LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 946/95-96
Ref : CB2/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee
(1995/96 Session)

Minutes of 21st meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Friday, 29 March 1996 at 2:30 p.m.

Present :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    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 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 Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    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 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 :

    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee

In attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)















(1) Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting held on 15.3.96

(LegCo Paper No. HB 871/95-96)

The minutes were confirmed.

(2) Matters arising

(a) Display of publicity materials in public places

(Chief Secretary’s reply dated 18.3.96)

The Chairman referred Members to the Chief Secretary’s reply on the matter.

Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung pointed out that the Chief Secretary had not addressed Members’ concern about the criteria adopted in approving the contents of display materials. Mr LEE Wing-tat added that information not related to specific events or activities (such as the address and enquiry hotline of a Member’s office) was not approved for display. He would also like to know whether political messages (such as those conveying the stand of a Member on a particular issue) were allowed for display.

Miss Emily LAU said that unlike District Lands Offices, the Housing Department would approve applications for displaying publicity materials relating to information on a Member’s office in housing estates, subject to meeting certain requirements.

The Chairman agreed to follow up with the Chief Secretary the various points raised by Members.

(b) Biological Weapons Bill

Mr James TO Kun-sun said that he had studied the Bill and considered that a provision of the Bill relating to the power of search, was inconsistent with other legislation. The Administration had agreed to move a Committee Stage Amendment.

The Legal Adviser said that the Administration had just provided the draft amendment which was tabled at the meeting (Appendix). The draft amendment did not appear to reflect the intention of Mr TO. He would discuss the matter further with Mr TO and report at the next meeting.

(c) Emblem design for Legislative Council

The Chairman said that subsequent to the last meeting, The Legislative Council Commission had re-affirmed at a recent meeting its recommendation to adopt the design proposed to Members. The House Committee was requested to indicate whether or not to support the design; if not, the matter would not be pursued any further.

Noting a Member’s advice that he had yet to consult Members in his political party, the Chairman suggested and Members agreed that the matter be deferred for a decision at the next meeting. Meanwhile, he reminded interested Members to approach the Secretariat to view the various designs the Commission had considered.

(3) Legal Adviser’s report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 27/28.3.96 (gazetted on 15 and 22.3.96)

(LegCo Papers Nos. LS 106 & 107/95-96)

Referring Members to LegCo paper No. LS 106/95-96, the Legal Adviser said that these were routine orders. Members agreed to support the subsidiary legislation.

The Legal Adviser alerted Members that items (2) and (3) of LegCo Paper No. LS 107/95-96 involved fee increases. Item 2 related to increase of fees payable by fire service installation contractors. According to the Administration, the Association of Registered Fire Service Installation Contractors of Hong Kong had been consulted and had raised no objection to the proposed 9% increase. The proposed fee increase in item 3, relating to timber store licences, was also 9%. Both items would take effect on 3 May 1996.

As Mr Ronald ARCULLI would like more time to study the Regulations, the Chairman suggested and Members agreed to defer the items for a decision at the next meeting.

(4) Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. HB 913/95-96)

Members noted that 6 Bills Committees had completed their work and agreed to activate the following Bills Committees :

  1. Environmental Impact Assessment Bill
  2. Coroners Bill
  3. Immigration Service (Amendment) Bill 1996
  4. Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 1996
  5. Buildings (Amendment) Bill 1996
  6. Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Bill 1996

The Chairman said that Members had previously agreed that the policy aspect of the Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 1996 should be discussed by the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services while awaiting the activation of the Bills Committee. The Hong Kong Society of Notaries had been invited to attend the Panel meeting to be held on 1.4.96 to give its views on the Bill. He invited Members’ view as to whether the Bills Committee should be activated to study the Bill.

Miss Emily LAU said that the Bills Committee should commence scrutiny of the Bill immediately to avoid unnecessary delay. While Mr Albert HO Chun-yan was of the opinion that the Bills Committee could be activated, the Panel should proceed with its meeting on 1.4.96 and then hand the Bill over to the Bills Committee

The Chairman advised Members who were interested in the Bill to attend the Panel meeting scheduled on 1.4.96 at 4:30 p.m.

(5) Further report by the Legal Adviser on outstanding bill

Leveraged Foreign Exchange Trading (Amendment) Bill 1996

Securities and Futures Commission (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 108/95-96)

The Legal Adviser said that the Administration had reached agreement with the Legal Service Division on the amendment to the Chinese text of the Bills.

Members agreed to support the Bills.

(6) Further business for the LegCo sitting on 3.4.96

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB 591/95-96)

Members noted that in accordance with the established practice, 20 questions for written reply had been scheduled for the 3rd Budget sitting.

(b) Bill - 1st and 2nd Readings

Electricity (Amendment) Bill 1996

The Chairman said that the Bill would be introduced into LegCo on 3.4.96 and considered by the House Committee on 12.4.96.

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

(i) Appropriation Bill 1996

Mr James TO explained to Members the reason for his intention to move an amendment to the Bill. He said that it was unfair on the part of the Administration to ask Members to approve the funding request for 456 posts in the Police Security Wing without any information on its work. His original proposed amendment would seek to reduce Sub-head 001 of Head 122 by $110,297,000.00, an estimated provision for the 456 posts. As the Administration had subsequently advised that the cost of the 456 posts should be about $119 million, he would seek to revise the amount. Also, the Administration had already agreed to brief the Panel on Security on the role and function of the Security Wing in a closed meeting at Police Headquarters. Depending on the outcome of the briefing, he would decide whether or not to proceed with the proposed amendment.

In response to Dr Samuel WONG, Mr TO explained that the meeting was arranged at very short notice. All interested Members could attend the briefing scheduled for 1.4.96. at 2:30 p.m..

(ii) Probate and Administration (Amendment) Bill 1996

(Member’s bill introduced by Mr Bruce LIU)

Members noted that they had agreed to support the Bill at the last meeting on 15.3.96.

(d) Member’s Motion

Resolution under Hong Kong Royal Instructions 1917 to 1993 (Nos 1 and 2) - to be moved by Dr LEONG Che-hung

The Chairman informed Members that he would move a

motion to amend Standing Order No. 42(3B) to provide generally 12 clear days’ notice for resumption of Second Reading debate on bills which were not urgent.

(7) Reports by Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

At the suggestion of the Chairman, Members agreed that to assist Members, especially those not affiliated to any grouping, in considering whether or not to support a bill, the chairman of a Bills Committee should ensure that the report to the House Committee should, as far as possible, state whether or not the Bills Committee supported the bill. Moreover, Members who could not attend the meeting at which a Bills Committee concluded its deliberations should advise the clerk of their position before the meeting so that the Committee could be advised.

(a) Report by the Bills Committee to study the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill 1995

(LegCo Paper No. HB 716/95-96)

In the absence of the chairman of the Bills Committee, Miss Margaret NG reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee. Subject to the Committee Stage Amendments agreed between the Bills Committee and the Administration, the Bills Committee recommended support for the Second Reading debate of the Bill to be resumed on 24.4.96. Members agreed.

(b) Report by the Bills Committee to study the Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 1995

(LegCo Paper No. HB 648/95-96)

In the absence of the chairman of the Bills Committee,
Mr James TO referred Members to the report and said that the Bills Committee would move an amendment in relation to authorization for overseas bets. The Bills Committee recommended support for the Second Reading debate of the Bill to be resumed on 24.4.96. Members agreed.

(c) Report by the Bills Committee to study the Intellectual Property (World Trade Organization Amendments) Bill 1995

(LegCo Paper No. HB 926/95-96)

Referring to the report, Mr Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, chairman of the Bills Committee, said that the Administration would move a number of Committee Stage Amendments agreed with the Bills Committee, and that the Bills Committee recommended support for the Second Reading debate of the Bill to be resumed on 24.4.96. Members agreed.

(d) Report by the Bills Committee to study the Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1995 and Road Traffic (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1995

(LegCo Paper No. PL 1128/95-96)

Mr Zachary WONG Wai-yin reported on behalf of the chairman of the Bills Committee. Members noted that the Administration would move a technical amendment to defer the effective date of the Bills to a date to be appointed by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands to tie in with the legislative process. The Bills Committee recommended support for the Second Reading debate of the Bill to be resumed on 24.4.96. Members agreed.

(e) Report by the Bills Committee to study the Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) (Amendment) Bill 1995

(LegCo Paper No. HB 864/95-96)

Mr Albert HO Chun-yan reported on behalf of the chairman of the Bills Committee. Subject to a Committee Stage Amendment to reinstate a subclause which had not been included in the Bill due to the policy decision at the time of drafting, the Bills Committee recommended support for the Second Reading debate of the Bill to be resumed on 24.4.96. Members agreed.

(f) Report by the Bills Committee to study the Legal Aid Services Council (No 2) Bill

(LegCo Paper No. HB 921/95-96)

Mr Albert Ho reported on behalf of the chairman of the Bills Committee. The majority of the Members of the Bills Committee recommended support for the Second Reading debate of the Bill to be resumed on 24.4.96. Despite the proposed Committee Stage Amendments to the Bill, some Members remained opposed to the Bill. Miss Margaret NG said that Mrs Elizabeth WONG, Mr IP Kwok-him and herself were opposed to the Bill because they considered that it would not achieve its intended purpose.

(g) Report by the LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs

Mr SZETO Wah, deputy chairman of the Panel, advised Members that the Panel would discuss at its meeting to be held on 15.4.96 the question of compensation for individual Members’ staff arising from possible termination of their office as LegCo Members in 1997. As regards the future of the LegCo Secretariat, the Panel would leave it to be dealt with by The Legislative Council Commission.

(8) Any Other Business

(a) Commonwealth Parliamentary Seminar

The Chairman advised Members that the Hong Kong Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association would be hosting the 8th Commonwealth Parliamentary Seminar to be held from Sunday, 12 May 1996 to Saturday, 18 May 1996. The Seminar would be attended by about 30 delegates from 26 countries. He urged committee chairmen not to schedule any meetings during the week as far as possible, so as to enable Members to participate and LegCo staff to assist in the Seminar. Miss Emily LAU and Mr Ronald ARCULLI briefly highlighted the programme of the Seminar. Members were urged to participate as fully as possible throughout the Seminar.

The Chairman suggested that in order to allow all the delegates and Members to concentrate on the Seminar, no motion debate would be held at the LegCo sitting on 15 May 1996. Members agreed.

In response to Mr TSANG Kin-shing, the Chairman said that it might be necessary to assess later whether there was a need for additional LegCo sittings for the current session, having regard to the legislative programme and other Council business. The Administration and Members would be consulted early.

(b) Report on the visit to London and Brussels by the Hong Kong-European Parliament Parliamentary Friendship Group from 26 February to 1 March 1996

(LegCo Paper No. CB 576/95-96)

Mr Allen LEE, leader of the delegation, referred Members to the report which outlined the work of the delegation in London and Brussels.

Referring to the concluding remarks of the report commenting on the need for a unified position for presentation by any LegCo delegation going overseas, Mr James TO said that sometimes individual Members had to respond on topics not covered in a Position Paper but raised in the course of discussion with the other party. He observed that, in the delegation concerned, Members had exercised self-restraint to ensure that there were no arguments over what was contained in the Position Paper.

Miss Emily LAU said that the Position Paper was only

prepared to facilitate the delegation’s meetings with the UK Government officials and Parliamentarians. It was not meant for meetings with other organizations in the UK or in Brussels. As far as meetings with the UK Government officials and Parliamentarians were concerned, she felt that Members of the delegation had been unified in their position.

Miss Margaret NG said that Members of the delegation had a clear understanding that they should present a unified position on the various issues covered in the Position Paper. They had also made known to the parties they met that the delegation might have different or divergent views on some issues which were not covered in the Position Paper.

Mr Allen LEE concurred with the above views and said that free and frank exchange of views had facilitated healthy discussions.

The delegation’s report was noted.

(c) Hearing of the UK Foreign Affairs Committee on 13 March 1996

(LegCo Paper Nos. HB 868 & 914/95-96)

Referring to the summary prepared by the Public Relations Adviser in the London Office on the UK Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) hearing of the evidence given by Mr Jeremy Hanley, Minister of State, Miss Emily LAU suggested and Members agreed that the Chairman pursue the following issues with the UK Government:

  1. HKSAR passport - to clarify what the UK Government would do to promote the passport to other countries, especially the European Union, with a view to acquiring visa-free entry to these countries for HKSAR passport holders;
  2. Non-Chinese ethnic minorities - to ask whether the UK Government would define the kind of "pressures" encountered by the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong after 1997 that would qualify them for settlement in UK; and whether the UK Government would consider conveying in writing to the minorities’ community the guarantee of settlement in the UK ;
  3. wives and widows of ex-servicemen - to ask when the private MP’s bill to grant British citizenship to these ladies would be introduced; and
  4. apprehension for the safety of any LegCo Members after 1997 - the summary suggested that in response to a question on whether there was any apprehension for the safety of LegCo Members after 1997, the Minister of State had replied that Members would be protected by the Joint Declaration. The UK Government should be requested to clarify the meaning of the Minister’s reply.

Dr YEUNG Sum suggested that the UK Government be asked to advise what further action it would take in regard to China’s recent decision to set up a provisional legislature. Miss Emily LAU would also like the Minister of State to clarify his statement made at the FAC hearing that "HMG had a special responsibility for Hong Kong after 1997 and that they would use every national and international means to stand up for Hong Kong". Mr Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen requested to place on record that Members did not have a consensus on the subject of provisional legislature.

On the subject of non-Chinese ethnic minorities, Members noted that the public announcement made by the Prime Minister during his recent visit to Hong Kong was that this category of persons would be guaranteed admission and settlement in the UK after 1997 should they come under pressure to leave Hong Kong. It might be necessary to ascertain from them as to whether they were prepared to accept the alternative assistance i.e. "settlement in the UK when come under pressure" instead of "granting of British citizenship". Members agreed that the Chairman should write to the minorities’ community and ask them to state their view.

(d) Report by the House Committee delegation to attend the hearing of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) on 4-5 March 1996 in Geneva

(LegCo Paper No. HB 901/95-96)

Referring Members to the report, Mrs Elizabeth WONG said that the UK Government would respond to the Concluding Observations of UNCERD in its 14th report to be submitted to UNCERD in August this year. A hearing would be held in November to consider the report. Having regard to the size of the Hong Kong and UK Governments’ delegations, she suggested that the Members’ delegation to the next hearing, if one was to be formed, should comprise more Members.

(e) Reports of the fact-finding visit to New South Wales, Australia and New Zealand

(LegCo Paper No. RL 3/95-96)

Mrs Elizabeth WONG and Mr LEE Cheuk-yan briefed Members on the findings of the two reports and the recommendations. Members agreed that the two reports be referred to the Panel on Manpower and Panel on Home Affairs respectively for further deliberation.

The meeting ended at 3:47 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
10 April 1996

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