LegCo Paper No. HB 218/95-96
Ref : HB/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee
(1995/96 Session)

Minutes of 8th meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Friday, 24 November 1995 at 5:00 p.m.

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 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 Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    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 Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    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
    Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    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
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Absent :

    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok

In attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)














(1) Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting held on 17.11.95

(LegCo Paper No. HB 166/95-96)

Mr Edward HO proposed and Members agreed to the following amendment to item (2) (e):

    - to insert "for 1994/95" after "contractors" in line 3

    - to insert "On the other hand, since the revenue for that year was $5.2 million which was above cost," before "Members" in line 5.

Subject to the above amendments, the minutes were confirmed.

(2) Matters arising

(a) Speaking arrangement for the debate on Miss CHAN
Yuen-han’s motion on 22.11.95

The Chairman informed Members that, in response to some Members’ enquiries relating to the speaking arrangement adopted by the President for the debate on Miss CHAN Yuen-han’s motion at the sitting held on 22.11.95, he had put down the matter for discussion at the next meeting of the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters to be held on 5.12.95.

In response to Mr James TIEN, Mr Frederick FUNG Kin-kee suggested and Members agreed to recommend to the President that the usual speaking arrangement for motion debates should continue to apply, pending consideration by the Subcommittee.

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

The Chairman reported that he had asked the Chief Secretary to convey to the Governor the House Committee’s request that the Governor raise the case with the Philippines President during his visit to the Philippines in December. The Chief Secretary had said that the Governor would pass on the message.

(c) Subsidiary legislation involving increase in fees and charges

The Chairman reported that he had conveyed to the Chief Secretary the House Committee’s suggestion that the Administration should provide a cost analysis in respect of an item of subsidiary legislation involving fee/charge increase and the cost-recovery principle. The Chief Secretary had undertaken to consider the suggestion.

(3) Legal Adviser’s report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 22.11.95

(LegCo Paper No. LS 31/95-96)

The Legal Adviser referred Members to the Paper, in particular item 11 concerning the effective date of the legislation relating to drink driving, which would be 15.12.95.

Members agreed to support the subsidiary legislation.

(4) Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. HB 186/95-96)

Members noted the report.

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

Rehabilitation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill 1995

(LegCo Paper No. LS 33/95-96)

The Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to expand the scope of the "spent conviction scheme". Members might wish to set up a Bills Committee to study the Bill.

Mrs Miriam LAU was concerned about the provisions of the Bill which applied to vocational drivers, a category of persons not clearly defined. She suggested and Members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following Members agreed to join : Mrs Selina CHOW, Mrs Miriam LAU, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo, Miss Margaret NG and Mr NGAN Kam-chuen.

(6) Further business for the LegCo sitting on 29.11.95

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

(i) Merchant Shipping (Registration) (Amendment) Bill 1995

(ii) Lands Tribunal (Amendment) Bill 1995

The Chairman said that Members had agreed on 17.11.95 and 3.11.95 respectively to support the above Bills.

(b) Private Members’ Motion

Resolution under section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) - to be moved by Mr Edward HO in relation to the Building (Administration) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulation 1995

Mr Edward HO said that the purpose of the resolution was to repeal the Regulation, on which he had made a verbal report at the last House Committee meeting.

(7) Business for the LegCo sitting on 6.12.95

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB 201/95-96)

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

(b) Statement

No statement had yet been notified.

(c) Government Motion

No motion had yet been notified.

(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

(i) Crimes (Amendment) Bill 1995

(ii) Pneumoconiosis (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 1995

(iii) Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1995

(iv) Road Traffic (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995

The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 6.12.95 and considered by the House Committee on 15.12.95.

(e) Motion debate on "Employment policy" - to be moved by Mr CHENG Yiu-tong

(f) Motion debate on "Youth suicide" - to be moved by Mr
CHEUNG Hon-chung

The Chairman said that Members had considered the wording of the motions at the previous sitting. Subsequently, Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung had proposed to change the subject of his motion. A note prepared by Mr CHEUNG explaining his proposal had been faxed to Members the day before and tabled at the meeting. He reminded Members of the provisions of the House Rules which stated that the terms of a motion for debate had to be made available at the time of application for a slot and that the mover should not subsequently seek to make substantial changes. If the House Committee agreed to Mr CHEUNG’s proposal, the President’s leave would be required to dispense with the required notice as the deadline had expired on 22.11.95.

Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung said that he proposed to seek the House Committee’s endorsement for him to change the subject of his motion debate to "Visa-free Entry to UK for holders of BN(O) and SAR passports" on ground of urgency and importance.

Members who had reservations about the proposal were of the view that to allow a change of subject would create a precedent and there was no urgency to accord priority to the revised subject for debate. Those Members who supported the proposal said that the proposed subject was an important issue affecting Hong Kong and should be debated as early as possible. Members noted that although Mr David CHU Yu-lin had put in an application on the same subject, he was unlikely to get a debating slot in the near future as he had already sponsored a motion for debate at the sitting on 18.10.95.

Mr Martin LEE suggested that the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters should review the relevant House Rules governing motion debates. He said that under the existing system, there could be a huge time gap between the submission of an application for a debating slot by a Member and the securing of a slot when the subject of the motion might have become less worthy of debate.

Mr CHEUNG’s proposal was put to vote. There were 25 votes for it , 14 votes against it and 7 abstentions. The Chairman declared that Mr CHEUNG’s proposal to change the subject of

his motion debate was agreed. A recommendation would be made to seek the President’s agreement to dispense with the required notice.

The Chairman reminded Members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the motions for debate on 6.12.95 would be 29.11.95.

(8) Proposed motion debate on "Reduction of emissions from diesel vehicles"

Mrs Miriam LAU said that she had been unsuccessful in three consecutive ballots for a debating slot, the latest occasion being in respect of the sitting on 13.12.95. The consultation period on Government’s paper which was related to the subject of her motion debate would expire at the end of December. In order to ensure that the Council could express its view on the subject before expiry of the consultation period, she had obtained the consent of Dr Samuel WONG, who had secured a debating slot at the sitting on 13.12.95, to release his slot to her and apply for another slot. She asked Members to endorse the proposed arrangement. Members agreed unanimously.

(9) Advance information on motion debates for the LegCo sitting on 13.12.95

(a) Motion debate on "The review of industrial safety in Hong Kong"

Members noted that the above motion would be replaced by Mrs Miriam LAU’s motion debate (item 8 above).

(b) Motion debate on "Old Age Pension Scheme"

Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr LEE Cheuk-yan.

The Chairman said that the deadline for the Members concerned to give notice of the motions would be 28.11.95.

(10) Reports by Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

(a) Report by the Subcommittee to study the Resolution under section 29I of the Stamp Duty Ordinance (Cap. 117)

(LegCo Paper No. HB 161/95-96)

Referring to the report, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, chairman of the Subcommittee, said that Members of the Subcommittee had yet to decide whether the further extension of the stamp duty measure should be for one year, or two years as proposed by the Administration.

Members noted DSG’s advice that any Member who intended to move a motion to amend the resolution to be moved by the Administration should give notice 5 clear days before the sitting at which the resolution would be moved.

(b) Report by the Subcommittee to study the Television (Date of Renewal of Licence) (Asia Television Limited) Order 1995, Television (Date of Renewal of Licence) (Television Broadcasts Limited) Order 1995 and Television (Royalty and Licence Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 1995

Mr Albert CHAN, chairman of the Subcommittee, referred Members to the report and said that the Subcommittee recommended that the Television (Royalty and Licence Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 1995 be repealed.

Ms Emily LAU, a member of the Subcommittee, said that she did not agree with the recommendation of the Subcommittee. A few other Members also expressed similar view.

Mr Allen LEE, in his capacity as the former Chairman of the Broadcasting Authority, briefed Members on the background to Government’s policy for royalty fees payable by broadcasting licensees and the rates for calculating the royalty. The royalty payments, calculated as a percentage of the revenue generated, were meant to replace licence fees. He said that Members should consider the present proposal to introduce full-cost recovery licence fees for all broadcasting licensees in the light of this background. He would support the recommendation of the Subcommittee to repeal the Regulation.

In response to Members, Mr Albert CHAN said that both TVB and ATV had sent in written submissions expressing dissatisfaction with the Regulation. The Subcommittee was of the view that the royalty issue should be reviewed in conjunction

with the full-cost recovery licence fee policy. It therefore recommended that the Regulation be repealed, pending the outcome of a review of the deregulation of subscription television which would be conducted in early 1996.

In view of the divergent views expressed and in order to ascertain whether the Subcommittee’s recommendation to repeal the Regulation had the endorsement of the House Committee, the Chairman put the matter to vote. There were 13 votes in support of the Subcommittee’s recommendation and 15 votes against it.

In response to Mr Albert CHAN, the Legal Adviser said that although the outcome of the voting of the House Committee was against the recommendation of the Subcommittee, it had no binding effect. Any Member could still move a motion to repeal the Regulation. Members noted that while Mr CHAN was at liberty to move the motion in his capacity as the chairman of the Subcommittee, he would in his speech draw the Council’s attention to the decision made by the House Committee at this meeting.

(c) Report by the Subcommittee on Matters Relating to the Formation of Parliamentary Friendship Groups

(LegCo Paper No. CB 195/95-96)

Mr Allen LEE, chairman of the Subcommittee introduced the recommendations of the Subcommittee as set out in paragraphs 5-9 of the Paper which Members endorsed.

(d) Report by the LegCo Panel on Transport and Panel on Planning, Lands and Works - Resolution of the Legislative Council under section 9(2) of the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance (Cap. 382)

(LegCo Paper No. PL 236/95-96)

Mrs Miriam LAU, chairman of the Transport Panel referred Members to the Paper which set out the background to the Panels’ decision to seek to invoke the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance (Cap. 382) to require the Administration to release the three reports relating to the rockfall accident on Tuen Mun Highway. She said that she had earlier in the morning received a letter from the Secretary for Works agreeing to issue the relevant reports to Members the following week. In the circumstances, she would withdraw the notice of the motion.

Mr LEE Wing-tat was concerned that the Administration would only agree to change its stance after Members had decided to exercise their powers under Cap. 382. He asked the Chairman to discuss with the Chief Secretary how better co-operation between the Council and the Administration could be achieved.

Ms Emily LAU concurred with Mr LEE and said that consideration should be given to empowering Panels to summon persons and require production of documents under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.

The Chairman said that Mr Martin LEE had agreed to follow up his proposal on "Committee System" by preparing a paper for consideration by the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters. Ms LAU’s suggestion could be discussed in that context by the Subcommittee.

In response to Members, the Legal Adviser said that, if the proposal to give Panels direct powers to summon witnesses was endorsed for implementation, it would involve amendments to both the Standing Orders and the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.

(e) Report by the LegCo Panel on Financial Affairs - Central Bank Bilateral Repurchase Agreement

(LegCo Paper No. PL 249/95-96 to follow)

Dr HUANG Chen-ya, chairman of the Panel, said that pursuant to the decision of the Panel, he had requested the Financial Secretary through the Finance Branch to make a statement at the sitting in the following week to assure the Council that the current and future bilateral repurchase agreements were made in the best interest of Hong Kong. He was awaiting a reply.

Members endorsed the recommendation of the Panel. The Chairman said that he would raise the matter with the Chief Secretary.

(f) Report by the Subcommittee on Review of Allowances for Members of The Legislative Council

(LegCo Paper No. AS 69/95-96)

Mr Ronald ARCULLI, chairman of the Subcommittee, briefly explained the recommendations of the Subcommittee as set out in the Paper. Members endorsed the recommendations.

Members noted Mrs Miriam LAU’s comment about the size of the Members’ offices at CGO (West Wing) and agreed that this and other outstanding issues should be further pursued by the Subcommittee.

(11) Any Other Business

(a) Mr Ross Clarke

The Chairman introduced Mr Ross Clarke, Public Relations Adviser of the LegCo London Office, who was on duty visit .

(b) Pagers

In response to Mr CHENG Yiu-tong , the Secretary General said that Members who had problems with their pagers could approach either himself or Mrs Justina LAM, Principal Assistant Secretary (Administration).

The meeting ended at 6:35 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
29 November 1995

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