LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1698/95-96
(These minutes have been seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/PL/HA

LegCo Panel on Home Affairs

Minutes of Meeting held on
Friday, 24 May 1996 at 10:45 a.m.
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

    Hon HO Chun-yan (Chairman)
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG CHIEN Chi-lien, CBE, ISO, JP

Members Absent :

    Hon LO Suk-ching (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Allen LEE Peng-fei, CBE, JP
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee

Members Attending :

    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon SIN Chung-kai

Public Officers Attending :

Item III
Mr LEE Lap-sun
Deputy Director of Home Affairs
Mr C D B Williams, JP
Assistant Director of Home Affairs
Mr LEE Shui-kai
Senior Housing Manager
Item IV
Mrs Brenda FUNG
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs
Mr Carlson CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs
Items V and VI
Mrs Stella HUNG
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs
Ms CHANG King-yiu
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs
Mr Robin McLeish
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs

Staff in Attendance :

Mrs Anna LO
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2
Mr Raymond LAM
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 6

I. Confirmation of minutes of meeting and matters arising

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1336/95-96)

The minutes of the Panel meeting held on 26 April 1996 were confirmed.

2. Noting that the Administration's supplementary report in respect of Hong Kong under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights would not be publicised until 3 June 1996, members agreed that the special meeting to gauge the views of non-government organisations on the supplementary report would be deferred from 8 to 14 June 1996.

II. Date of next meeting and items for discussion

(Appendix I to LegCo Paper Nos. CB(2) 1346 and 1379/95-96)

3. Members agreed that the next meeting would be held on Friday, 28 June 1996 at 10:45 a.m. to discuss the following :

  1. Integration of new immigrants from China into the community
  2. Work Plans of the Equal Opportunities Commission
  3. (c) Implementation of the new rules for rural elections

4. Members noted that the issue of the Preliminary Working Committee's proposal to reinstate twenty-six ordinances had been taken up by the LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs.

5. The Chairman reminded members that the special meeting to gauge the views of non-government organisations on the Initial Report in respect of Hong Kong under Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child would be held on 25 May 1996.

III. Issues related to the formation of owners' corporations in multi-storey buildings

(Appendix II to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1346/95-96)

6. Mr LEE Lap-sun briefed members on the paper provided by the Administration and assured that the Home Affairs Department (HAD) was committed to facilitating the formation of owners' corporations (OCs) in multi-storey buildings. He stated that HAD was stepping up training for its 335 Liaison Officers (LOs) working in the eighteen districts of Hong Kong.

7. In response to members' questions on whether the LOs were effectively discharging their duties at meetings for the formation of OCs and had clear understanding of "disputes among owners", Mr LEE Lap-sun stated that while the LOs had always tried their best to offer advice and assistance, there were invariably difficult situations for the relatively young and inexperienced LOs. In view of this, HAD was strengthening training in this area.

8. Mr LEE Wing-tat commented that the Administration should focus on the training of Senior Liaison Officers(SLOs), who were in a better position to give advice in difficult situations. In reply, Mr LEE Lap-sun pointed out that while there was a SLO in each urban district, the percentage of SLOs in the New Territories was lower; thus it was very difficult for SLOs to attend all meetings. HAD was training the more experienced LOs to undertake the task.

9. Mr LEE Lap-sun informed members that HAD was facing a problem in staff shortage and the accumulated overtime of LOs had reached 24,000 hours. The difficult nature of the job and the long working hours had resulted in high turnover rate of the LOs. To address the problem, HAD was proposing to revise the entry requirement of LOs from matriculation to university level and had requested for additional staff. Temporary Community Organisers were employed to assist the LOs.

10. Mr Andrew CHENG commented that while under Section 3A of the BMO, owners of not less than 30% of the shares of a particular building might apply to the Secretary for Home Affairs to order a meeting of owners for appointment of management committee, the provision that the order would not be effective if there was objection from more than 10% of the owners was a loophole and should be reviewed.

11. Mr LEE Lap-sun undertook to provide the number of meetings for the formation of OCs, which could not be convened due to objection of more than 10% of the owners, since the implementation of the Building Management Ordinance (BMO) in 1993. As regards the imbalance of power between landlords and individual owners, he stated that the issue was being reviewed by the Administration. Legislative amendments would be considered if necessary. In response to members, he agreed to discuss with the Home Affairs Branch (HAB) the need for a full review of BMO.


12. In response to the Chairman, Mr LEE Lap-sun agreed that reference would be made to previous court cases on the formation of OCs. He also agreed to look into the possibility of issuing bulletins to OCs and added that the booklet entitled "How to form an Owners' Corporation and achieve effective building management" had proved useful.


13. Dr John TSE commented that as only one out of ten buildings in Hong Kong had formed OCs, the performance of HAD in facilitating the formation of OCs was relatively disappointing. He stated that performance targets might be set for LOs. In reply, Mr LEE Lap-sun stated that there were 4,500 OCs out of a total of around 30,000 private buildings. He agreed to consider the suggestion of setting performance targets for LOs but added that effort would first be concentrated on improving the quality of the existing service.


IV. Transparency and public accountability of advisory and statutory bodies and their members' tenure of office

(Appendix III to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1346 and 1379/95-96)

14. Mrs Brenda FUNG briefed members on the main points of the Administration's paper. She stated that the HAB would convey the views of Members expressed at the LegCo motion debate on 8 May 1996 on the subject to the relevant Policy Branches and Heads of Departments for follow-up.

15. In reply to members, Mrs Brenda FUNG reiterated that the Administration considered the current system of advisory and statutory bodies to be working well. A full review was considered not necessary. Nevertheless, the Administration recognised areas for improvement and it would follow up on those areas. She stated that increasing the transparency of the advisory and statutory bodies and the appointment of more grass-root representatives would be some of the areas where improvement would be considered.

16. In response to Miss Emily LAU, Mrs Brenda FUNG made the following points :

  1. There were only two persons sitting on more than 6 statutory or advisory bodies and their attendance rates were over 70%.
  2. While the HAB had a data base of people who served on advisory or statutory bodies, appointments to these bodies were not solely made from the data base. Individual Policy Secretaries and Head of Departments had their own networks of contacts through which suitable candidates to advisory and statutory bodies could be identified. Government's objective was to secure the services of the best persons available to serve on these bodies.

17. At the request of Miss Emily LAU, Mrs Brenda FUNG agreed to provide the names of advisory or statutory bodies mentioned in paragraphs 5(a) to 5(d) of the Administration's paper and the sixty bodies with virtually no transparency.


18. Mr LEE Cheuk-yan stated that to his knowledge, papers were usually made available to the public by some statutory bodies after meetings, by which time decisions would have been made. He also called for the appointment of more grass-root representatives to advisory and statutory bodies. He quoted as an example that the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) had only one grass-root representative. Mrs Brenda FUNG agreed to provide a written reply on whether papers or reports were made available to the public before or after a meeting. On the appointment of more grass-root representatives to statutory bodies, she stated that the views of various organisations would have to be taken into account.


19. Mr LEE Wing-tat was dissatisfied with the Administration's reply and stated that the Administration should not be selective in taking actions. He commented that although nearly all Members present supported a full review of the advisory and statutory bodies at the motion debate on 8 May 1996, the Administration had ignored the views expressed by Members.

20. Dr John TSE was disappointed that there were about sixty bodies with virtually no transparency. He suggested that all statutory and advisory bodies should be asked to enhance their transparency and their meetings should, except those relating to confidential matters, be open to the public.

21. Miss Christine LOH suggested that the standing orders of the Arts Development Council on open meetings might be recommended to other advisory or statutory bodies.

22. Members were generally of the view that the Administration was ignoring Members' views expressed in the motion debate. It was agreed that a report be presented to the House Committee recommending it to write to the Chief Secretary to :

  1. convey members' disappointment over the Administration's disregard for their expressed views for a comprehensive review of the advisory and statutory bodies;
  2. request the Home Affairs Branch to send extracts of the speeches on the subject in the motion debate on 8 May 1996 to all Policy Secretaries and advisory/statutory bodies; and
  3. make periodic reports to the Home Affairs Panel on the subject.

23. Members also agreed to form a working group comprising the following members to examine the subject :

Miss Christine LOH (Convenor of the working group)

Mr LEE Wing-tat (Deputy Convenor of the working group)

Dr John TSE

Miss CHAN Yuen-han (non-Panel member)

24. Members noted a tabled list of questions (Appendix A) provided by Mr LEE Wing-tat, which had been provided to the Administration on 21 May 1996 for a written reply, which was still outstanding.

V. Sex and Disability Discrimination (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996

(Appendix IV to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1346/95-96)

25. Miss Christine LOH briefed members on the salient points of the Sex and Disability Discrimination (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996 (the Bill). She informed members that the English version of the Bill was expected to be cleared with the law draftsman shortly for presentation to LegCo within the current legislative session, if possible. So far, she had worked in close cooperation with the Administration in the preparation of the Bill and hoped that it would not be stuck by the "charging effect" rule. While it was unlikely for the proposed amendments under the Bill to take effect on 1 September 1996, she hoped that the committee to study the Bill, if formed, would expedite the process.

26. Mrs Stella HUNG suggested that the EOC, which was entrusted with the task of enforcing the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), should be given the opportunity to comment on the Bill. She added that it might be more appropriate to consider amendments to SDO after its implementation. The ruling on whether the Bill had any charging effect rested with the President of LegCo.

27. Miss Emily LAU suggested that the Panel should recommend the House Committee to give priority to the examination of the Bill when it was presented to LegCo. Mr LAW Chi-kwong, Mr LEE Wing-tat and Dr John TSE reserved their position on this suggestion. The suggestion was then put to vote and carried (3 for and 3 abstained).

VI. Proposal to strengthen the Directorate structure of Home Affairs Branch

(Appendix V to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1346/95-96)

28. Mrs Stella HUNG presented the salient points of the paper provided by the Administration. She stated that the proposed structure was necessary in view of the increased workload arising from human rights issues and related reports to the United Nations, the establishment of the EOC and the Privacy Commissioner's Office, and the study on racial discrimination.

29. Mr LEE Wing-tat commented that it was difficult for him to support the proposal, as the Administration was selective in its work. Miss Emily LAU questioned whether the problem of increased workload could be tackled with the upgrading of a Deputy Secretary post. In reply, Mrs Stella HUNG stated that the proposal was drawn up in consultation with the Finance Branch and the Civil Service Branch after careful examination of the workload. She added that due to limitation of resources, it was necessary for the Administration to prioritise its work.

30. The meeting ended at 12:55 p.m.

LegCo Secretariat
26 June 1996

Last Updated on 19 Aug, 1998