COMMITTEE ON MEMBERS' INTERESTS
Notes of the meeting held on Tuesday, 6 February 1996
at 10:45 a.m. in Conference Room A, Legislative Council Building
- Hon Mrs. Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP (Chairman)
- Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
- Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
- Hon LIU Sing-lee
- Hon Mrs. Elizabeth WONG CHIEN Chi-lien, CBE, ISO, JP
- Hon YUM Sin-ling
- Mr. Jimmy MA
- Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
- Mr. LAW Wing-lok (Secretary)
- Clerk to the Committee on Members' Interests
- Mr. K.S. LAW
- Deputy Secretary General
- Mr. K. K. HO
- Senior Assistant Secretary (Council Business)1
Absent with apologies:
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
The notes of the last meeting held on 15 December 1995 were confirmed without amendment.
2. The Chairman informed the meeting that the President had approved the revised Chinese and English versions of the Registration Form proposed by the Committee at the last meeting but requested the Committee to consider whether LegCo Members should be required to sign each page of the Form.
3. After discussion, members agreed that LegCo Members should sign each and every page of the Registration Form instead of putting down their full name on all pages. The Form would be suitably modified to cater for this arrangement.
4. The Chairman said that the consultation period had expired. No submission had been received from the public. A written submission had been received from the group of LegCo Members of the Democratic Party, copies of which had been issued to members (LegCo Paper No. CB 425/95-96) before the meeting. Basically, the Democratic Party in its submission reiterated its previous viewpoints and re-affirmed its opposition to the setting up of a formal mechanism to monitor the conduct of LegCo Members. She invited members to offer their views.
5. Mrs. Elizabeth WONG remarked that the Democratic Party's submission presented some convincing arguments. She agreed with the Democratic Party's view that the proposed arrangement, under which an investigation of a complaint about a Member's misconduct could be initiated with the agreement of four members of the Committee, would not be a prudent procedure. She also shared the Democratic Party's view that it would be difficult to define what 'proper conduct' meant. She was therefore opposed to the setting up of a mechanism to monitor the conduct of LegCo Members as proposed in the Committee's report to the House Committee last year (LegCo Paper No. CB 532/94-95).
6. Mr. LIU Sing-lee said that the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL) would be in favour of the Committee issuing advisory guidelines but without investigatory powers. ADPL was of the view that unless the problems envisaged in the Democratic Party's submission could be overcome, the time was not yet right for the establishment of a formal mechanism to monitor the conduct of LegCo Members.
7. Mr. YUM Sin-ling was also of the view that it would be difficult to define misconduct. He was worried that the proposed monitoring mechanism might be used as a tool to discredit other Members. He did not support the proposal that the Committee should be given investigatory powers but had no objection to the Committee issuing advisory guidelines.
8. Miss Emily LAU commented that the worries expressed by some members were understandable but she pointed out that the Standing Orders already provided an avenue for the establishment of a select committee to investigate a Member's misconduct. She considered that the proposals as set out in LegCo Paper No. CB 532/94-95 on the introduction of measures to monitor the conduct of LegCo Members should be further debated in the Council so that new Members could have an opportunity to discuss this important issue.
9. In response to members, Deputy Secretary General said that the Council could by resolution appoint a select committee to consider any matters including specific complaints about LegCo Members' misconduct under SO 61. Senior Assistant Legal Adviser added that the power for such a select committee to order attendance of witnesses to give evidence would also have to be authorized by way of a resolution passed by the Council.
10. Mr. HO Mun-ka also felt that the existing arrangement as explained by Deputy Secretary General and Senior Assistant Legal Advisor was already adequate and would guard against abuses as the appointment of a select committee would be subject to the approval of the Council.
11. The Chairman said that the fundamental question was whether a formal mechanism should be introduced to monitor LegCo Members' conduct. She invited members to indicate whether they would support the proposals set out in LegCo Paper No. CB 532/94-95. Mr. Michael HO Mun-ka, Mr. LIU Sing-lee, Mrs. Elizabeth WONG, and Mr. YUM Sin-ling were opposed to the introduction of formal measures which would empower the Committee to investigate complaints about Members' misconduct. Miss Emily LAU, Mr. LIU Sing-lee, Mrs Elizabeth WONG, and Mr. YUM Sin-ling however indicated support for the Committee issuing advisory guidelines.
12. The meeting agreed that whilst the majority of members did not support the introduction of a formal mechanism to monitor LegCo Members' conduct, the issue should be resubmitted to the Council for a full debate at the sitting on 3 April 1996 in the form of resolution to amend the Standing Orders to be moved by the Chairman. The meeting also agreed that the substance of the resolution should be similar to the one drawn up last year.
(Action: The Clerk)
13. Members agreed to the following Chinese terms recommended by the working group chaired by the President of the Legislative Council:
- the title of CMI in Chinese should be instead of
- the Chinese term for "register of Members' Interests" should be instead of
14. The meeting ended at 11:50 a.m.
12 February 1996
Last Updated on 23 Jul, 1996