LegCo Paper No. HB 871/95-96
Ref : HB/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee
(1995/96 Session)

Minutes of 20th meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Friday, 15 March 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 NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    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
    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 LAU Chin-shek
    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 MOK Ying-fan
    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 Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing

In attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)













(1) Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting held on 1.3.96

(LegCo Paper No. HB 791/95-96)

The minutes were confirmed.

(2) Matters arising

(a) Biological Weapons Bill

The Chairman said that Mr James TO, who could not attend the meeting, had requested another two weeks to study the Bill. Members agreed.

(b) Black Point 400kV Power Transmission System

The Chairman informed Members that, subsequent to the House Committee meeting on 1.3.96, he had written to the Chief Secretary on the relationship between LegCo and ExCo. The Chief Secretary had replied and suggested that in future, LegCo Members’ request for meetings with ExCo Members should be communicated in writing to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding. (Appendix I)

The Chairman said that Ms Rosanna WONG, Convener of the non-official ExCo Members, had also responded to a letter from Miss Christine LOH written on behalf of the Panels on Environmental Affairs and Health Services.

(3) Legal Adviser’s report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 6 & 13.3.96

(LegCo Papers Nos. LS 96, 97 & 99/95-96)

The Legal Adviser introduced the papers and drew Members’ attention to LegCo Paper No. LS 97/95-96 which was related to temporary measures taken under the Public Revenue Protection Ordinance to give effect to some of the budget proposals. These proposals would be introduced into LegCo in the form of bills at a later stage under the normal legislative process.

In response to the Chairman, the Legal Adviser said that under the Public Revenue Protection Ordinance, any excess of duty etc. paid under one of the Orders should be repaid to the persons who paid the same, if the related bill did not get its passage in the Council before expiry of the Order.

(4) Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. HB 840/95-96)

Members noted the report and agreed to activate the Bills Committee to study the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill 1996 and Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 1996.

(5) Legal Adviser’s report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order No. 42(3A)

(a) Evidence (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 104/95-96)

The Legal Adviser said that the purpose of the bill was to remove the rules for corroboration of evidence in respect of sexual offences and to enhance the power of the High Court to meet requests from overseas jurisdictions to take evidence locally for use in criminal proceedings in overseas jurisdictions. The LegCo Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Service had been consulted on the proposal to abolish the corroboration rules in respect of sexual offences.

In the absence of the chairman of the Panel, the Legal Adviser reported that while the Panel was not against the policy, it had considered necessary to study further the implications of the provisions contained in the Bill.

The Chairman said that Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung, who was not at the meeting, had suggested that a Bills Committee should be set up to study the Bill. Miss Margaret NG would also likely join if one was formed. Members agreed. Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee also joined the Bills Committee.

(b) Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Loan Fund (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 103/95-96)

Referring Members to the paper, the Legal Adviser said that the drafting aspect of the Bill was in order. Members agreed to support the Bill.

(c) Leveraged Foreign Exchange Trading (Amendment) Bill 1996

Securities and Futures Commission (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 100/95-96)

The Legal Adviser said that the Bills sought to introduce amendments to close loopholes in the existing legislation.

Mr CHIM Pui-chung added that the proposals were developed by the Securities and Futures Commission in the light of operational experience. He recommended that Members support the Bill.

Members agreed to support the Bills in principle, pending a further report by the Legal Service Division on the Chinese text of the Bills.

(d) Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 105/95-96)

As the Bill contained substantial revision of the approach to bankruptcy, the Legal Adviser recommended and Members agreed that a Bills Committee should be formed to study the Bill.

The following Members agreed to join : Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee and Mrs Elizabeth WONG. The Chairman said that Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung, who was not at the meeting, would also like to join the Bills Committee.

(e) Probate and Administration (Amendment) Bill 1996 - Member’s bill introduced by Mr Bruce LIU

(LegCo Paper No. LS 101/95-96)

The Chairman said that this was a Member’s Bill introduced by Mr Bruce LIU. The Administration considered the proposal reasonable.

Mr LIU supplemented that the chairman of the Home Affairs Panel had been consulted and considered that a separate discussion at the Panel was not required. Subject to Members’ agreement, the Bill would have its Second Reading debate resumed on 3.4.96. Members agreed.

(f) The Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects Incorporation Bill - Member’s bill introduced by Mr Edward HO

(LegCo Paper No. LS 102/95-96)

Mr Edward HO, the Member in charge of the Bill, said that the Bill was related to the incorporation of the Institute of Landscape Architects.

The Legal Adviser said that the Legal Service Division was still scrutinizing the Chinese text and would submit a further report. Members agreed to support the Bill in principle.

(6) Business for the LegCo sitting on 27 & 28.3.96

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB 566/95-96)

(b) Bill - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading

Appropriation Bill 1996

(Members speak)

The Chairman said that the sitting on 27&28.3.96 would be devoted mainly to the debate on the Budget. In accordance with the established practice, 20 questions for written reply had been tentatively scheduled.

(c) Member’s Motion

Resolution under sections 53A(4)(e) and 119F(4)(e) of the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance (Cap 7) - to be moved by Mr James TO Kun-sun

Mrs Selina CHOW, chairman of the Subcommittee, made a verbal report on the progress of the work of the Subcommittee. The Administration had advised that it would like to address the compensation issue by introducing an amendment bill, while Members of the Democratic Party and ADPL preferred dealing with the issue by way of a resolution. The Subcommittee was now seeking information from the Administration regarding the implications of Members’ proposal on urban renewal policies. Meanwhile, Mr James TO had given notice for the motion to be moved at the sitting on 27&28.3.96. The next meeting of the Subcommittee would be held on 18.3.96 and a detailed report would be issued to Members as soon as possible.

Mr Bruce LIU said that Dr LAW Cheung-kwok of the ADPL would move amendments to the resolution. The Chairman reminded Members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, was 20.3.96.

(7) Business for the LegCo sitting on 3.4.96

(a) Questions

Members noted that, in accordance with the established practice, 20 questions for written reply would be scheduled.

(b) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

(i) Import and Export (Amendment) Bill 1996

(ii) Control of Chemicals (Amendment) Bill 1996

(iii) Reserved Commodities (Amendment) Bill 1996

(iv) Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill 1996

(v) Toys and Children’s Products Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996

(vi) Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996

(vii) Firearms and Ammunition (Amendment) Bill 1996

(viii) Housing (Amendment) Bill 1996

(Member’s Bill to be introduced by Mr LEE Wing-tat)

(ix) Housing (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996

(Member’s Bill to be introduced by Mr Bruce LIU

The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 3.4.96 and considered by the House Committee on 12.4.96. The first six Bills were in one batch, while the last two Bills dealt with the same subject.

The Chairman reminded Mr Bruce LIU and Mr LEE Wing-tat, who would introduce the two Members’ Bills, to consider the need to consult the LegCo Panel on Housing on the policy aspects of the Bills at an early stage.

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

Appropriation Bill 1996

The Chairman said that the Administration would respond to Members’ speeches made in the Budget debate.

(d) Member’s Motion

Resolution to amend Standing Orders Nos. 60B, 64A and 65A - to be moved by Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, chairman of the Committee on Members’ Interests

Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, chairman of the Committee on Members’ Interests, briefed Members on the background to the proposed resolution. In December last year, the Committee had conducted further public consultation on the proposal to introduce measures to monitor the conduct of LegCo Members. There was no submission from the public but Members of the Democratic Party had made a submission reaffirming its opposition to the proposal. At a meeting held on 6.2.96, the majority of the Committee members were against the proposal but favoured the issue of a set of advisory guidelines. Nevertheless, the Committee had agreed that the matter be resubmitted, in the form of a resolution to amend Standing Orders, to the Council for a full debate. The wording of the resolution was the same as the one which had been negatived in the last LegCo session.

Members noted that Mrs Miriam LAU would move the resolution at the Council sitting on 3.4.96.

(8) Reports by Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

(a) Report by the Bills Committee to study the Non-Local Higher and Professional Education (Regulation) Bill

(LegCo Paper No. HB 839/95-96)

Referring to the report, Dr Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung, chairman of the Bills Committee, reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee. In response to the Bills Committee, the Administration had agreed to move a number of Committee Stage Amendments (CSAs). On the Bills Committee’s suggestion to restrict the advance of fee payments to no more than 3 months (paragraph 11 of the report), the Administration had subsequently advised that CSAs would be moved to the effect that the Registrar be given discretion to permit the advance collection of fees for more than 3 months in worthy cases. Subject to the final CSAs being found to be in order, the Bills Committee recommended that the Bill should have its Second Reading debate resumed at the sitting on 24.4.96. Members agreed.

(b) Report by the Subcommittee to study the Hong Kong Airport (Traffic) (Amendment) Regulation

Mr Ronald ARCULLI, chairman of the Subcommittee briefed Members on the work of the Subcommittee which studied the Regulation proposing to revise the fees of the carparks at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). The Subcommittee had so far held two meetings. Some Members were not convinced of the reasons provided by the Administration for revising the parking fees. In addition, Members also noted that the HKIA was already operating on a target return rate of 15%. Mr SIN Chung-kai, a member of the Subcommittee, had suggested that the Administration consider introducing half-hourly parking charges. While the Administration had indicated that the current arrangement for the third hour onwards should remain unchanged, it had agreed to examine the feasibility of implementing Mr SIN’s suggestion for the first two hours. The Subcommittee would meet again on 20.3.96 with a view to wrapping up its study and a detailed report would be circulated to Members. As a resolution to extend the scrutiny period of the Regulation to the sitting on 27&28.3.96 had been passed on 13.3.96, the deadline for Members to give notice of amendments, if any, to the Regulation was 20.3.96.

(c) Reports by the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters

(i) Handling of questions requiring oral replies at a LegCo sitting

(LegCo Paper No. CB 567/95-96)

The Chairman briefed Members on the background to the recommendation of the Subcommittee. In response to Members, he said that, for the purpose of the queuing system, an oral question converted into a written question in such circumstances would still be regarded as an oral question asked by the absent Member; and the Member who actually asked the question on behalf of the absent Member would not be deemed as having asked the question.

Members endorsed the recommendation of the Subcommittee as set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the paper, and noted that amendments to SO No. 19 would be required.

(ii) LegCo questions seeking statistical details in oral replies

The Chairman reminded Members to follow the following House Rule governing questions seeking statistical details in an oral reply :

"6. Form of Questions

  1. Questions should be precise and to the point.
  2. Multiple questions within a single oral question may be ruled out of order and should be avoided.
  3. Questions requiring very extensive research efforts for replies, e.g. statistics relating to an unduly long period of time, should be avoided. If necessary, questions requiring statistics should be asked more appropriately as written questions.
  4. Questions should not raise matters of policy too wide to be dealt with in a single reply.",

(iii) Notice of resumption of Second Reading debates on bills under Standing Order No. 42(3B)

(LegCo Paper No. HB 838/95-96)

The Legal Adviser introduced the paper and drew Members’ attention to the practical effect of the proposed amendments as set out in paragraph 5 of the paper.

Members endorsed the proposed amendments and noted that the Chairman would move a resolution in the Council to amend the Standing Orders.

(9) Any Other Business

(a) Nomination of a representative for Court of the University of
Hong Kong

(LegCo Paper No. HB 816/95-96)

The Chairman asked Members to nominate/elect a Member to serve on the University Court as Mr James TO Kun-sun’s membership would expire on 29.4.96.

There were two nominations : Mr David CHU Yu-lin and Mr James TO Kun-sun. In response to Mr Bruce LIU, Mr SZETO Wah, who nominated Mr TO, confirmed that although the latter was not at the meeting, he had agreed to accept the nomination. A vote was taken. There were 14 votes for Mr CHU and 16 votes for Mr TO.

The Chairman declared Mr TO elected to serve on the University Court for a term of three years.

(b) The case of Messrs Paul AU Wing-cheung and WONG Chuen-ming

The Chairman said that, in response to his letters to the President and Chief Justice of the Philippines urging expeditious processing of the appeal of Messrs AU and WONG, he had received a reply from the Office of President Ramos (at Appendix II). The President had given instructions to the Philippines’ Justice Secretary for an early scheduling of the hearing of the appeal filed by Messrs AU and WONG.

Mr Howard YOUNG, leader of the original House Committee delegation, said that he would personally join a delegation of the travel industry to Manila to further pursue the case.

Mr LAU Chin-shek felt that the delegation should further pursue the case by taking a trip to Manila. He further advised Members that he would launch a signature campaign in support of Messrs AU and WONG at the end of March.

Assistant Secretary General 2 advised Members that the House Committee delegation comprising 10 Members had been formed in November 1995 with a view to seeking meetings with the President, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chief of Justice of the Philippines concerning an early hearing of the appeal from Messrs AU and WONG. The replies from the Philippines received so far had been that the proposed visit to Manila was not considered necessary. The delegation could monitor further developments and decide the next course of action.

The Chairman said that the case had also been raised during the recent meeting of the Prime Minister of UK with LegCo Members. The Prime Minister had indicated that he would continue to press the matter through the Foreign Secretary. Members agreed that the Chairman should write to the UK Prime Minister to follow the matter up.

After some further discussion, the Chairman summarized the position as follows :

  1. he would write to the UK Prime Minister on behalf of the House Committee to enquire about the progress;
  2. individual Members were at liberty to take whatever actions they deemed necessary to further pursue the case; and
  3. the House Committee delegation would consider the way forward, taking into account recent developments.

(c) Emblem Design

(LegCo Paper No. AS 133/95-96)

The Chairman referred Members to the paper and sought their support to the proposed emblem design which The Legislative Council Commission (The Commission), recommended should be adopted for the Legislative Council by a resolution in Council.

In response to the Chairman, Mr Edward HO said that the concept for the design of the proposed emblem had taken into account the following : the Bauhinia, which was the flower of Hong Kong and used as a symbol of the future Special Administrative Region, was presented in graphic form with three main petals signifying the functions of LegCo in passing laws, controlling public expenditure and monitoring government policies. They also bore resemblance to the Chinese characters
" ". Further modifications to the design would be necessary when used for other purposes such as LegCo letter head and car badge.

In further response to Members, Mr HO said that two other designs had been considered by The Commission, which had eventually decided to recommend the one in front of Members.

A few Members said that the proposed emblem was neither aesthetic nor representative of LegCo. Some of the specific comments made were :

    - the design was very similar to the logo of a tobacco company and that of the Urban Council;

    - the Bauhinia resembled the lotus seat of the Chinese Goddess of Mercy; and

    - the Bauhinia looked like a wilting flower, signalling an ill-fated LegCo.

In response to Mrs Selina CHOW’s suggestion that a few designs should be presented to facilitate Members’ consideration, Mr Edward HO said that the design before Members was in its finished artwork, whereas all other entries considered but not recommended by the adjudication panel were only in sketch form. Owing to resource constraints, there was practical difficulty presenting all entries in their finished artwork for Member’ consideration. Mrs CHOW said that, in view of the importance of an emblem for an organization, it was necessary to present more designs in finished artwork for Members’ consideration. Her view was echoed by a few Members.

Mr Michael HO suggested deferring a decision so as to give Members more time to consider the item which was a late item on the agenda.

While Mr Ronald ARCULLI accepted Mr Michael HO’s suggestion, he urged Members to come to an early position on the matter which had been discussed for a long time. He also pointed out that the proposed emblem had been recommended by The Commission the composition of which was representative of the groupings of Members of the Council.

After some further discussion, the Chairman summarized the position as follows :

  1. Members who would like to view the other entries could approach the Secretariat and get information on the various design concepts;
  2. Members who would like to offer views on the designs, or to suggest designs for The Commission’s consideration should do so as soon as possible; and
  3. The Commission would be consulted on the way forward, having regard to Members’ views expressed at this meeting and any other views that Members might offer.

The meeting ended at 3:53 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
27 March 1996

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