LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1404/95-96
Ref : CB2/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee
(1995/96 Session)

Minutes of 28th meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Friday, 24 May 1996 at 4:30 p.m.

Members Present :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    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
    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Members Absent :

    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    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 Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing

Staff in Attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)













(1) Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting held on 17.5.96

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1342/95-96)

The Chairman said that Miss Emily LAU had advised that "Prime Minister" in line 10 of paragraph 2 of item 2(a)(i) on British citizenship for wives and widows of ex-servicemen should be replaced by "Foreign Secretary".

The minutes were confirmed subject to this amendment.

(2) Matters arising

Report on Chairman’s meeting with the Chief Secretary

(a) Statements made by public officers under SO 20

The Chairman said that he had conveyed to CS Members’ request that the Administration should, as a standing practice, make statements on matters of importance at Council sittings under SO 20. CS had replied that LegCo would definitely be briefed on important matters, and that she would play by ear in deciding the best way to brief LegCo, as making statement under SO 20 had its limitations.

The Chairman said that the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters, at its meeting on 10.5.96, had also looked into the matter of public officers making statements under SO 20, and specifically on :

  1. whether LegCo should establish a convention for public officers to make statements on matters of importance at Council sittings under SO 20(2); and
  2. whether arrangements should be made for Members to put questions relevant to the statement, not just for the purpose of elucidating it, to the public officer making the statement.

In relation to item (i) above, the Subcommittee noted the Legal Adviser’s advice that it was not possible to make it mandatory for public officers to make statements under SO 20 because the Standing Orders only regulated the proceedings of LegCo, and could not be used to impose requirements on public officers. On item (ii), the Subcommittee noted that apart from asking the Administration to make a statement under SO 20, Members could obtain information on matters of an urgent character and public importance in the following ways :

  1. to ask an urgent question under SO 17(4);
  2. to debate the matter under SO 21;
  3. to discuss the matter in an adjournment debate under SO 9.

In view of the above, the Subcommittee agreed that there was no need to change the existing arrangements for public officers to make statements under SO 20.

(b) Notice for resumption of Second Reading debate on bills

The Chairman said that he had explained the problem to CS that for a bill to have its Second Reading debate resumed at the second Wednesday after the House Committee meeting, the deadline for giving notice of Committee Stage amendments (CSA) to a bill fell on the same day as that for the Administration to give notice of resumption. CS agreed that resumption of Second Reading debate of a bill should normally take place on the third Wednesday after the House Committee meeting and that in cases where the Administration considered a fast track was warranted i.e. a bill to resume Second Reading debate on the first or second Wednesday after the relevant House Committee meeting, the support of Members would be sought.

(c) Cross border co-operation for judicial and legal matters

The Chairman said that pursuant to the decision of the House Committee meeting on 3.5.96, he had written to CS to convey members’ concern on the matter. CS had replied that the Administration would respond to members’ request for information at the joint meeting of the Panels on Administration of Justice and Legal Services, Constitutional Affairs and Security to be held on 4.6.96.

(3) Legal Adviser’s report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 22.5.96 (gazetted on 17.5.96)

(LegCo Paper No. LS 148/95-96)

The Legal Adviser referred members to the report, in particular items 1-3. He explained that item 1 was related to the record-keeping requirements imposed on medical practitioners and dentists which was also indirectly related to one of the items currently being examined by the Public Accounts Committee. Item 2 involved increases in fees payable for the granting or renewal of a licence in respect of an oil storage installation. He also drew members’ attention to item 3, which together with items 4-6, aimed to streamline the licensing procedures in relation to places of public entertainment.

The Chairman said that the medical profession had agreed in principle to support the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Regulation 1996. As he would like to seek clarification from the Administration on certain aspects of the Regulation, he suggested and members agreed to defer a decision on the Regulation.

Members agreed to support the remaining items of the subsidiary legislation.

(4) Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1365/95-96)

Members noted the position report.

Mr Fred LI Wah-ming, chairman of the Subcommittee to study the Waterworks (Amendment) Regulation 1996, Country Parks and Special Areas (Amendment) Regulation 1996 and Pesticides (Amendment) Regulation 1996, made a verbal report on the latest position. On the Waterworks (Amendment) Regulation 1996, the Subcommittee had decided not to support the proposed increase in water charges for domestic purposes. The Subcommittee had yet to come to a position on the proposed fees for connection of pipes and water charges for non-domestic purposes, and had asked for more information from the Administration. He would therefore move a motion at the LegCo sitting on 5.6.96 to extend the scrutiny period of the Regulation to the LegCo sitting on 26.6.96.

Mr LI added that the Subcommittee had agreed to support the other two items of subsidiary legislation.

(5) Further business for the LegCo sitting on 29.5.96

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

Public Health and Municipal Services (Amendment) Bill 1996

The Chairman said that members had agreed at the last meeting to support the above Bill.

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

(a) Dogs and Cats (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 150/95-96)

Members noted the Legal Adviser’s report and that representations had already been made by concern groups to the Panel on Economic Services.

In view of the social implications of the Bill and its supporting Regulation, the Legal Adviser suggested and members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following members agreed to join : Mr Michael HO Mun-ka, Mr Henry TANG Ying-yen and Mr TSANG Kin-shing (as advised by Mr LEE Wing-tat).

(b) Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 153/95-96)

The Legal Adviser referred members to the report and advised that the Administration would brief the Panel on Manpower on the Bill on 27.5.96.

Mr Ronald ARCULLI suggested and members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following members agreed to join : Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr Lawrence YUM Sin-ling.

(c) Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 147/95-96)

The Legal Adviser referred members to the report and advised that the Bill would not open the full scope of the Ordinance for amendment.

Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo said that despite the fact that the relevant Panels had been briefed on the Bill, certain provisions of the Bill, such as sections 13C(2) and 28, would require further discussion. He suggested and members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following members agreed to join : Mrs Selina CHOW (as advised by Mr Ronald ARCULLI), Miss Emily LAU, Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen, Mrs Elizabeth WONG and Mr Lawrence YUM Sin-ling.

(7) Business for the LegCo sitting on 5.6.96

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 823/95-96)

The Chairman said that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.

(b) Statement

No statement had been notified.

(c) Government Motions

(i) Resolution under section 5(3)(b) of the Public Bus Services Ordinance (Cap 230) - to be moved by the Secretary for Transport

(LegCo Paper No. LS 149/95-96)

Members agreed to support the resolution.

(ii) Resolution under section 54 of the Matrimonial Causes Ordinance (Cap 179) - to be moved by the Secretary for the Treasury

(LegCo Paper No. LS 151/95-96)

Members agreed to support the resolution.

The Chairman said that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 29.5.96.

(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

(i) Aviation Security Bill

(ii) New Territories Land Exchange Entitlements (Redemption) Bill

(iii) Banking (Amendment) Bill 1996

The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 5.6.96 and considered by the House Committee on 7.6.96.

(e) Motion debate on "Slope safety" - to be moved by
Mr IP Kwok-him

(f) Motion debate on "Increase funding for fundamental education"- to be moved by Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong

The Chairman said that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 29.5.96 and that the normal speaking arrangement should apply.

(8) Reports by Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

Report by the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters - Handling of questions requiring an oral reply at a LegCo sitting - draft amendments to SO 19

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1353/95-96)

The Chairman introduced the paper and sought members’ endorsement of the recommendation of the Subcommittee that the requirement of a written notice under SO 19 should be removed in order to give Members flexibility in serving the withdrawal notice.

In response to Mr Ronald ARCULLI, the Secretary General said that the term "Clerk to the Legislative Council" referred to the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and any Assistant Secretary General of the Legislative Council Secretariat under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap 1). Members could give the withdrawal notice to any one of the aforementioned officers. The Chairman suggested that the Secretariat issue a circular to advise Members of the names and telephone numbers of the officers to whom Members could serve the notice.


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



(9) Any Other Business

(a) Governor’s Question Time on 30.5.96

The Chairman said that the Governor had proposed to answer questions on :

  1. Governor’s visit to Canada and the United States;
  2. Fight against drugs; and
  3. Sewage charges.

(b) Reply from the Rt Hon Jeremy Hanley, Minister of State on behalf of the UK Prime Minister

Miss Emily LAU referred members to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1368/95-96 dated 22.5.96 enclosing a copy of a reply dated 9.5.96 from the Minister of State to the Chairman on behalf of the Prime Minister. She was particularly concerned about the Minister’s remark that if breaches of the Joint Declaration occurred, the British Government would explore all legal and other avenues available to ensure that the Joint Declaration was honoured, and that there was no benefit in speculating now on precisely what could be done in such circumstances (the second last paragraph of the reply refers). She would like to know specifically what "the legal and other avenues available" were and requested the Legal Adviser to give his views on this. She also considered that follow-up action might be required on some of the issues covered in the reply.


As the item was not included in the agenda, the Chairman suggested that it be deferred to the next House Committee meeting. To facilitate discussion, he suggested and members agreed that the Secretariat should prepare a paper detailing the latest development and position on the various issues covered in the reply.


(c) Wives and Widows Bill

The Chairman advised members that the Private Member’s Bill, introduced by Lord Willougby de Broke into the House of Lords on 23.5.96, was expected to pass through all stages on 4.6.96, and then would go to the House of Commons on 12.7.96.

The meeting ended at 5:10 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
29 May 1996

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