LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 70/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5
Minutes of 1st meeting
held on Friday, 4 October 1996 at 2:30 pm
in the Legislative Council Chamber
Members Present :
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
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 Michael HO Mun-ka
Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
Hon LEE Wing-tat
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 YEUNG Sum
Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon IP Kwok-him
Hon LAU Chin-shek
Hon LAW Chi-kwong
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon Margaret NG
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon TSANG Kin-shing
Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling
Members Absent :
Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon LO Suk-ching
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
Clerk in attendance :
Mrs Justina LAM Assistant Secretary General 2
Staff in attendance :
Mr Jimmy MA Legal Adviser
Mr LAW Kam-sang Deputy Secretary General
Mr LEE Yu-sang Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
Miss Pauline NG Assistant Secretary General 1
Mr Ray CHAN Assistant Secretary General 3
Mr Stephen LAM Assistant Legal Adviser 4
Mr Arthur CHEUNG Assistant Legal Adviser 5
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)
The Chairman made the following opening remarks:
- He had received a letter from Mr Jonathan DAW, former Legal Adviser, who would like to send regards to all members.
- On behalf of the House Committee, he would like to wish Mr TSANG Kin-shing and other members who would join an expedition to Diaoyu Islands a safe and successful trip.
I Confirmation of minutes of meeting on 27 September 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 2225/95-96)
2. The minutes were confirmed
II Matters arising
Report on Chairmans meeting with the Chief Secretary
(a) Handover Ceremony
3. The Chairman said that the Chief Secretary had advised that it was an internationally accepted practice for the host territory to shoulder the expenditure incurred. She quoted the Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund as an example. He had advised the Chief Secretary that members requested that the Panel on Home Affairs should discuss the funding request before submission of the request to the Finance Committee.
(b) Scheduling of policy briefings
4. The Chairman said that he had conveyed to the Chief Secretary members concern that insufficient advance notice had been given for briefings to Members.
(c) Deadline for introduction of bills
5. The Chairman said that the Chief Secretary had advised that the plan was to introduce bills into LegCo up to the end of April 1997. Taking into account that there were only about seven weeks from the end of April to the end of June and that a Bills Committee had to report to the House Committee two
weeks before the recommended date of resumption of Second Reading debate on a bill, he was concerned that the actual time left for scrutiny was only about five weeks.
6. Referring to the Legislative Programme 1996-97 announced in the Governor Policy Address, Mr LEE Wing-tat said that the Administration should brief the relevant Panels on details of the legislative proposals as early as possible. This might obviate the need to set up Bills Committees when the bills were introduced into LegCo. Mr CHAN Kam-lam was concerned that the bulk of the bills would be introduced into LegCo towards the end of April and urged the Administration to provide a time table for introducing the bills into LegCo. The Chairman agreed to convey members view to the Chief Secretary.
7. The Chairman reminded members to give the House Committee early notice of the bills that they wished to introduce into the Council.
III Legal Advisers report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 2 October 1996 (gazetted on 27 September 1996)
(LegCo Paper No. LS 1/96-97)
8. The Legal Adviser introduced the paper and advised that a further report on the Rabies (Amendment) Regulation 1996 would be made to members.
9. Members agreed to support the remaining items of subsidiary legislation.
IV Position report on Bills Committees and subcommittees
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 3/96-97 and Mr LEUNG Yiu-chungs letter dated 25 September 1996)
10. The Chairman said that as one Bills Committee had completed work, the vacant slot would be allocated to the next one on the waiting list, i.e. the Bills Committee on the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints (Amendment) Bill 1996.
11. In response to the Chairman, Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung briefly introduced his letter. He said that there was no need to form a Bills Committee to study the Employment (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 on the ground that it had the support of the Labour Advisory Board. Moreover, for the benefit of employees, the provisions relating to end-of-year payment contained in the Bill should best be implemented before the end of the year. It was his understanding that the decision of the House Committee to set up a Bills Committee had been made mainly as a result of its concern about the proposed provisions for maternity protection contained in the Employment (Amendment) Bill 1996.
12. The Chairman said that the House Committee had decided to form a Bills Committee to study both the No. 1 and No. 2 Bills, and that three organizations had so far made submissions on both Bills. Mr LEUNG said that he was unaware that there had been submissions on the No. 2 Bill and asked whether the points raised in the submissions were technical and whether the Legal Service Division could assist in resolving the points made without the need to involve the Bills Committee. The Legal Adviser pointed out that the Law Society of Hong Kong had made some comments on the proposal concerning amendment to entitlement for end-of-year payment on a pro-rata basis, which was a matter of policy for the Bills Committee to consider.
13. After some discussion, members agreed that since a decision had been taken by the House Committee on 31 May 1996 to form a Bills Committee to study the No. 2 Bill, and that submissions had been made by the public on the Bill, it would be inappropriate to remove the Bill from the terms of reference of the Bills Committee at this stage. In any event, the Bills Committee, now ranked fifth on the waiting list, should be able to commence work in time for the Bill to be passed before the end of the year.
V Further report by the Legal Adviser on outstanding bill
Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. LS 2/96-97)
14. The Legal Adviser said that members had previously agreed to support the Bill to have its Second Reading debate resumed. As a result of submissions from the motor trade, the Administration had
now proposed some amendments to the Bill which were considered in order from the legal point of view. Members raised no objection to the proposed amendments.
VI Further business for the LegCo sitting on 9 October 1996
Bill - 1st and 2nd Readings
Arbitration (Amendment) Bill 1996
15. The Chairman said that the above Bill would be introduced into LegCo on 9 October 1996 and considered by the House Committee on 11 October 1996.
VII Business for the LegCo sitting on 16 & 17 October 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 25/96-97)
16. The Chairman said that in accordance with the convention, 20 written questions, and no oral question, had been scheduled for the sitting at which the Policy debate would be held.
Resolution under section 34(2) of the Mental Health (Amendment) Regulation 1996 - to be moved by Mr James TO Kun-sun
17. Mr James TO briefly introduced the purpose of the resolution which was to further restrict the power of a medical superintendent to inspect postal articles, etc. intended to be sent by a patient to certain persons. While the relevant Subcommittee would discuss this Regulation at its meeting to be held on 5 October 1996, the Administration had already indicated its agreement to the resolution.
(c) Debate on Motion of Thanks
18. The Chairman said that in accordance with past practice, he would move the motion. The maximum speaking time for each Member would be 15 minutes. Members who wished to
speak would raise their hands during the debate and wait to be called to speak by the President. Any Member who wished to speak on a particular day should advise the Secretariat in advance.
VIII Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(a) Report of the Subcommittee to prepare for the setting up of a select committee to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the retirement of Mr LEUNG Ming-yin, former Director of Immigration
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 2226/95-96)
19. Mr IP Kwok-him, chairman of the Subcommittee, reported on the deliberations of the Subcommittee.
20. Miss Margaret NG said that the wording of the motion should be more specific having regard to the powers conferred under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance (Cap. 382) to the select committee in conducting the inquiry. She considered the words "related issues" ("¦³Ãö¨Æ©y") too broad and cautioned that the select committee might be vested with powers which might be too wide.
21. Mr IP said that the terms of the proposed motion were similar to the wording of the motions adopted for similar inquiries previously conducted by LegCo. Members of the Subcommittee unanimously supported the wording of the motion.
22. Members who found the proposed wording of the motion acceptable said that there were merits to cast the motion in broad terms to facilitate an in-depth inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Mr LEUNGs departure and that despite the inclusion of the words "related issues" ("¦³Ãö¨Æ©y"), what information would be regarded as related or not related would be restricted by the main issue of the inquiry i.e. the departure of Mr LEUNG Ming-yin.
23. After some discussion, the Chairman said that the proposed motion was subject to amendments and debate in the Council. Individual Members were at liberty to move amendments to the motion which would be moved at the LegCo sitting on 23 October 1996.
24. Members endorsed the Subcommittees recommendations in paragraphs 4-7 of the paper. They noted that a circular inviting all Members to indicate whether they were willing to accept nominations to serve on the select committee would be issued shortly.
25. In response to Mr Martin LEE, the Legal Adviser and Deputy Secretary General advised that the quorum of a select committee was one third of its members excluding the chairman, and that the chairman should not vote, although in the event of a tie vote, he would have a casting vote.
(b) Report of the Bills Committee on the Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 11/96-97)
26. Referring members to the paper, Mrs Miriam LAU reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee on behalf of Mrs Selina CHOW, the chairman, who was not able to attend the meeting. In response to Mr Martin LEE and Miss Margaret NG, she explained the rationale for expanding the scope of section 28 to further provide that a person who transmitted a signal "believing" it to be false would also commit an offence.
27. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed at the LegCo sitting on 23 October 1996. The Chairman advised members that the deadline to give notice to move Committee Stage amendments, if any, was 12 October 1996.
(c) Report of the Panel on Security - Repatriation of Vietnamese migrants and Non-Chinese ethnic minorities
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 14/96-97)
28. Mr James TO Kun-sun, chairman of the Panel on Security, reported on the deliberations and recommendations of the Panel on the two issues, as set out in the paper.
29. On the issue of non-Chinese ethnic minorities, the Chairman supplemented that the Administration had earlier advised that the number of non-Chinese ethnic minorities in Hong Kong was about 6,000. His recent discussion with two Members of the House of Lords on the subject was also to no avail.
30. Miss Emily LAU said that the figures provided by the Administration was not scientifically based. A registration exercise was necessary to ascertain the number of non-Chinese ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. She suggested that the letter to the Administration should also be copied to Members of the Executive Council.
31. Members endorsed the recommendations of the Panel. The House Committee would pursue the two issues further by writing to the UK Government and the Hong Kong Administration respectively.
IX Any Other Business
Provision of papers by the Administration
32. The Chairman said that experience from the last session showed that the Administration had often ignored LegCo Panels request for information papers to be provided well in advance of meetings. Members agreed to his suggestion that the Administration should be requested to provide papers and documents simultaneously in Chinese and English to Panels one week before the scheduled meetings.
33. Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that in addition to information papers, the Administration should also provide comments promptly on draft minutes of committee meetings. His view was echoed by members. Mr SIN Chung-kai suggested that the draft minutes should be taken as confirmed if the Administration did not reply before a specified deadline.
34. The Chairman agreed to convey members view to the Chief Secretary.
35. The meeting ended at 3:50 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
9 October 1996
Last Updated on 16 August 1999