OP 95/96-34(1) (Issued at 11.00 a.m. on 1.7.96)

THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
ORDER PAPER

Wednesday, 3 July 1996 at 2.30 p.m.



I. PAPERS

Subsidiary LegislationL.N. NO.
1. Medical Practitioners (Registration and Disciplinary Procedure) (Amendment) Regulation 1996280/96
2. Inland Revenue (Qualifying Debt Instruments) Order293/96
3. General Holidays Order 1996294/96
4. Matrimonial Causes (Amendment) (No.2) Rules 1996295/96
5. Rules of the Supreme Court (Amendment) (No.2) Rules 1996296/96
6. Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Ordinance 1996 (37 of 1996) (Commencement) Notice 1996 297/96

Sessional Papers 1995/96

1. No. 93 - Revisions to the Estimate of Expenditure on Capital Projects approved by the Urban Council as at end of March 1996

(to be presented by the Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport)

2. No. 94 - Regional Council

Revised Estimates of Expenditure 1995/96

(to be presented by the Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport)

3. No. 95 - Audited Statement of Accounts of the Hong Kong Rotary Club Students' Loan Fund for the year ending 31 August 1995

(to be presented by the Secretary for Education and Manpower)

4. No. 96 - Audited Statement of Accounts for the Sing Tao Foundation Students' Loan Fund for the year ending 31 August 1995

(to be presented by the Secretary for Education and Manpower)

5. No. 97 - Hospital Authority

Annual Report 1994-1995

(to be presented by the Secretary for Health and Welfare)

6. No. 98 - Statement of Accounts of the Samaritan Fund for the year ended 31 March 1995

(to be presented by the Secretary for Health and Welfare)

7. No. 99 - Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation Annual Report for 1995-96

(to be presented by the Secretary for Trade and Industry)

8. No. 100 - J.E. Joseph Trust Fund Report for the period 1 April 1995 to 31 March 1996

(to be presented by the Secretary for Economic Services)

9. No. 101 - Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Loan Fund Report for the period 1 April 1995 to 31 March 1996

(to be presented by the Secretary for Economic Services)

10. No. 102 - Report by the Commissioner of Correctional Services on the Administration of the Prisoners' Welfare Fund for the year ended 31 March 1995

(to be presented by the Secretary for Security)

11. No. 103 - Report on the Administration of the Immigration Service Welfare Fund from 1 April 1995 to 31 March 1996 prepared by the Director of Immigration

(to be presented by the Secretary for Security)

12. No. 104 - Securities and Futures Commission

Annual Report 1995/1996

(to be presented by the Financial Secretary)

13. No. 105 - Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund Board

1995 Annual Report

(to be presented by the Secretary for Education and Manpower)


II. QUESTIONS

1. Dr. YEUNG Sum to ask : (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council whether, in reviewing the existing policy on fees and charges for medical services in the public sector, consideration will be given to modifying the existing policy by introducing a 'means test' system?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

2. Mr. CHIM Pui-chung to ask : (Translation)

The Executive Council has recently endorsed the proposal of granting two Government sites in Central (i.e. Beaconsfield House and the Garden Road Multi-storey carpark building) to a consortium for redevelopment by way of land exchange which will involve, among other things, the payment of a regrant premium. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. why the redevelopment rights of the two sites have been granted by way of land exchange and not sold by public auction, given that the property rights of the above properties belong entirely to the Government; and
  2. whether the premium received by the Government upon execution of the land exchange document will be included in the revenue from land sales for the current year; if not, why not?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

3. Mr. CHAN Wing-chan to ask : (Translation)

The compensation paid from the Employees Compensation Assistance Fund (the Fund) in two recent cases was in excess of $10 million per case, resulting in the current balance of the Fund standing at around $50 million only. This is causing concern that the Fund may go bankrupt should there be a few more claims involving huge amounts of compensation. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the number of cases being handled by the Employees Compensation Assistance Fund Board (the Board); how many of these cases involve claims arising out of the failure of employers to take out workmen's compensation insurance policy for their employees; and whether the Government has estimated if the current balance of the Fund is sufficient to pay the compensation in respect of the cases being handled by the Board;
  2. whether consideration will be given to reviewing the Fund's operation; and whether the Government will increase its capital injection in the event that the balance of the Fund is insufficient to meet the claims; and
  3. whether consideration will be given to increasing the number of inspection staff in the Labour Department in order to step up the prosecution of employers who fail to take out workmen's compensation insurance policy for their employees, so as to reduce the number of cases handled by the Board, thus avoiding the danger of the Fund going bankrupt?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

4. Mr. Fred LI to ask : (Translation)

As the Government is reviewing the Rice Control Scheme which has been in existence for forty-one years, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. whether it has assessed the impact of the liberalization of the rice import trade on the prices of rice; if so, what the outcome is; if not, why not;
  2. why it has suggested in a paper submitted to this Council in May that a reserve stock should be maintained to cater for 45 days' consumption, whereas in the consultation paper issued by the Government in February this year it was stated that one month's reserve stock of rice should be adequate; and
  3. as about 80 per cent of rice in the territory is currently imported from Thailand, what measures the Government will adopt to identify more suppliers so as to reduce the risk of over-reliance on a single market?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Trade and Industry

5. Mr. NGAN Kam-chuen to ask : (Translation)

In many private housing estates developed under the 'small house land title' arrangement in the New Territories, there has been a lack of planning for the construction of vehicular passageways providing access to highways for use by residents and emergency vehicles. As a result of this, a number of disputes between estate residents and villagers over the use of vehicular passageways have occurred. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. whether there are any requirements stipulating that vehicular passageways must be provided in such estates; if so, what the details are;
  2. if the answer to (a) is in the negative, whether it will consider amending the existing regulations on land use planning and housing development so as to make the provision of vehicular passageways a requirement for all future housing estates developed under the 'small house land title' arrangement; and
  3. how it will tackle the problem of the existing housing estates which are not served by vehicular passageways?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

6. Mr. LO Suk-ching to ask : (Translation)

I have received a complaint from a member of the public living in a squatter area. According to him, he has submitted an application under the "Home Purchase Loan Scheme" on a white form but has been told by the Housing Department (HD) that, as he has been in joint ownership of an ancestral stone hut with several families of the same clan, his application is in contravention of the existing policy which does not allow joint possession of residential premises during the period covering the 24 months prior to the registration of the application and up to the time when the letter granting "approval in principle" is issued, and he is therefore regarded as failing to meet the eligibility criteria. At the same time, the HD also points out to him that under the existing policy on squatter clearance, when the squatter area in which he is living is cleared in future, he will not be eligible for public housing due to his partial ownership of the property in question. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) when processing the application concerned, the HD has considered if the size of the stone hut in question is large enough to accommodate several families with a few dozen members living together; and

(b) the HD can exercise its discretion to process the application concerned according to the actual situation of the applicant?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing

* 7. Mr. CHENG Yiu-tong to ask : (Translation)

In view of the recent spate of industrial accidents, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. whether it will consider amending the existing legislation and codes of practice on industrial safety with a view to formulating stricter industrial safety standards and stipulating heavier penalties;
  2. of the establishment and strength of staff in the Labour Department responsible for carrying out industrial safety inspections on factories and construction sites; and whether the Department has specified the number of inspections to be carried out on each factory and construction site per year in order to ensure that employers and employees comply with the relevant industrial safety legislation and code of practice; if so, what the details are; and
  3. apart from carrying out inspections, what other measures are in place to ensure that employers provide a safe working environment to employees and to enhance the awareness of industrial safety among workers?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

* 8. Mr. James TO to ask : (Translation)

A motion was carried by this Council on 21 April 1993 urging the Government to set up an independent body to receive and investigate complaints in relation to police officers. The Government has also put the proposed Independent Police Complaints Council Bill as a priority item in the Legislative Programmes for 1994/95 and 1995/96, but up to now the Government has still not introduced the Bill into this Council. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. why it has not yet introduced the Bill into this Council; whether it has to wait until the completion of the Comparative Study of Overseas Police Complaints Systems and the review of the Complaints Against Police Office's procedures before introducing the Bill; if so, when it will complete these two studies and inform this Council of the outcome;
  2. of the progress of the drafting of the Bill; whether it will introduce the Bill into this Council before the end of the current session; if not, when the Government will introduce the Bill; and
  3. whether, in drafting the Bill, the Government will consider expanding the scope of the investigation which can be undertaken by the Independent Police Complaints Council?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

* 9. Mr. Howard YOUNG to ask :

In many developed countries, domestic refuse is separated into different categories of waste such as paper, glass, aluminium, and plastic materials prior to collection in order to facilitate recycling. In view of the increasing awareness of the importance of recycling among the public, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. whether the Government has any long-term plans for recycling waste materials;
  2. whether it has any knowledge of the results of the trial on separation of domestic refuse in some public housing estates in Tseung Kwan O organised by Friends of the Earth; and
  3. whether it will assess the feasibility of carrying out similar activities in all public housing estates and the community as a whole?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

* 10. Mr. SIN Chung-kai to ask : (Translation)

As the performance results recently announced by two newly listed companies have failed to meet the profit forecasts as stated in the respective prospectuses, will the Government inform this Council if it is aware of:

  1. how many of the newly listed companies providing profit forecasts in their prospectuses in the past three years have announced performance results in the first year after listing which are below the profit forecasts as stated in their prospectuses, please provide a list of these companies together with a breakdown of the difference between the actual and the forecast profits of each of the companies concerned;
  2. in regard to the companies mentioned in the answer to the second part of (a) above, whether such companies and their guarantors have been penalised; if so, what the details are; if not, why not;
  3. the average time taken by the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong to investigate into cases of inaccurate profit forecasts by newly listed companies; whether the investigation results of each of these cases will be made known to the public by the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong; if so, how the results will be publicised; if not, why not; and
  4. whether, given that newly listed companies are not required to state their profit forecasts in their prospectuses under the existing rules governing the listing of securities, the authorities concerned will consider prohibiting newly listed companies to state their profit forecasts; if not, why not?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services

* 11. Mr. CHEUNG Man-kwong to ask : (Translation)

Regarding the policy adopted by the tertiary institutions funded by the University Grants Committee concerning the collection of pre-payment of tuition fees from new students upon registration, will the Government inform this Council if it is aware of:

  1. the policy concerning the collection of pre-payment of tuition fees (including the amount of pre-payment) adopted by the tertiary institutions in the past three years;
  2. how the amount of pre-payment of tuition fees is determined by the tertiary institutions; and whether all or part of the amount of pre-payment will be refunded to the students who drop out before the commencement of an academic year;
  3. the amount of non-refundable pre-payment of tuition fees collected, together with the number of students involved and the purposes for which such amounts have been used, in respect of each of the tertiary institutions in the past three years; and
  4. whether the tertiary institutions have received any complaints in the past three years about the amount of pre-payment being set at too high a level; if so, what the total number of such complaints is and whether the institutions will be urged to review the existing policy on the collection of pre-payment of tuition fees as well as the amount of pre-payment?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

* 12. Mr. CHOY Kan-pui to ask : (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the number of people coming to Hong Kong from China on two-way exit permits, as well as number of such people who have overstayed, in each of the past three years;
  2. of the respective ratios of minors, adult males and females among those who have overstayed;
  3. whether it has detected any two-way exit permit holders taking up employment while staying in the territory during the past three years; if so, of the types of work they are mainly engaged in; and
  4. whether, in view of the reports that many two-way exit permit holders have overstayed and gone into hiding to wait for amnesty in 1997, the Government will discuss the problem with the Chinese side; and whether the Government will take other measures to prevent holders of two-way exit permits from overstaying in the territory?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

* 13 Mr. Albert CHAN to ask : (Translation)

I have received a number of cases concerning public housing tenants seeking assistance in their applications for transfer to other flats or splitting of households. The tenants concerned claim that they have been interviewed and assessed by professional social workers of the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and that their applications have been recommended by the SWD, but the Housing Department (HD) has still rejected their applications. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the basis of the HD's rejection of the SWD's recommendations; and
  2. why the HD does not directly investigate the family background of the applicants concerned and instead asks them to seek assistance from the SWD in the first instance, bearing in mind that the HD can determine whether or not to accept the SWD's recommendations?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing

* 14. Dr. Samuel WONG to ask : (Translation)

It has been reported that the Western Harbour Crossing will be completed ahead of schedule and open to traffic at the beginning of next year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

  1. when the Western Harbour Crossing becomes operational, the toll will still be set at $30 per trip as previously determined; and
  2. the Government will consider adjusting the tolls for the Eastern Harbour Crossing and the Cross Harbour Tunnel before the Western Harbour Crossing comes into operation, so as to narrow the difference in the tolls charged by the three tunnels?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport

* 15. Mr. Eric LI to ask :

The training and accreditation of 'professional accountants' in the territory are undergoing major reforms which aim to raise the standards and international standing of locally qualified professional accountants and expand the field of competency requirements. In the light of this, will the Government inform this Council whether it will review the ranking criteria of civil service posts especially at the Head of Department and Policy Secretary levels so that holders of accredited professional accounting qualifications can be considered for filling such posts?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Civil Service

* 16. Mr. LEUNG Yiu-chung to ask : (Translation)

Some employers and employees have complained that the presiding officers of the Labour Tribunal often scold the claimants and the defendants while adjudicating claims. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council whether:

  1. there is any channel for the claimant or the defendant to lodge a complaint during a hearing if they are dissatisfied with the presiding officer's manner; if not, why not; and
  2. any complaints against presiding officers of the Labour Tribunal have been received over the past five years; if so, what the types of complaints are and how the complaints have been handled, and whether the Government will consider adopting measures to improve the situation?

Public Officer to reply : Chief Secretary

* 17. Dr. David LI to ask :

It has been reported that about 15 administrative officers will be sent to attend a pilot development programme at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which replaces the course previously undertaken at Oxford University. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the criteria used in selecting the appropriate university for the development programme;
  2. of the total cost of sending an administrative officer to the University of Michigan's programme as compared to the cost of sending an administrative officer to the programme at Oxford University; and
  3. whether it will consider sending administrative officers to similar programmes at selected universities in mainland China?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Civil Service

* 18. Mr. WONG Wai-yin to ask : (Translation)

At present, the Government offers many concessionary schemes to franchised public transport companies to assist them in reducing their operating costs and developing their services. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

  1. the specific concessionary scheme which the Government offers to each franchised bus company;
  2. the specific concessionary scheme which the Government offers to each franchised ferry company; and
  3. the criteria adopted by the Government for determining that concessionary schemes should be offered to the above franchised companies?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport

* 19. Dr. LAW Cheung-kwok to ask : (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the number of infrastructural and construction projects undertaken by the Government over the past three years in which Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) have been undertaken, and the main classifications of these projects;
  2. of the major recommendations concerning environmental protection made in the EIA reports and which of these recommendations have been adopted by the Government; and
  3. how many of the above EIAs were conducted by private consultancy firms, and what was the total amount of consultancy fees paid by the Government in this regard?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

* 20. Dr. John TSE to ask : (Translation)

As the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) intends to issue a practice note regarding the control of air quality in underground car parks, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. whether the EPD regularly monitors the air quality in underground car parks; if so, of the results of the inspections conducted by the EPD in the past three years;
  2. whether, in assessing the air quality in such car parks, the effects of such pollutants as benzene, suspended particulates and ozone emitted by petrol-engined vehicles and diesel-engined vehicles have been assessed; if not, why not; and
  3. in regard to those car parks with air quality below the required standards, whether the Government has put in place any measures requiring the management companies to improve the air quality in such car parks; and whether the Government will consider introducing legislation to regulate the air quality in underground car parks?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

* For written reply.


III. MOTIONS

1. INTERPRETATION AND GENERAL CLAUSES ORDINANCE

Secretary for Financial Services:

(See Resolution at Annex)

2. FACTORIES AND INDUSTRIAL UNDERTAKINGS ORDINANCE

Secretary for Education and Manpower:

That the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Amendment) Regulation 1996, made by the Commissioner for Labour on 31 May 1996, be approved.

3. FACTORIES AND INDUSTRIAL UNDERTAKINGS ORDINANCE

Secretary for Education and Manpower:

That the Construction Sites (Safety) (Amendment) Regulation 1996, made by the Commissioner for Labour on 31 May 1996, be approved.

4. SEX DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE

Secretary for Education and Manpower:

That section 57(3) of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance be amended by repealing "1st" and substituting "2nd".


IV. BILLS

FIRST READING

1. Witness Protection Bill

2. Waste Disposal (Amendment) Bill 1996

SECOND READING

Debates to be adjourned

1. Witness Protection Bill

:

Secretary for Security

2. Waste Disposal (Amendment) Bill 1996

:

Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Debate to be resumed

3. Nurses Registration (Amendment) Bill 1996

:

Secretary for Health and Welfare

COMMITTEE STAGE AND THIRD READING

Nurses Registration (Amendment) Bill 1996

:

Secretary for Health and Welfare


V. MEMBER'S MOTIONS

1. INTERPRETATION AND GENERAL CLAUSES ORDINANCE

Dr. John TSE :

That the Sewage Services (Sewage Charge) (Amendment) Regulation 1996, published as Legal Notice No. 199 of 1996 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 29 May 1996, be repealed.

Public Officers to attend : Secretary for Works
Secretary for the Treasury

2. INTERPRETATION AND GENERAL CLAUSES ORDINANCE

Dr. John TSE :

That the Sewage Services (Trade Effluent Surcharge) (Amendment) Regulation 1996, published as Legal Notice No. 200 of 1996 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 29 May 1996, be repealed.

Public Officers to attend : Secretary for Works
Secretary for the Treasury

3. INTERPRETATION AND GENERAL CLAUSES ORDINANCE

Mr. LEE Cheuk-yan :

That the District Court Equal Opportunities Rules, published as Legal Notice No.236 of 1996 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 5 June 1996, be amended by adding after rule 2 -

"2A. Application

These Rules shall apply to any proceedings by or against the Crown.".

4. WESTERN CORRIDOR RAILWAY

Mr. NGAN Kam-chuen : (Translation)

That, in view of the exorbitant construction and land resumption costs of HK$80 billion for the Western Corridor Railway (WCR) as announced by the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation, this Council urges the Government to actively strive for the early completion of the WCR; step up discussions with the Chinese Government on matters relating to the project; and adopt a highly responsible attitude in prudently handling the compilation of the construction cost, so as to ensure that the scheme would be cost-effective without incurring any unreasonable expenditure, and that the public would not have to pay high fares in future.

Amendment to Mr. NGAN Kam-chuen's motion

Mr. WONG Wai-yin : (Translation)

To delete everything after "That" and substitute with the following:

"this Council strongly reproves the Government for delaying the construction of the Western Corridor Railway and disregarding the long-standing traffic congestion problem suffered by more than 800 000 residents in north-western New Territories; and urges that the Government expeditiously construct the Railway and fully consult and respect the views of this Council in regard to the planning, costing and financial arrangements of the project, and that the fares of the future Railway should also be subject to the monitoring of this Council, so as to ensure that they would be reasonable and acceptable to the public".

Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Transport

5. AMENDMENTS TO THE BASIC LAW

Dr. YEUNG Sum : (Translation)

That this Council urges the Chinese Government to amend the Basic Law as follows:

  1. the removal of the restriction that members of the Legislative Council may not introduce bills relating to government policies except with the written consent of the Chief Executive, as stipulated in Article 74 of the Basic Law; and
  2. the removal of the restriction that the passage of bills and motions introduced by any individual members of the Legislative Council shall require a simple majority vote of each of the two groups of members present, as stipulated in Annex II of the Basic Law,

so as to achieve the target that the executive authorities shall abide by the law and shall be accountable to the legislature, as stipulated in the Joint Declaration.

Amendments to Dr. YEUNG Sum's motion

1. Mr. Bruce LIU : (Translation)

To delete "this Council urges the Chinese Government to amend the Basic Law as follows:" and substitute with the following :

",since the procedures for amending the Basic Law will only take effect after 1997 and in order to uphold the spirit of 'one country two systems' and 'Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong', this Council considers that amendments to the Basic Law should be made after 1997 and that amendment proposals should be made by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; this Council also proposes the following amendments to the Basic Law after 1997:".

2. Mr. David CHU : (Translation)

To delete everything after "That this Council" and substitute with the following:

"endorses the Basic Law in its entirety, including the provision permitting future changes to this living document after its implementation and through extensive consultations with the Hong Kong people and the Chinese Government according to the prevailing circumstances and as the modern Hong Kong Special Administrative Region continues to advance".

Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Constitutional Affairs


Last Updated on 29 July 1999