LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 2160/95-96
Ref : CB2/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee

Minutes of special meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Friday, 20 September 1996 at 2:30 pm

Members present :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    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 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 MOK Ying-fan
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling

Members absent :

    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Staff in attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)
















(1) Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 5 July 1996

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1810/95-96 issued under LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1890/95-96 on 19 July 1996 refers)

The minutes were confirmed.

(2) Matters arising

Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996

(LegCo Papers Nos. LS 180 and 191/95-96 for the House Committee meetings on 28 June 1996 and 5 July 1996 refer)

Members noted Miss Margaret NG’s advice that the Administration had agreed to draw up certain guidelines relating to the appointment of solicitors as recorders. She suggested and members agreed to defer a decision on the Bill, pending preparation of the guidelines.

(3) Legal Adviser’s report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 10 July 1996 and to be tabled on 2 October 1996 (gazetted on 5, 12, 19, 26 July; 2, 9, 23, 30 August; and 13 September 1996)

(LegCo Papers Nos. LS 203,210,207,201,200,208,209,202 & 213/95-96)

The Legal Adviser advised members of the following amendments to dates relating to LegCo Paper No. LS 203/95-96 which covered 22 items of subsidiary legislation , six of which involved fee increases:

Date of tabling in LegCo: 10 July 1996

Amendment to be made by : 9 October 1996

(or 16 October 1996 if extended by resolution)

The Legal Adviser said that the remaining 61 items of subsidiary legislation which were gazetted during the summer recess would be tabled in LegCo on 2 October 1996. The date of expiry of the scrutiny period would be 30 October 1996, or 6 November 1996 if extended by resolution.


The Legal Adviser recommended and members agreed that a subcommittee be formed to study all 83 items of subsidiary legislation. Members also agreed that the scrutiny period of the 22 items of subsidiary legislation tabled in LegCo on 10 July 1996 be extended to 16 October 1996. The following members agreed to join: Mr Ronald ARCULLI (as advised by the Chairman), Mr James TO Kun-sun, Dr LAW Cheung-kwok and Mr SIN Chung-kai.

(4) Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 2123/95-96)

Members noted the report.

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

The Chairman referred members to the Director of Administration’s letter dated 12 July 1996 which detailed a revised priority list of Government Bills and reasons why some of the bills had to be enacted before 1 July 1997. Members would like the Administration to provide details of all those bills that should be enacted before 1 July 1997.

Mr LEE Wing-tat was concerned whether scrutiny of all the bills could be completed for enactment before 1 July 1997, given the number of bills committees already on the waiting list and those anticipated to be formed in the 1996/97 session, and the existing mode of operation of Bills Committees.

Miss Margaret NG proposed that the existing quota of 15 Bills Committees be increased to 18 Bills Committees. Members noted that the proposal would entail resource implications on the Secretariat. Some members were concerned about the availability of Members themselves and representatives of the Administration in attending the increased number of meetings, and the availability of conference room facilities.


After discussion, members agreed that the Secretariat should make available statistics on Members’ attendance rate at Bills Committees in the last session. They also agreed that if the proposal was accepted and if additional manpower was required, the Administration should be requested to provide funds for such purpose. The subject would be further discussed at the next meeting.

Regarding the revised priority list of Government Bills in Appendix A to the Director of Administration’s letter, Miss Margaret NG queried the need for the Legal Services Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill to be enacted before 1 July 1997. She said that the Bill contained complex proposals which would have far-reaching implications on the public as well as the legal profession, and should be scrutinized in detail. According to the Administration, the provisions which were urgent were those relating to the appointment of "Senior Counsel" by reason of the change of sovereignty and technical amendments to facilitate the functioning of the Barristers Disciplinary Tribunal. The Bar Council and the Administration had extensive correspondence and were likely to reach agreement on these issues soon. The Bar Council had also suggested that different effective dates should be appointed for different parts of the Bill. She suggested that the more urgent matters could be dealt with first, while the more fundamental but in terms of priority less urgent matters could be discussed at greater length.


The Chairman agreed to convey members’ concern and Miss NG’s suggestion to the Chief Secretary.

(a) Employment (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1996

Employees’ Compensation (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 212/95-96)


The Legal Adviser said that the two Bills sought to effect specific improvements to some well-established employees’ benefits under the law. He would give a further report after seeking clarification from the Administration on certain drafting points.

Mr James TIEN Pei-chun informed members that representatives from both the employers and employees sectors had voiced no objection to the proposals contained in the Bills which were endorsed by the Labour Advisory Board.

(b) Independent Police Complaints Council Bill

(LegCo Paper No. LS 211/95-96)

The Chairman declared interest as he was the Deputy Chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Council.

Referring members to the paper, the Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to make the Council a statutory body. The Panel on Security was briefed on the Bill on 8 July 1996, and members had raised various points relating to the content of the Bill.

Miss Margaret NG suggested and members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following members agreed to join : Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee and Miss Margaret NG.

(c) Patents Bill

(LegCo Paper No. LS 199/95-96)

The Legal Adviser said that this was an important Bill as it raised a number of technical issues. He suggested and members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following members agreed to join : Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr NGAI Shiu-kit, Dr HUANG Chen-ya, Mr Paul CHENG Ming-fun, Mr Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, Miss Margaret NG and Mr SIN Chung-kai.

(d) Equal Opportunities (Family Responsibility, Sexuality and Age) Bill - Member’s Bill introduced by Mr LAU Chin-shek

Equal Opportunities (Race) Bill - Member’s Bill introduced by Mrs Elizabeth WONG

(LegCo Paper No. LS 206/95-96)

(f) Sex and Disability Discrimination (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996 - Member’s Bill introduced by Miss Christine LOH

(LegCo Paper No. LS 205/95-96)

The Legal Adviser said that the two Members’ Bills introduced by Mr LAU Chin-shek and Mrs Elizabeth WONG respectively sought to expand the current scope of anti-discrimination law.

Mr James TO Kun-sun suggested that a Bills Committee should be formed to study these two Bills together with the Sex and Disability Discrimination (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996 introduced by Miss Christine LOH. Members agreed. The following members agreed to join : Dr

LEONG Che-hung, Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, Miss Christine LOH, Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr LAW Chi-kwong, Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen and Dr John TSE Wing-ling.

(e) Mass Transit Railway Corporation (Amendment) Bill 1996 Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (Amendment) Bill 1996 - Member’s Bill introduced by Mr SIN Chung-kai

(LegCo Paper No. LS 204/95-96)

The Legal Adviser said that the purpose of the two Bills was to enable LegCo, by way of resolution, to amend the passengers’ fares determined and published in the Gazette by the two railway corporations. As the Bills proposed a major change in policy, he suggested that a Bills Committee be set up.

Members noted that the Panel on Transport would be briefed on the Bills at its meeting scheduled on 25 September 1996. They agreed that a Bills Committee should in the meantime be formed and placed on the waiting list. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee : Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr Paul CHENG Ming-fun, Dr LAW Cheung-kwok, Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung, Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen and Mr SIN Chung-kai.

(6) Business for the LegCo sitting on 2 and 3 October 1996

Governor’s Policy Address and Governor’s Question Time on Policy Address

The Chairman advised members that the Governor would deliver his Policy Address on 2 October 1996 and that he would answer questions from Members on 3 October 1996.

(7) Report of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

Report of the Panel on Public Service - Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the retirement of Mr LEUNG Ming-yin, former Director of Immigration

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 2121/95-96)

Mr IP Kwok-him, chairman of the Panel on Public Service, reported on the deliberations of the Panel. He said that the Panel was dissatisfied with the Administration’s explanation relating to the sudden retirement of Mr LEUNG Ming-yin and its refusal to disclose the circumstances leading to the granting of a waiver for immediate departure. The Panel was concerned that the public was deprived of the knowledge of an important issue where public interest might be prejudiced. It therefore proposed to conduct an inquiry into the case either by a select committee or by the Panel.

Members generally agreed to conduct an inquiry into the case. Mrs Selina CHOW preferred to adopt a fast-track approach with the Panel on Public Service conducting the inquiry. Mr James TO Kun-sun said that a select committee was more flexible as it would enable interested Members to fully participate in the inquiry. His view was echoed by some other members.


Members discussed and agreed that a select committee should be set up for the purpose of the inquiry. Members also agreed to set up a subcommittee to undertake preparatory work for the select committee. The subcommittee would propose the terms of reference and membership of the select committee. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Miss Christine LOH and Mr IP Kwok-him.

In response to the Chairman, the Legal Adviser advised that the appointment of a select committee had to be effected by way of a LegCo resolution. The Deputy Secretary General supplemented that after the resolution was passed by the Council, the President would take into account the recommendations of the House Committee in deciding the size, membership and chairmanship of the select committee. The subcommittee formed would facilitate the House Committee in regard to formulation of recommendations in this respect.

In response to Mr Fred LI Wah-ming, the Deputy Secretary General said that under Standing Order No. 21(1), members were required to give 12 clear days’ notice for moving a motion in the Council. If the motion on the appointment of a select committee was to be moved on 9 October 1996, the deadline to give notice was Monday, 23 September 1996. To allow time for the necessary preparatory work, members noted that the earliest opportunity for the motion to be moved would be at the sitting on 16/17 October 1996.

(8) Any Other Business

(a) Chairmanship of Panels and other committees

The Chairman advised members that those who would like to signify membership for Panels for the 1996/97 session should do so by 5:00 p.m. on 27 September 1996. Existing members of Panels were not required to re-signify membership; they would still be members of the Panels unless written notice was received otherwise.

Members discussed and decided that elections of chairmen and deputy chairmen of committees should be held as in the past.

(b) Representations about Urban Council’s proposal to resume staging a limited number of pop concerts at the Hong Kong Stadium

(LegCo Paper No. CP 300/95-96).

After the Chairman had introduced the paper, Mr Fred LI asked whether it was necessary for the House Committee to discuss the question of an exemption order on which the Urban Council had yet to make a final decision. In the event that the Urban Council decided to apply for an exemption order from the Governor in Council, the order, in the form of subsidiary legislation, would be tabled in LegCo and subject to Members’ scrutiny. Mrs Selina CHOW said that the proposal to allow concerts to exceed the existing noise limits specified under the Noise Control Ordinance was clearly contrary to a motion on the subject carried by the Council on 25 May 1994. Miss Christine LOH advised that the issue was discussed by the Panel on Environmental Affairs, which was inclined not to support the grant of an exemption order.

In response to the Chairman, Mr MOK Ying-fan, in his capacity as the Urban Council’s representative in LegCo, said that the report of the Hong Kong Stadium Concerts Liaison Group would be presented to the Board of Governors of the Stadium and the Urban Council on 4 October 1996. Any views that members might have on the subject would be welcomed and reflected to the Urban Council.

In response to some members’ query as to whether it was appropriate for the House Committee to discuss individual complaint cases received by Duty Roster Members, the Chairman said that he had proposed this item for discussion in the hope that the Urban Council could take into account members’ views expressed at this meeting before arriving at a decision at its meeting on 4 October 1996. Members noted that under Standing Order No. 60C, the House Committee could discuss any matter relating to the business of the Council and that it was the Chairman’s discretion to decide whether an item should be included in the agenda.


Members agreed that the relevant Panel should keep in view further developments of the issue.

(c) Black Point 400 kV Power Transmission System

(Miss Emily LAU’s letter dated 12 August 1996 refers)

The Chairman referred members to Miss LAU’s letter.



Miss Christine LOH said that she had recently met the same deputation which had become more concerned about the criteria for erecting new overhead power lines through populated areas and possible remedial measures for existing power lines. She suggested and members agreed that the Panel on Environmental Affairs and the Panel on Health Services would follow up the issue.

(d) Population policy

In the absence of Miss Emily LAU, proposer of the agenda item, members had a general discussion on the subject which was raised pursuant to the discussion at the briefing session held by the Panel on Housing and the Panel on Planning, Lands and Works on "The Territorial Development Strategy Review" on 9 August 1996.


Mrs Selina CHOW said that the crux of the matter appeared to be whether the Administration had any strategic forward planning and co-ordination in various policy programme areas to tie in with the projected increase in population. Dr YEUNG Sum said that it would be difficult for the Administration to set up a separate policy branch to deal with each and every issue which straddled various policy areas. Mr IP Kwok-him said that it would be more appropriate and efficient for the existing Panels to discuss the subject within their respective policy profolios. Miss Christine LOH said that the Panel on Environmental Affairs had earlier discussed the subject of population projections and expressed similar concerns. The Panel would follow up the matter and report to the House Committee if necessary.


Members agreed that Miss LAU could provide a paper to elaborate her view on the subject for further consideration of the House Committee, if necessary. Meanwhile, the Chairman would raise the matter with the Chief Secretary. Mr LEE Wing-tat requested the Chairman to take the opportunity to raise the subject of discrepancies between population projections and population estimates for mid-1995 with the Chief Secretary. He said that the two sets of figures provided by the Administration represented a discrepancy of 5.1%. This was agreed.

(e) Frequent absence of Duty Roster Members at meetings with overseas visitors

(Mr LI Wah-ming’s letter dated 16 September 1996 refers)

Mr LI Wah-ming referred members to his letter and supplemented that according to the information provided by the Secretariat, of the 16 meetings scheduled for the period from 18 July to 19 September 1996, five were not attended by any Duty Roster Members. After some discussion, members agreed that it was the responsibility of Members, especially Duty Roster Members, to take turn in receiving overseas visitors, and that they should attend such meetings as far as possible.

(f) The Diaoyu Islands incident

(Mr LI Wah-ming’s letter dated 16 September 1996 refers)

Referring to his letter, Mr LI Wah-ming sought members’ view on his two proposals.

Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee had doubts over the propriety for the House Committee to write to the Prime Minister of Japan. He said that it would be more appropriate for individual Members to write in their own capacity. Members noted that there were precedents in the past for the House Committee to write to Prime Ministers of countries other than the United Kingdom. In response to the Chairman, the Legal Adviser advised that there would be no constitutional or legal issues involved in sending the proposed letter. Members endorsed the proposal and agreed that the letter should also be copied to the Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr QIAN Qichen, who would meet his Japanese counterpart at a United Nations meeting in New York on the following Tuesday.

(Post-meeting note : Letters sent on 21 September 1996 and circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 2159/95-96 on 23 September 1996.)


On the second proposal, Mr LI said that the Hong Kong-Japan Parliamentarians Committee should send a delegation to Japan to reflect the sentiment of Hong Kong people and to lobby Japanese parliamentarians of the Committee on the issue. Mr James TO raised the question of whether public funds should be used to finance such a delegation. Members agreed that the Committee should discuss the proposal of sending a delegation and related issues and report back at the next meeting.

(g) Handling of issues involving other councils and statutory bodies

(Mrs Selina CHOW’s letter dated 18 September 1996 refers)

Mrs Selina CHOW introduced the subject. The English version of the paper was tabled at the meeting and attach at Appendix.

Mr James TO said that Mrs CHOW’s position was also faced by other elected LegCo Members. He was of the view that discussions could be held by the most relevant Panel(s) depending on the nature of the policy issues raised, e.g. rent policy of market stalls could be discussed by the Panel on Trade and Industry. Mr Frederick FUNG Kin-kee supplemented that housing policies could be raised at meetings of the Panel on Housing. Mr Michael HO Mun-ka suggested that policy issues falling outside the purview of the 18 existing Panels could perhaps be taken up by the Panel on Home Affairs. Mrs CHOW responded that even if arrangement could be made for a particular policy issue to be discussed by an existing Panel, the problem which remained to be resolved was whether the Panel meeting should be attended by representatives of the relevant policy branch or the statutory body concerned. Some members said that the problem was one relating to the relationship between LegCo and the two municipal councils and other statutory bodies which should more appropriately be addressed by the Panel on Constitutional Affairs first.

In response to the Chairman, the Secretary General said that in the absence of an appropriate Panel to deal with a specific policy issue raised by Members, a subcommittee of the House Committee could be set up for such purpose.


After some discussion, the Chairman said that he would request the Chief Secretary to consider ways and means to address Mrs CHOW’s situation. The first step would be to identify a suitable department/policy branch with which dialogue could start.

(h) Seminar on Chinese version of parliamentary terms

The Chairman said that the LegCo sittings for the new session would be conducted in Chinese. The President would conduct a seminar for Members introducing the Chinese version of the parliamentary terms used in the Council as well as committees, on Friday, 27 September 1996 at 10:00 am in Conference Room B.

The meeting ended at 4:45 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
25 September 1996

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