LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1226/95-96
Ref : CB2/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee
(1995/96 Session)

Minutes of 25th meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Friday, 3 May 1996 at 2:30 p.m.

Present :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Absent :

    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Hon MOK Ying-fan

In attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)















(1) Proposed amendment to minutes of meeting on 19.4.96

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1073/95-96)

Seeking the early release of Ming Pao Daily News reporter XI Yang

Mr CHIM Pui-chung said that he was not present at the meeting when a vote was taken on whether the House Committee should write to the Chinese and British Governments to request for Mr XI to be allowed on bail for the purpose of seeking medical treatment on humanitarian grounds.

The Chairman said that of those Members who voted for the proposal, the name of Mr CHIM Pui-chung should be deleted.

Members agreed to the proposed amendment.

(Post-meeting note : After checking the record, the Secretariat confirmed that Mr Albert CHAN Wai-yip had voted for the proposal. His name was however omitted from the minutes of the meeting and therefore should be added.)

(2) Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting held on 26.4.96

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1133/95-96)

The minutes were confirmed.

(3) Matters arising

Report on Chairman’s meeting with the Chief Secretary

(a) Legislative programme for the remainder of the current session

The Chairman said that the Chief Secretary (CS) had advised that of the Government bills already introduced into LegCo, 15 must be enacted within this session (a list is at Appendix I), and that another 35-38 bills would be introduced into LegCo at the eight remaining scheduled sittings for this session.

In response to Mr LEE Wing-tat, the Chairman agreed to ask CS to provide a list of the bills to be introduced into LegCo within this session for Members’ advance information.

(Post-meeting note : The matter was raised with CS on 6.5.96.)

(b) Chief Secretary’s visit to China

The Chairman said that in reply to an oral question at the LegCo sitting on 1.5.96, CS had advised that she had left with Mr LU Ping some documents which the Preparatory Committee had asked for. Miss Emily LAU who was then not at the meeting had suggested that CS be requested to provide the same information to LegCo Members.

Mr James TIEN Pei-chun said that the documents had been provided to the Panel on Constitutional Affairs. He had instructed that the documents be circulated to all Members.

(Post-meeting note : LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1202/95-96 dated 2.5.96 refers.)

Mr LEE Wing-tat suggested that, as a matter of principle, any information provided to China should be provided to Members simultaneously. The Chairman agreed to raise the matter with CS.

(Post-meeting note : The matter was raised with CS on 6.5.96.)

(c) The case of XI Yang

The Chairman said that he had conveyed the House Committee’s request that CS should raise the case when she met Mr LU Ping. CS said that she did not have any opportunity to raise the matter during the meeting with Mr LU, but she had already written to him on the matter.

The Chairman said that at Members’ meeting with Mr Robin Cook, the Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on 1.5.96, Mr Cook had also agreed to raise the case during his visit to Beijing.

(4) Legal Adviser’s report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 1.5.96 (gazetted on 26.4.96)

(LegCo Paper No. LS 129/95-96)

Members agreed to support the subsidiary legislation.

(5) Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1165/95-96)

Members noted the position report.

(6) Legal Adviser’s report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order 42(3A)

(a) Gas Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 131/95-96)

Members noted the Legal Adviser’s report and agreed to support the Bill.

(b) Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 1996

Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996

Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1996

Business Registration (Amendment) Bill 1996

Estate Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996

Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996

Motor Vehicles (First Registration Tax) (Amendment) Bill 1996

Air Passenger Departure Tax (Amendment) Bill 1996

Betting duty (Amendment) Bill 1996

Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) )(No 2) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 130/95-96)

The Chairman said that the proposals in five of the Bills had been implemented by virtue of the Public Revenue Protection Orders gazetted on 6.3.96. These Orders would expire upon the passing or rejection of the relevant Bills by LegCo, or the expiry of four months from the day on which the Orders came into force (i.e. 6.7.96), whichever was the earlier.

The Legal Adviser said that although the Bills were presented by the Administration as a package of the budgetary proposals, they were free-standing legislative initiatives which could be considered on an individual basis.

Mr LEE Cheuk-yan was concerned about the implications of the Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996 on the community. He intended to move an amendment to repeal the Bill and suggested that a Bills Committee be set up to study the Bill.

As only two Members (Mr Ronald ARCULLI and Mr LEE Cheuk-yan) indicated their wish to join the Bills Committee, Members decided that no Bills Committee should be formed. Members agreed to support resumption of Second Reading debates on the Bills.

(7) Business for the LegCo sitting on 15.5.96

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 728/95-96)

20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.

(b) Statement

No statement had been notified.

(c) Government Motion

No motion had been notified.

(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

(i) Veterinary Surgeons Registration Bill

(ii) Public Health and Municipal Services (Amendment) Bill 1996

The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 15.5.96 and considered by the House Committee on 17.5.96.

(e) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading

(i) Biological Weapons Bill

(ii) Costs in Criminal Cases Bill

The Chairman said that Members had agreed at previous meetings to support the above Bills.

(Post-meeting note : The Administration has subsequently decided to defer the date of resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Cost in Criminal Cases Bill until further notice.)

The Chairman said that Members had agreed that no motion debate should be held during the week when the 8th Commonwealth Parliamentary Seminar would be held. No motion debate had therefore been scheduled for the LegCo sitting on 15.5.96.

In response to the Chairman, Deputy Secretary General said that the Seminar would be held from Sunday, 12.5.96 to Saturday, 18.5.96. The opening ceremony would be officiated by the Governor on 13.5.96. The Seminar would provide a forum for intensive studies in parliamentary matters, and some Members had been invited to speak on selected topics. Social activities for the delegates had also been arranged. Seven Members (Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Michael HO, Mr Eric LI, Miss Christine LOH, Miss Margaret NG, Mrs Elizabeth WONG and Mr Lawrence YUM Sin-ling) had been appointed by the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Hong Kong Branch) to attend the Seminar. Other Members were encouraged to participate as far as possible.

(8) Advance information on motion debates for the LegCo sitting on 22.5.96

(a) Motion debate on "Strengthening of civic education to youths"

Members noted the wording of Mr LO Suk-ching’s motion.

(b) Motion debate on "Concessionary transport fares for the disabled"

Members noted that Mr Fred LI had changed the subject of his motion, the wording of which was tabled at the meeting (Appendix II).

The Chairman advised Members that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments to, the above motions were 7.5.96 and 15.5.96 respectively.

(9) Reports by Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

Report by the Panels on Administration of Justice and Legal Services and Security - Cross border co-operation for judicial and legal matters

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1163/95-96)

Miss Margaret NG, chairman of the joint Panel meeting referred Members to the paper, in particular the concerns of the Panels, and sought Members’ view on the options to further pursue the matter as set out in paragraph 5 of the paper.

Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo said that Members were frustrated at not being able to obtain any concrete answers from the Administration on the progress of the matter. Miss Emily LAU was concerned about China’s attitude in co-operating with the Hong Kong and UK Governments on this important matter which would have serious repercussions if unresolved before 1 July 1997. While Mr NGAN Kam-chuen agreed that the matter should be further pursued by the relevant Panels, he was concerned about criticisms against China’s attitude when this had not been confirmed by the Administration as the reason for the slow progress.

Miss Margaret NG suggested that to facilitate efficient discussion at Panel meetings, the Chief Secretary be requested to advise on which policy branch should be responsible for co-ordinating the attendance and responses of the Administration on this matter.

After some discussion, the Chairman suggested and Members agreed that he would send a letter to the Chief Secretary detailing the relevant Panels’ requests and concerns on the matter and urged the Administration to address these at the next joint meeting of the two Panels, together with the Panel on Constitutional Affairs, on 4.6.96. Depending on further developments, Members could consider raising a question at the Governor’s Question Time or moving a motion for debate at a LegCo sitting.


(10) Any Other Business

Urgent question for oral reply at the sitting on 8.5.96

With the agreement of the Chairman, Mr Fred LI raised the matter on behalf of Mr Zachary WONG Wai-yin who was unable to attend the meeting. Mr WONG had given notice to ask an oral question concerning the Preparatory Committee’s list of items for co-operation at the sitting on 8.5.96. However, in view of the fact that the Chief Secretary had already answered an urgent question on her recent visit to Beijing at the sitting on 1.5.96, Mr WONG intended to withdraw the notice of his original question, and seek the President’s permission for him to ask another question concerning the Public Finance Ordinance without notice.

Members noted that if the President was satisfied that an oral question was of an urgent character and related to a matter of public importance, and if the Administration would be given sufficient private notice of the question, he might permit the question to be asked without notice under SO 17(4). To assist the President in considering requests for asking urgent questions without the required notice, the agreement of the House Committee should be sought where practicable.

While Members noted the circumstances leading to the withdrawal of Mr WONG’s question, they did not consider that the question on the Public Finance Ordinance met the criteria stipulated under SO 17(4). After discussion, the Chairman suggested and Mr Fred LI agreed that Mr WONG should ask the question at the earliest possible opportunity i.e. at the sitting on 22.5.96.

The meeting ended at 3:35 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
8 May 1996

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