LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1742/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5
Minutes of 20th meeting
held on Friday, 4 April 1997 at 2:30 p.m.
in the Legislative Council Chamber
Members present :
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, 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 LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, OBE, 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 Paul CHENG Ming-fun
Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon IP Kwok-him
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon LAW Chi-kwong
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon LO Suk-ching
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon Margaret NG
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling
Members absent :
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
Hon SZETO Wah
Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon LAU Chin-shek
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon TSANG Kin-shing
Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
Clerk in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Assistant Secretary General 2
Staff in attendance :
- Mr Ricky C C FUNG
- Secretary General
- Mr Jimmy MA
- Legal Adviser
- Mr LAW Kam-sang
- Deputy Secretary General
- Mrs Vivian KAM
- Assistant Secretary General 1 (Acting)
- Mr Ray CHAN
- Assistant Secretary General 3
- Ms Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Miss Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Ms LEUNG Siu-kam
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Ms Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Mrs Percy MA
- Chief Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
- Mrs Eleanor CHOW
- Senior Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 21 March 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1652/96-97)
1. The minutes were confirmed.
II Matters arising
Report on Chairmans meeting with Acting Chief Secretary
Scrutiny of bills
2. The Chairman said that he had reminded Acting Chief Secretary of the agreement that apart from urgent bills and bills which needed JLG clearance, the Council might not be able to consider Government bills introduced after the sitting on 9/10 April 1997. However, Acting Chief Secretary had advised that the Administration would introduce beyond the deadline bills which were not urgent but which were of benefit to the public. The Chairman sought members view on the matter.
3. Dr YEUNG Sum said that flexibility should be exercised in respect of bills which were quite straightforward and would not require scrutiny by Bills Committees. Miss Margaret NG said that members should try their best to scrutinize the bills introduced. The Chairman reminded members of the staff implications involved e.g. the Legal Service Division would have to scrutinize the bills first and prepare reports for members consideration.
4. Members agreed that the Administration should be requested to provide justification for introducing bills after the agreed deadline.
5. The Chairman advised that as the President had yet to rule/just ruled on the following five Members Bills, they would unlikely be introduced into LegCo on 9/10 April -
- Unfair Dismissal Bill (Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung)
- Interception of Communications Bill (Mr James TO)
- Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 1997 (Mr LEUNG yiu-chung)
- Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 1997 (Mr LEE Wing-tat)
- Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Bill 1997 (Dr LEONG Che-hung)
6. Members agreed that the deadline should be extended for these Bills, given that the Members concerned could not introduce the Bills until the President had given his ruling on charging effect.
III Legal Service Division reports on the subsidiary legislation to be tabled in the Legislative Council on 9 April 1997 (gazetted on 21 and 27 March 1997)
(LegCo Papers Nos. LS 148 and 154/96-97)
LegCo Paper No. 148/96-97
7. On the Consumer Goods Safety Regulation and the Toys and Childrens Products Safety Regulation, the Legal Adviser said that according to the LegCo Briefs, the bilingual safety labelling and identification marking requirements would only come into force 12 months after gazettal of the Regulations, in order to allow the trade and industry sectors sufficient time to make the necessary adjustments to their products.
LegCo Paper No. LS 154/96-97
8. The Legal Adviser drew members attention to the Leveraged Foreign Exchange Trading (Fees) (Amendment) Rules 1997 which proposed fee increases to achieve full recovery of costs by phases.
9. Members did not raise any query on the subsidiary legislation covered by the two reports.
IV Further report by the Legal Service Division on outstanding bill
Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Planners Registration (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. LS 150/96-97)
10. Referring to the report, the Legal Adviser said that the Administration had proposed some Committee stage amendments which were considered to be in order by the Legal Service Division.
11. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
V Further business for the LegCo sitting on 9 and 10 April 1997
Resolution under section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) - to be moved by Mr WONG Wai-yin
11 Members noted that the purpose of the motion was to repeal the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulation 1997 which proposed to increase the fares for hiring taxis licensed to operate in Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories.
(b) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(i) Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill 1997
(ii) Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1997
(iii) Transfer of Sentenced Persons Bill
(iv) Auxiliary Medical Service Bill
(v) Civil Aid Service Bill
(vi) Merchant Shipping (Collision Damage Liability and Salvage) Bill
(vii) Employment (Amendment) (No. 4) Bill 1997
(Members Bill to be introduced by Mr MOK Ying-fan)
(viii) Employees Rights to Representation, Consultation and Collective Bargaining Bill
(Members Bill to be introduced by Mr LEE Cheuk-yan)
(ix) Hong Kong St. John Ambulance Incorporation Bill
(Members Bill to be introduced by Dr LEONG Che-hung)
(x) Sailors Home and Missions to Seamen Incorporation (Transfer of Undertaking) Bill
(Members Bill to be introduced by Mr Eric LI)
12. The Chairman said that the total number of bills to be introduced at the sitting on 9/10 April was 16, comprising seven Government Bills and nine Members Bills. They would be considered by the House Committee on 11 April 1997.
VI Business for the LegCo sitting on 16 April 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 774/96-97)
13. The Chairman said that in accordance with the established practice, 20 questions for written reply had been tentatively scheduled for the 3rd Budget Sitting.
(i) Two resolutions under section 31(4) of the Import and Export Ordinance (Cap. 60) - to be moved by the Secretary for Trade and Industry
(LegCo Paper No. LS147/96-97)
14. The Legal Adviser referred members to the paper and said that the drafting of the resolutions was in order.
(ii) Resolution under section 4(5) of the Fatal Accidents Ordinance (Cap. 22) - to be moved by Mr Albert HO Chun-yan
15. The Chairman said that the resolution sought to increase the sum to be awarded for damages for bereavement under the Fatal Accidents Ordinance from $70,000 to $150,000.
16. The Legal Adviser said that the Administration had opined that the resolution had charging effect. He was still studying the case and would let the President have his comments.
(iii) Resolution to amend Standing Orders of the Legislative Council - to be moved by Dr LEONG Che-hung
17. The Chairman said that the resolution sought to amend the Standing Orders to provide a deputy chairman for a select committee, the Public Accounts Committee and the Committee on Members Interests. The proposed amendment was endorsed by the House Committee at the last meeting.
(iv) Resolution to amend the LegCo Resolution of 25 May 1994 for the purposes of section 15 of the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance (Cap. 382) - to be moved by Dr LEONG Che-hung
18. The Chairman said that the resolution sought to amend the LegCo Resolution passed on 25 May 1994 to provide that an acting chairman of a committee would perform the functions of the "relevant body" in determining a claim for "public interest immunity". The proposed amendment was endorsed by the House Committee at the last meeting.
(v) Resolution under section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) - to be moved by Mr IP Kwok-him
19. Mr IP Kwok-him said that the resolution sought to bring the air quality standards specified in the Western Harbour Crossing (WHC) Regulation in line with those enshrined in the Practice Notes on Control of Air Pollution in Vehicle Tunnels issued by Environmental Protection Department in 1993. He would also introduce three Bills to require the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, Eastern Harbour Tunnel and Tates Cairn Tunnel to comply with the Practice Notes standards.
20. The Chairman said that Acting Chief Secretary had advised that the air quality standards were specified in the Project Agreement for the WHC, and any change to the standards would delay the opening of the tunnel. The Administration had also undertaken to tackle the matter separately together with other tunnel franchisees at a later stage. Mrs Miriam LAU expressed concern that the proposed upgrading of air quality standards would involve additional capital works, thus delaying the opening of the WHC.
21. Mr IP Kwok-him said that according to his understanding, his resolution, if passed, would not delay the opening of the WHC.
22. Mr Michael HO suggested that the Administration should be requested to set out the implications of Mr IPs motion on the project in writing for members consideration. Members agreed.
23. In response to the Chairman, the Legal Adviser said that the deadline for amendment to be made to the WHC Regulation was 16 April 1997, or 23 April 1997 if extended by resolution.
24. Mr IP Kwok-him said that he would consider withdrawing the notice of his resolution scheduled for the sitting on 16 April 1997 if the opening of the WHC would be delayed as a result. However, as his proposed amendment had to be passed before the opening of WHC, he would not consider deferring the resolution to the sitting on 23 April 1997.
(c) Bill - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
i) Appropriation Bill 1997
25. The Chairman said that the Administration would respond to Members speeches made in the debate on the Budget.
(ii) Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund (Amendment) Bill 1997
26. The Chairman said that the Administration had advised that the Second Reading debate on the Bill would be resumed on 23 April 1997, instead of 16 April 1997.
(iii) Medical Registration (Transitional Provisions) Bill 1997
(Members Bill introduced by Mrs Selina CHOW)
27. Mr Michael HO expressed concern that members might not have sufficient background information to consider whether to support the Bill at the sitting on 16 April 1997, given that the Administration had yet to give a reply concerning the implementation difficulties of the legislative proposal; and that the minutes of the three meetings held by the Panel on Health Services to discuss the Bill were still being prepared by the Secretariat. He requested Mrs Selina CHOW to consider deferring the resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Bill to a later date.
28. Mr Selina CHOW said that the proposed resumption date had taken into account the deadline for enrollment in the Licensing Examination. Unless members had strong views, she preferred the Second Reading debate on the Bill to be resumed as scheduled.
29. In response to members, the Legal Adviser said that the Administration had undertaken to give a reply by close of play on that day. Assistant Secretary General 2 also assured members that the minutes would be ready for distribution to Members before the date of resumption of the Second Reading debate.
(Post-meeting note: The Administrations reply was circulated vide LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1736/96-97 dated 7 April 1997)
VII Advance information on motion debates for the LegCo sitting on 23 April 1997
(a) Motion debate on "Annual Report on Hong Kong 1996 to Parliament"
24. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Dr LEONG Che-hung.
(b) Motion debate on "Bus franchise"
25. Members noted that the motion would be moved by Mr WONG Wai-yin.
26. The Chairman advised that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments to the motions, if any, were 8 April 1997 and 16 April 1997 respectively.
VIII Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees
Report of the Bills Committee on Freight Containers (Safety) Bill
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 1176/96-97)
27. Dr Samuel WONG, Chairman of the Bills Committee, reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee. He said that the Administration would move a number of Committee stage amendments to address the concerns raised by terminal operators. The Administration had also undertaken to continue its efforts to enhance other aspects of freight container safety after enactment of the Bill.
28. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 16 April 1997.
Report of the Bills Committee on Railways Bill
29. Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Chairman of the Bills Committee, said that the Bills Committee would not hold meetings within the next few weeks pending information to be provided by the Administration on the Bill. Members of the Bills Committee held divided views as to whether the Bills Committee slot should be released for activation of a Bills Committee on the waiting list. Some members were concerned that once the slot was released, the Bills Committee could not be reactivated until a vacant slot became available. He would like to seek the House Committees advice on the matter.
30. Mr Zachery WONG said that having regard to the large number of Bills Committees on the waiting list, the slot should be released.
31. Mrs Miriam LAU suggested that to facilitate early passage of the Bill, the Bills Committee should be reactivated immediately, in excess of the agreed quota of 18, upon receipt of the relevant information from the Administration. Members agreed.
IX Position reports on Bills Committees and Subcommittees and Bills which must be passed before 1 July 1997
(LegCo Papers Nos. CB(2) 1690 and 1670/96-97)
32. Members noted the reports.
33. Miss Margaret NG, a member of the Bills Committee on the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997, informed members that at the request of the Administration, the Bills Committee had agreed to hold consideration of the Bill in abeyance. The Bills Committee had also agreed to release its slot for the activation of a Bills Committee on the waiting list.
34. Mr Michael HO, Chairman of the Bills Committee on the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, said that the Bills Committee had completed scrutiny of the Bill and agreed to release its slot pending a report to the House Committee.
35. The Chairman said that the three Bills Committee slots would be allocated to the Bills Committees on the following Bills -
- Registered Designs Bill;
- Protection of the Harbour Bill;
- Employment (Amendment) Bill 1996; and Employment (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996.
X Any Other Business
(a) Hotel Accommodation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996
36. Mr CHAN Wing-chan said that the hotel industry had urged for the early scrutiny and passage of the Bill. He noted that the Administration had not accorded the Bill high priority.
37. The Chairman advised that the Bill was introduced into LegCo on 29 May 1996 and that the Panel on Home Affairs had considered the proposals contained in the Bill at its meeting on 26 April 1996. He said that if the Bill was not controversial, it could be referred to the relevant Panel for discussion so as to speed up the legislative process.
38. In response to the Chairman, the Legal Adviser said that one of the objects of the Bill was to improve the licensing system of hotels and guesthouses on which the industry had held different views. As far as the drafting aspect was concerned, the Bill was in order.
39. The Chairman suggested and members agreed that the Bill should be followed up by the Panel on Home Affairs, subject to the agreement of Mr Albert HO, Chairman of the Panel.
(b) Attendance of members at Bills Committee meetings
40. The Chairman advised that subsequent to the increase of the Bills Committees quota and the addition of a meeting slot during lunch time, attendance of members at Bills Committee meetings had been satisfactory. A total of 75 Bills Committee meetings were held in the first quarter of 1997 and no meeting had to be cancelled due to lack of quorum.
41. On the Subcommittee on Prison (Amendment) Rules 1996, the Chairman said that the Administration had failed to provide further revised Rules for the Subcommittees consideration since November 1996. He said that should members encounter difficulties in obtaining information or response from the Administration, he should be informed so that the matter could be taken up with the Chief Secretary.
42. The meeting ended at 3:36 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
7 April 1997
Last Updated on 16 August 1999