration the political worries of the Central People's Government on opening up the local television market, it might need to consider the political stance of individual applicants when processing the three applications, hence affecting the progress of vetting the applications. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)whether the Government's broadcasting policy has remained unchanged; if so, of the concrete measures the Government has in place to implement the said policy in order to achieve the objectives of encouraging competition and investment as well as the adoption of innovative technologies by the broadcasting industry;

    (b) given that the former BA had already made its recommendations on the aforesaid applications, of the factors the authorities consider at this stage in deciding whether a licence will be granted to individual applicants, and whether their political stance is a factor of consideration; whether the Government will respond to the aforesaid media reports so as to avoid undermining public confidence in the TV licensing system and to safeguard the high degree of autonomy of the SAR as well as "One Country, Two Systems"; and

    (c)of the latest progress in the vetting of the aforesaid free TV licence applications; and the expected time by which the outcome could be announced?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

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

The Chief Executive announced on 21 August this year that the Government would launch a "universal accessibility" programme ("the programme") at the end of this year under which lifts would be installed at footbridges, elevated walkways and subways, etc. in 230 places all over Hong Kong to provide barrier-free access for the elderly, persons with disabilities and children. However, some members of the industry have pointed out that the working environment and remuneration packages of the engineers and workers currently engaged in the installation, repair works and maintenance of lifts and escalators ("practitioners") are unsatisfactory, causing brain drain and succession problems. They have further pointed out that although the Lifts and Escalators Ordinance, planned to be fully implemented in December this year, will improve the registration and monitoring system of lift and escalator practitioners, the authorities have not taken any corresponding measure to help the industry ease the brain drain and train new blood. Some members of the public have expressed to me their worries that the shortage of personnel may affect the progress of the programme as well as the maintenance and repair works of the lifts and escalators concerned. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)of the number of competent lift and escalator practitioners at present and their turnover rates in the past three years; and the number of practitioners required under the programme as assessed by the authorities; if no such assessment has been made, of the reasons for that; whether there are adequate competent practitioners available to tie in with the implementation of the programme and the maintenance and repair works concerned in future;

    (b) whether there are measures in place to improve the working environment and remuneration packages of lift and escalator practitioners, so as to ease the brain drain and recruit new blood; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it has helped the industry to train new blood; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; whether the authorities will consider training more new blood for the industry through the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education or other tertiary institutions to ensure that there will not be any succession problems?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

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

Since the one-off reduction of the maximum levels of rent allowance ("MRA") under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance ("CSSA") Scheme by 15.8% in 2003, only a slight upward adjustment has been made this year. For instance, the monthly MRA for singleton has been increased from $1,265 to $1,335. Some CSSA recipients have told me that as the rent allowance is insufficient to cover the soaring rent payment (e.g. the monthly rent for a cubicle apartment in Sham Shui Po now costs $1,600), they have to resort to saving on food and clothing to make up for the shortfalls in rents, affecting their livelihood and health. According to a document from the Social Welfare Department ("SWD") as quoted in the press, among the CSSA households receiving rent allowances, the ratio of cases of the actual rent payments being higher than the MRA has been increasing in recent years: 56.4% in 2009-2010, 57.4% in 2010-2011 and 60.3% in 2011-2012, reflecting that the problem is acute and worsening. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)whether it is aware of the reality that the rents of private housing are soaring and whether it has any data on the rents of cubicle apartments and sub-divided units; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; whether the Government will review the MRA immediately so as to help the recipients cope with the pressure from rising rents; if it will, of the earliest time when it will complete the review and adjust the MRA; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b) whether the Government will introduce any temporary measures during the MRA review to help the people in dire straits, such as providing extra rent allowance for them to cover the shortfalls in rent payments; if it will, of the time to implement such measures; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)as some CSSA recipients have pointed out that the Household Expenditure Survey ("HES") on CSSA Households, which is updated by SWD only once every five years, simply cannot reflect the livelihood pressure faced by them, whether SWD will change its practice and conduct the HES annually to update the weighting system of the Social Security Assistance Index of Prices; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

4. Hon IP Kin-yuen to ask:
(Translation)

According to Government information, the number of Secondary One ("S1") students in the 2013-2014 school year will drop drastically by more than 5 000. Quite a number of school principals and teachers have told me that they are extremely worried about under-enrolment in secondary schools in the coming few years, and in the face of the imminent threats of reduction in classes and closure of schools, the development of secondary schools will suffer a catastrophic impact if the authorities do not implement comprehensive stabilization measures. In fact, soon after the incumbent government officials assumed offices, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union met with the Secretary for Education to raise this issue and urge the Government to devise long-term measures to stabilize the development of secondary schools in response to one of the education objectives proposed by the Chief Executive ("CE") when he ran in the CE election, namely "to maintain stability of the education system and policies as well as allowing breathing space for the stakeholders". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)whether it will immediately commence planning to reduce the number of students per class at S1 level starting from the 2013-2014 school year, so as to progressively implement small class teaching ("SCT") with 25 students per class in all secondary schools in Hong Kong, so as to dovetail with SCT in primary schools; and whether it will immediately commence planning to improve the teacher-to-class ratio, increase the number of permanent teaching posts within the approved teaching establishment, and to provide suitable staffing and support with an aim to improving teaching quality;

    (b) given CE's pledge in his manifesto that "to ease the interim problem of under-recruitment at certain schools, we will provide more flexibility to schools to determine for themselves the class size at S1 level  Schools that fail to recruit enough students  will be permitted to operate small classes (25 students or below) catering for students who require additional attention or extra care", and that the number of S1 students will drop drastically in the 2013-2014 school year, of the progress in and the timetable for honouring such pledge by the authorities; and

    (c)whether the Education Bureau will consider not requiring schools located in districts with serious under-enrolment to cease operation if they can operate two S1 classes, and freezing the teaching establishment of such schools to maintain the manpower for offering a sufficient number of subjects for students to choose under the New Senior Secondary curriculum?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

5. Hon James TO to ask:
(Translation)

At a luncheon hosted by the Hong Kong Public Administration Association on 27 September 2012, the Chief Secretary for Administration ("CS") said, "You just imagine the pressure that public services are put under with all these institutions, checks and balances, all that Ombudsman, ICAC, not that they are bad, as I said, sometimes these things are good. These are the safeguards of any civic society. But if they become a major hurdle because we don't know how to deal with them, then, at the end of the day what would suffer would be the Government's executive ability to deliver things". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)whether it has assessed, apart from the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Office of The Ombudsman, what other institutions are suitable for assuming the role of monitoring or providing checks and balances against the Government, and what others are not suitable for assuming such a role; if it has, of the outcome; and its explanation of the circumstances under which these monitoring institutions are good or otherwise;

    (b) whether, in her remarks that "if they become a major hurdle because we don't know how to deal with them, then, at the end of the day what would suffer would be the Government's executive ability to deliver things", CS was referring to incidents which already happened or which have not yet happened, and which government officials do not know how to deal with the monitoring institutions; and

    (c)given that it has been reported in the press that various sectors of the community have criticized that CS's aforesaid remarks undermined the independence of the monitoring institutions, whether the Government will request CS to withdraw the aforesaid remarks and apologize to the public?
Public Officer to reply : The Chief Secretary for Administration

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

The SAR Government of the last term started to provide paid paternity leave to eligible male employees on 1 April this year, and it also conducted a study on legislating for the provision of paternity leave. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)of the respective numbers of civil servants and non-civil service contract staff who applied for and were granted paternity leave since 1 April this year;

    (b) whether it knows the number of public and subvented organizations that provide paid paternity leave to their employees at present; the percentage of such number in the total number of public and subvented organizations; the total number of the employees concerned who are entitled to paid paternity leave, and the number of days of paternity leave they can take each time; and

    (c)given that during his election campaign, the Chief Executive had pledged that he would progressively extend the system of providing paternity leave to the subvented and private sectors after being elected to the office, of the authorities' plans to honour such pledge, as well as the timeframe and the relevant details; if they do not have such plans and timeframe, of the reasons for that?
Public Officers to reply: Secretary for Labour and Welfare
Secretary for the Civil Service

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

On 8 September this year, the Chief Executive ("CE") announced changes to the policy on the Moral and National Education ("MNE") subject. Under the new policy, school sponsoring bodies and schools may exercise discretion to decide whether the subject should be introduced and whether it should be introduced as an independent subject, and no deadline would be set for implementing the subject. In addition, the Moral and National Education Support Grant of $530,000 disbursed to each school may be used on subjects other than the MNE subject. Schools which implement the MNE subject may also determine by themselves the modes and schedule for its implementation. CE then indicated to the media on 8 October that the recommendation of the Committee on the Initiation of Moral and National Education Subject to shelve the Curriculum Guide of the MNE subject ("Curriculum Guide") was accepted, but there was no need to withdraw the subject. As the matter now stands, quite a number of people and groups in the community are still demanding the Government to withdraw the subject. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)whether it will conduct another round of public consultation on issues relating to the implementation of the MNE subject; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b) whether it has assessed the impact of withdrawing the subject on the development of education in the short, medium and long term and on the development of young people; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (c)whether it has assessed the impact of shelving the Curriculum Guide on the implementation of the subject; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (d)whether it has assessed if the withdrawal of the subject will cause confrontations and deep-rooted conflicts among school sponsoring bodies, the education sector, the SAR Government and the State; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (e)whether it has assessed the impact of withdrawing the subject on the implementation of policies by and the governance credibility of the SAR Government; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (f)how it ensures that there are adequate quality teachers in schools to implement the subject; whether it will increase the number of related training courses; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (g)whether it has assessed the impact of the aforesaid change of policy on the implementation of the subject by school sponsoring bodies and schools; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (h)whether it knows the number of schools which have decided to introduce the subject so far, as well as their modes and schedules for implementation, with the number and names of such schools broken down by school zone;

    (i)whether it has assessed the impact of shelving the Curriculum Guide on school sponsoring bodies and schools which have already implemented the subject; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (j)whether it has assessed if it will be unfair to schools which have implemented or plan to implement the subject when all schools are given the grant of $530,000 regardless of whether they will implement the subject or not; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (k)whether it has assessed if it needs to increase the amount of Moral and National Education Subject Support Grant after the Curriculum Guide has been shelved, so as to provide more resources to schools for compiling teaching materials on their own; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (l)given that schools may exercise discretion in making reference to any curriculum guides or developing their own teaching materials when implementing the subject, how the Government ensures the quality of the teaching materials of the schools;

    (m)whether it has planned to help relieve the pressure from the community and public opinion on school sponsoring bodies or schools which have already implemented the subject; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (n)whether it has received any requests for assistance from school sponsoring bodies or schools intending to implement the subject which indicated that they were forced to abandon the idea as they could not stand the pressure from the community and public opinion; if it has, of the details and the assistance to be provided by the authorities for them in facilitating the smooth implementation of the subject;

    (o)whether any measures are in place to encourage more school sponsoring bodies or schools to implement the subject; if there are such measures, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (p)whether it will assess and review the effectiveness of the implementation of the subject; if it will not, of the reasons for that; if it will, the time to do so and the details?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

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

Some elderly concern groups have pointed out that many policies and services for the elderly have failed to meet the needs of the elderly. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it will adopt the following improvement measures pursuant to those views:
  • (a)to waive the means test for the elderly aged 70 or above applying for the Old Age Living Allowance Scheme;

    (b) to increase the amount of elderly health care vouchers to $2,000 per year and lower the minimum age limit for elderly recipients to 65;

    (c)given that quite a number of elderly people have difficulties in understanding and following the pre-recorded instructions of the telephone booking service in the general out-patient clinics of the Hospital Authority to make a booking and many of them would rather line up in person outside the clinics early in the morning to obtain a consultation quota, to resume the provision of person-to-person telephone booking service in out-patient clinics, to add a person-to-person dialogue option to the existing telephone booking service, or to reinstate the option of queuing up in person for consultation quotas; and

    (d)to designate in future areas inside the libraries of newly completed government complexes, including the Library in Lam Tin Complex which will be opened soon, as "elderly corners" and to provide elderly-friendly facilities therein, such as magnifiers, height-adjustable desks and armchairs?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

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

Quite a number of members of the public relayed to me on 9 September 2012, the polling day of the Legislative Council Election, that when they went to the polling stations to vote, the polling staff inside told them, after verifying their personal particulars, that someone else had previously cast votes using their identity. However, these members of the public had not entered the polling stations to vote at an earlier time. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)of the number of cases received on 9 September 2012 in which the identity of electors were allegedly used by others in voting, and the respective numbers of cases for each polling station;

    (b) of the reasons for the problem mentioned in (a) above; and

    (c)whether the authorities will take measures to prevent the recurrence of the aforesaid problem; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs

*10. Dr Hon CHIANG Lai-wan to ask:
(Translation)

Some owners of old buildings who participated in the "Operation Building Bright" ("the Operation") or similar schemes have indicated that shortly after the completion of maintenance works of their buildings, they received fire safety improvement directions and fire safety compliance orders ("directions and orders") issued under the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance (Cap. 572) and the Buildings Department's statutory notices for inspecting buildings and windows. While the former requires owners to install facilities such as fire services sprinkler systems and fire services water tanks, the latter requires owners to appoint Qualified Persons to inspect and repair their buildings. Such owners have pointed out that the objectives of the two measures are almost identical to those of the Operation in enhancing building structure and fire safety, and generally speaking, upon completion of works under the Operation, the buildings concerned should be able to comply with the relevant statutory requirements. They have pointed out that owners have to pay maintenance fees for three times because the same item of works are enforced by the authorities on three occasions, and such an arrangement is not acceptable to them. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)whether it has investigated if the aforesaid situations are true; if the outcome of the investigation is in the affirmative, why some of the buildings with building maintenance works financed by the Operation already completed still failed to comply with the statutory requirements; if the outcome of the investigation is in the negative, whether the authorities will consider re-launching the Operation to help owners of old buildings who have never applied for any similar schemes or grants to repair their buildings, so that they will not be prosecuted by the authorities for their failure to comply with the aforesaid orders and statutory notices;

    (b) given that the aforesaid affected owners have indicated that most of them are elderly people who have received the grants for repair works under the Operation, and they can no longer afford to pay additional maintenance expenses, whether the authorities have other schemes or grants to help them solve the aforesaid maintenance problems;

    (c)of the measures put in place by the authorities to minimize the inconvenience caused to the residents by the arrangements made by the aforesaid government departments; and

    (d)of the number of directions and orders issued to owners of old buildings who have completed works under the Operation, broken down by District Council districts?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

*11. Dr Hon LAU Wong-fat to ask:
(Translation)

A coal conveyor belt at Castle Peak Power Station of CLP Power Hong Kong Limited, together with its metal frames, collapsed in July this year. In respect of this incident, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)whether it knows the total number of similar metal frames inside the aforesaid power station and their designed service life;

    (b) of the government department responsible for monitoring the structural safety of those structures, and whether any inspection has been carried out recently;

    (c)of the cause(s) of the incident; and

    (d)of the number of similar structures in Hong Kong at present and the procedure adopted by the authorities for monitoring those structures?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

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

Some parents of school children have told me that the serious shortage of school bus services has led to soaring fares, thus increasing their burden. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)how the shortfall in school bus services could be alleviated, such as whether the licence fee for school buses will be waived to attract more operators to provide such services; and

    (b) whether the imbalance of school bus services is under regular review and long-term planning has been made; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

*13. Hon Abraham SHEK to ask:


According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 of the World Economic Forum ("the Report"), Hong Kong's position (ranked 9th) in the overall rankings of the Global Competitiveness Index among 144 countries/economies was up two places from last year. Yet, Hong Kong is still the second placed Asian economy behind Singapore which ranks No. 2 worldwide. In the Report, it is recommended that Hong Kong should continue to improve in two important areas, namely higher education and innovation in order to maintain its competitiveness. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)given that Hong Kong's participation rate in education remains below levels found in other advanced economies, whether the Government will further increase the number of publicly funded undergraduate places in University Grants Committee-funded institutions, and make reference to Singapore's experience in providing favourable remuneration packages and other incentives to attract renowned academics to stay and work in Hong Kong;

    (b) given that the Report has pointed out that Hong Kong's innovative capacity remains constrained by the limited availability of scientists and engineers, whether the Government will consider continuing the measures already introduced and introducing new measures to foster talents, particularly in the areas of science and engineering; and

    (c)as the Report has revealed that the five most problematic factors for doing business in Hong Kong are inflation, insufficient capacity to innovate, inefficient government bureaucracy, inadequately educated workforce and access to financing, whether the Government has introduced or will introduce targeted measures to address these problems; if it has introduced or will introduce measures, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

*14. Dr Hon Kenneth CHAN to ask:
(Translation)

As the electricity tariffs charged by the Hongkong Electric Company Limited ("HKE") have remained higher than those charged by the CLP Power Hong Kong Limited ("CLP") for years, with a difference amounting to 30%, the burden of electricity tariffs on the residents and small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") on Hong Kong Island is higher than that on the residents and SMEs in other districts. Next year, the Government will carry out an interim review of the Scheme of Control Agreements ("SCAs") signed with the two power companies. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it will:
  • (a)commence discussions with the two power companies to request them to revise the mechanism for calculating electricity tariffs, so as to encourage their customers to reduce electricity consumption, enhance energy efficiency and reduce expenditure on electricity tariffs at the same time; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b) consider reviewing the current level of permitted rate of return that the two power companies are entitled to and the methods of calculating such rate when carrying out the interim review of SCAs, so as to reduce the permitted return of the two power companies and alleviate the tariff increase pressure; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and at the same time, whether the Government will consider establishing a stronger link between the emission performance of the two power companies and their permitted rate of return, so as to raise the existing requirements on the emission performance of the two power companies; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (c)consider studying specific measures immediately with a view to narrowing the difference between the electricity tariffs of HKE and CLP and take the initiative to discuss with the two power companies on such matter; if it will, of the specific details of the efforts to be made in this respect; if not, the reasons for that;

    (d)consider commencing policy studies immediately on opening up the electricity market, so as to prepare for the introduction of more participants into the electricity market upon the expiry of the current SCAs, and materialize the segregation of the generation sector from the network sector; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (e)consider adjusting the mechanism for calculating the permitted return when carrying out the interim review of SCAs, so as to provide more incentives for the two power companies to use more renewable energy sources and waste-to-energy technology in electricity generation; if it will, of the details?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

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

Parallel trade activities have become increasingly frequent in recent years in the North District, and the situation in Sheung Shui MTR Station and its vicinity is most acute. Such activities impede residents' access to the MTR station, worsen the environmental hygiene of nearby areas, and jack up commodity prices in the district. It has been reported that, despite the Government's announcement on 18 September this year of launching a number of combating measures, parallel trade syndicates have simply changed their modus operandi, and their various impacts on the district persist. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)whether it has grasped information on the number of people engaged in parallel trade activities at present; of the proportions of Hong Kong people and Mainlanders among them; the number of people prosecuted and convicted in the past three years for engaging in parallel trade activities, the details of such cases and the types and total values of goods thus confiscated;

    (b) of the laws currently invoked by the law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong at present to combat parallel trade activities and the people engaging in such activities; the details of intelligence exchanges between the two places and their joint operations, including whether the Hong Kong Government knows which laws are invoked by the law enforcement agencies on the Mainland to combat such activities and people;

    (c)given that some parallel trade activities have recently been shifted to districts such as Fanling and Tai Po, etc., how the law enforcement agencies adjust their strategy in combating such activities; whether they will increase manpower shortly and step up its efforts to combat parallel trade activities; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that and how they deploy manpower;

    (d)in the past three years, whether the MTR Corporation Limited ("MTRCL") had refused passengers' entry to the paid areas or boarding MTR trains because they were carrying excessive quantity of items or oversized items; if it had, of the relevant figures, broken down by railway line; if not, the reasons for that; how MTRCL ties in with the Government's combating efforts;

    (e)given that some parallel trade syndicates have rented and used residential units as warehouses and for distribution of goods, how the law enforcement agencies gather relevant intelligence and combat such activities;

    (f)how the inter-departmental working group led by the Chief Secretary for Administration evaluates the effectiveness of the various combating measures so far; and

    (g)whether it will consider requesting the mainland authorities to impose restrictions on Mainlanders who make multiple trips between the Mainland and Hong Kong within the same day, so as to reduce their opportunities for engaging in parallel trade activities; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

*16. Hon WU Chi-wai to ask:
(Translation)

In reply to a question from a Member of this Council in July this year, the Government indicated that 2 153.7 hectares and 777.7 hectares of vacant government land have been designated respectively for "residential" and "government, institution or community ("G/IC")" uses. It has been reported that the Secretary for Development has indicated in September this year that excluding the 1 200 hectares of land zoned "Village Type Development" reserved for development of New Territories small houses, as well as 420 hectares of land covering slopes and roads which are not suitable for development, there are only 480 hectares of residential sites; if the 167 hectares of residential sites which may be provided in the North East New Territories New Development Areas are further excluded, only 313 hectares will remain. Officials of the Development Bureau subsequently explained that the 1 200 hectares of "Village Type Development" sites will not be used solely for small house development. In addition, in reply to a Member's question in 2010, the Government also indicated that "as at 31 May 2010, there are approximately close to 268 hectares of potential supply of private residential sites". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)of the definition of "vacant residential land" when the term was mentioned in the Government's replies to Members' questions and public remarks, and whether the definition covers land which, for the time being, cannot be put to immediate use because certain works projects (e.g. the Hong Kong section of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Shatin to Central Link) are being carried out, as well as land which can be used for residential development pending site formation works; given that the Government has planned to use the Anderson Road Quarry which is currently designated for "Other Specified Uses" for residential development, and construct public rental housing ("PRH") at North West Kowloon Reclamation Site 6 currently designated as a "Comprehensive Development Area", whether land lots under these two categories of uses have already been listed as "vacant residential land"; if not, of the number of such land lots for which long-term housing planning is being conducted, as well as their exact locations, project titles and total area;

    (b) regarding the vacant government land available for residential development, of the respective hectares of land lots which (i) have been included in the List of Sites for Sale by Application; (ii) have already been allocated to the Hong Kong Housing Authority ("HA") for PRH development; (iii) are on lease under short-term tenancies; (iv) are currently under post-site formation study on whether they should be put on the market for sale or allocated to HA; (v) have not yet been planned for any development despite the completion of site formation works; (vi) have never been covered by any site formation works or planning; and (vii) are currently under long-term planning;

    (c)among the land lots in (b), of the respective hectares of land for which all advance works and procedures may be completed for residential development within one year, one to three years, four to six years and in more than six years' time, with a breakdown by District Council district;

    (d)given that the Chief Executive announced earlier that 36 G/IC sites would be rezoned for residential use, of the number of such sites which are currently vacant and their sizes; among the 777.7 hectares of vacant G/IC sites, of the sizes of sites suitable for constructing residential buildings or youth hostels, with a breakdown by District Council district;

    (e)among the aforesaid 313 hectares of land, of the respective hectares of land available for PRH and private residential development; and how such figures compare with the relevant figures provided in the reply to a Member's question in 2010;

    (f)given that in reply to a Member on 12 March 2012, the Government indicated that "there are about 3 147 hectares of land zoned ‘Village Type Development' (‘V') …… The planning intention of the ‘V' zone is to reserve land for village house development", why such figure differs from the latest relevant figures provided by the Development Bureau; of the Government's present estimation on the hectare of "Village Type Development" sites which needs to be reserved for small house development, and the assumptions and criteria for making such an estimation; whether the Government has conducted any studies on rezoning some such sites for residential use; and

    (g)given the variations in the land reserve figures provided by the Government recently, whether the Government has considered providing to this Council and the public a detailed account of the relevant figures and information on land planning in various districts?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

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

Less than one month after their official launching, all the seven digital audio channels of Digital Broadcasting Corporation Hong Kong Limited ("DBC") had discontinued their broadcasting services earlier. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)of the latest development of the aforesaid discontinuation of broadcasting services as well as the sequence of events leading to the incident; whether it has assessed the impact of the discontinuation on the public;

    (b) whether the authorities have conducted any communication with DBC on the possible discontinuation and carried out any mediations, etc., so as to avoid the discontinuation of broadcasting services which will deprive the public of the choice of listening to audio broadcasting programmes of high sound quality and originality; if they have not, of the reasons for that, whether they have assessed if their failure to respond is contrary to the policy direction of the authorities in promoting and publicizing the development of digital broadcasting, and is not fair to small enterprises which have imported digital radio sets as well as members of the public who have bought digital radio sets in response to the Government's appeal; and

    (c)whether it has assessed the impact of the discontinuation of broadcasting services on the future development of digital broadcasting in Hong Kong; if it has, of the results, including whether the remaining two digital audio broadcasting corporations, which have not yet launched their services officially, will be affected; whether the authorities will consider intervening proactively at this stage in the discontinuation of broadcasting services by DBC's digital audio channels and carrying out mediation, etc., so as to assist them in resuming broadcasting expeditiously, thereby enabling the public to continue to have more choices in listening to audio broadcasting programmes of originality, and facilitating the sustainable development of digital broadcasting in Hong Kong?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

*18. Hon Gary FAN to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that as mentioned by the Secretary for Development openly in September this year, the Government has 2 100 hectares of vacant land for residential use at present, of which 1 200 hectares zoned "Village Type Development" can be used for low-density residential development, including New Territories small houses; and excluding that portion of land and the area covering slopes and roads which are not suitable for development as well as the 167 hectares of residential sites in North East New Territories, less than 400 hectares of land is available for residential development throughout Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)of the area of the aforesaid "Village Type Development" sites which have been reserved for building small houses, as well as the area of land granted in the past five years and the estimated area of land to be granted in the next five years for building small houses, broken down by District Council district;

    (b) after excluding the land reserved for building small houses, whether the Government will consider changing the use of the remaining "Village Type Development" sites for public housing development; if it will not, of the reasons for that; and

    (c)of the Government's justifications for not first utilizing the vacant government land currently available for residential development but instead conducting the North East New Territories New Development Areas Planning and Engineering Study, which can supply only 167 hectares of residential sites?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

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

Article 6 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stipulates that "States Parties recognize that women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination, and in this regard shall take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by them of all human rights and fundamental freedoms". In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
  • (a)whether the authorities have assessed if women with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination, and if there is a need to formulate policies and services targeting at their special needs; if an assessment has been made, whether it is based on a negative assessment result that the Government has stated in its initial report submitted to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations ("the Committee") that "[w]omen with disabilities receive rehabilitation services and assistance provided under RPP [the Hong Kong Rehabilitation Programme Plan] on an equal basis as other persons with disabilities"; whether the authorities have assessed, with the aid of the Gender Mainstreaming Checklist, if RPP has taken into account the different needs and perspectives of both genders; if so, of the outcome; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b) given that some service organizations providing support for women who were victims of sexual violence have found that the proportion of mentally retarded and mentally ill women subjected to sexual abuse is higher than that of other women, whether the authorities will collect information on sexual abuse of such women, study hidden cases and enhance measures to protect these women from sexual violence; and

    (c)given that government officials indicated at the Committee's meeting to consider the report submitted by Hong Kong that consideration would be given to appointing a woman with disabilities to be a member of the Women's Commission, when the authorities will make the relevant decision and what criteria they will adopt for selecting this person?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

*20. Hon Kenneth LEUNG to ask:


The Government has introduced measures such as the abolition of estate duty and offshore fund tax exemption in an attempt to facilitate Hong Kong to develop into the premier fund management centre in Asia. It has been reported that this fund management centre role has been challenged by Singapore recently as Singapore has a more accommodating legal and tax regime to cater not only for fund managers but also for funds which seek to establish and to domicile in Singapore. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  • (a)of the respective numbers of investment advisers and asset managers who were licensed or registered, between 2007 and 2011, for Type 4 and Type 9 regulated activities in Hong Kong under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571), and the respective numbers of such investment advisers and asset managers who have given up their licences or registration;

    (b) whether the Government has any legislative timeframe to amend the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32) to facilitate the establishment of Open-ended Investment Companies ("OEIC");

    (c)whether the Government has any plan to introduce new legislation to establish other forms of collective investment vehicles (e.g. limited liability partnership) apart from OEIC; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (d)whether the Government has any plan to introduce profits tax exemption for onshore funds; if not, of the reasons for that; and

    (e)whether the Inland Revenue Department will be prepared to make further clarification of paragraph 33 of the Departmental Interpretation and Practice Notes No. 43 on whether investments in bond funds and similar products all within the definition of "specified transaction" and are exempted from profits tax?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

* For written reply

V. Members' Motions

1.Proposed resolution under section 34(4) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance

Hon Andrew LEUNG to move the following motion:

Resolved
that in relation to the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Public Pleasure Grounds) (Amendment of Fourth Schedule) (No. 2) Order 2012, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 109 of 2012, and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 11 July 2012, the period for amending subsidiary legislation referred to in section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) and deemed to be extended under section 34(3) of that Ordinance, be extended under section 34(4) of that Ordinance to the meeting of 7 November 2012.

2.Urging the Government to withdraw the curriculum guide of Moral and National Education subject and requesting the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie NG, to step down

Hon IP Kin-yuen to move the following motion:
(Translation)

That, given the Government's introduction of the Moral and National Education subject in primary and secondary schools, despite the public's strong queries about the objective of the subject being political indoctrination and brainwashing education, the Government still adamantly refuses to withdraw the curriculum guide of the Moral and National Education subject, this Council strongly condemns the Government for disregarding public opinion, and urges the Government to immediately withdraw the curriculum guide of the Moral and National Education subject; the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie NG, has seriously mishandled the incident, including repeatedly refusing to have open dialogue with teachers, parents and students opposing the introduction of the Moral and National Education subject while selectively listening to supporters' views only, and saying that the silent majority not participating in the parades are in support of national education, and the number of protesters is not important; Eddie NG's acts and remarks in the incident have caused intense public discontent and indignation, leading to the continuous deterioration of the incident and confrontation between the Government and the public; in addition, a survey conducted by the Public Opinion Programme of the University of Hong Kong has shown that the net support rating of Eddie NG has dropped to minus 32%, which is the worst among the 12 Directors of Bureaux; Eddie NG lacks the commitment, credibility and competence that accountability officials should have; in this connection, this Council urges Eddie NG to bear political responsibility for the incident, take the blame and step down; in addition, given that the Chief Executive, Mr LEUNG Chun-ying, has mishandled the incident, failed to pro-actively respond to public opinion and triggered public resentment, this Council expresses regret at Mr LEUNG Chun-ying.

Amendments to the motion
(i)Dr Hon Kenneth CHAN to move the following amendment: (Translation)

To delete "," after "That" and substitute with "Hong Kong is a civil society that emphasizes freedom of thought and academic freedom, and the cultivation of independent thinking of the next generation and building up of their universal values are of utmost importance to safeguarding Hong Kong's core values;"; and to add ", and formulate concrete policies and allocate resources for implementing comprehensive history education and civic education" after "immediately withdraw the curriculum guide of the Moral and National Education subject".

(ii)Hon Frederick FUNG to move the following amendment: (Translation)

To delete "given the Government's introduction of" after "That," and substitute with "over the past several months, the Government has seriously disregarded public opinion regarding the issue of introducing"; to add "and" after "schools,"; to delete "and" after "to public opinion" and substitute with ","; and to add "followed the Central Authorities' lead under the guise of governing authority and efficiency, neglected public feelings and placed the Central Authorities' position above the interests and core values of the general public of Hong Kong," after "resentment,".

(iii)Hon LEUNG Kwok-hung to move the following amendment: (Translation)

To delete "withdraw the curriculum guide of the Moral and National Education subject" after "immediately" and substitute with "abolish the Moral and National Education subject".

Public Officers to attend: The Chief Secretary for Administration
Secretary for Education

3.Legislating for the regulation of working hours

Hon CHEUNG Kwok-che to move the following motion:
(Translation)

That this Council urges the Government to introduce a bill on the regulation of working hours within this legislative session, the contents of which must include the number of standard weekly working hours and overtime pay.

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

To add ", given the last Government's failure to honour its undertaking to complete a study report within its term of office on standard working hours and submitting it to the Legislative Council," after "That"; to add "immediately and truthfully submit the relevant report to the Legislative Council, set a clear timetable for the eventual implementation of standard working hours, and" after "urges the Government to"; and to add ", maximum hours of overtime work" after "standard weekly working hours".

(ii)Hon KWOK Wai-keung to move the following amendment: (Translation)

To add ", given that minimum wage and standard working hours must complement each other in order to maximize the effect of protecting the wage-earning class at large and facilitating Hong Kong's economic development, this Council urges the Government to, having regard to the well-being of employees at large, spare no efforts in making preparations for enacting legislation on standard working hours and expeditiously implement the relevant tasks, including: (a) regarding the preparation work such as surveys and studies on legislating for standard working hours, etc., to establish a dedicated committee comprising representatives of the Government, employees, employers and academics; (b) to present a topical report at each meeting of the Panel on Manpower of the Legislative Council for discussion, and report to the Labour Advisory Board on the progress, so as to strengthen the Legislative Council's function of monitoring the Government on the one hand, and increase the transparency of the relevant work on the other, with a view to enabling the public and the labour sector to know the progress of the studies; (c) to proactively understand the views of the trade unions of various industries and the relevant stakeholders on standard working hours; and (d) through various forms of publicity and education, to increase the public's knowledge and understanding of standard working hours; at the same time," after "That"; and to add "also" after "this Council".

(iii)Hon SIN Chung-kai to move the following amendment: (Translation)

To add ", given that the problem of overtime work among Hong Kong people is serious," after "That"; to delete "and" after "standard weekly working hours" and substitute with "being 44 hours, the"; and to add "at least 1.5 times the normal pay, and the maximum number of weekly working hours being 60 hours, with a view to complying with the ‘family-friendly policies' and assisting Hong Kong people in balancing work and family life" immediately before the full stop.

(iv)Dr Hon CHIANG Lai-wan to move the following amendment: (Translation)

To delete "this Council urges the Government to introduce a bill on the regulation of working hours within this legislative session, the contents of which must include" after "That" and substitute with ", given that the Government has announced the establishment of a dedicated committee on standard working hours (‘the committee'), this Council requests that the committee must include in its composition representatives of employers, employees, academics and the Government, etc., and commence work expeditiously to thoroughly study the various details on regulating working hours, including"; and to delete "and overtime pay" immediately before the full stop and substitute with ", maximum number of working hours, overtime compensation and industry-based exemption provisions, etc.; this Council urges the Government to expeditiously take appropriate measures after the committee has reached a consensus, including the drafting of legislation and formulation of related guidelines, to implement the committee's decisions; besides, this Council also requests the Government to expeditiously submit the study report on standard working hours for discussion by the committee and the public".

(v)Hon Michael TIEN to move the following amendment: (Translation)

To delete "within this legislative session, the contents of which must include the number of standard weekly working hours and overtime pay" immediately before the full stop and substitute with "after sufficient consultation with all industries and trades, and pay regard to the actual working environments and needs of different industries when formulating the bill, so as to ensure the feasibility of the legislation in the future; the bill must also properly deal with problems such as the definition of working hours and overtime pay, etc".

(vi)Hon Kenneth LEUNG to move the following amendment: (Translation)

To add "launch a public consultation on the enactment of legislation to regulate working hours within this legislative session and to" after "urges the Government to"; to add "in the 2013-2014 legislative session" after "introduce"; to delete "within this legislative session" after "regulation of working hours"; and to delete "weekly" after "number of standard".

(vii)Hon LEUNG Kwok-hung to move the following amendment: (Translation)

To add "; this Council considers that the number of standard weekly working hours should not exceed 40 hours; overtime pay must be 1.5 times the normal pay as compensation, and so must be compensatory leave" immediately before the full stop.

Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

4.Motion for the adjournment of the Council under Rule 16(4) of the Rules of Procedure

Dr Hon Kenneth CHAN to move the following motion:
(Translation)

That this Council do now adjourn for the purpose of debating the following issue: follow-up work relating to the 1 October maritime disaster.

Public Officers to attend:The Chief Secretary for Administration
Secretary for Transport and Housing

Clerk to the Legislative Council