LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1224/96-97
Senior Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 31 January 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1149/96-97)
The minutes were confirmed.
II Matters arising
Report on Chairmans meeting with the Chief Secretary
(a) Legislative Programme 1996-97
The Chairman said that he had asked the Administration to introduce bills not later than the first week of April, except those which were urgent or had to await Joint Liaison Groups agreement. The Director of Administration had replied that the target so far had been the last week of April, but he would check to see if it was possible to bring the deadline forward.
Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung and Mr LEE Cheuk-yan were concerned about members having to observe the same deadline in the case of Members Bills, having regard to the lead time required by the Administration and the President to comment on possible charging effect. The Chairman said that Members should observe the same deadline and urged Members to forward their bills as early as practicable to enable the President to rule before the deadline.
Miss Margaret NG was concerned about the progress of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill 1997 and the Jury (Amendment) Bill 1997 which set out specific provisions regarding Habeas Corpus currently applied to Hong Kong and the jury system in Hong Kong respectively. The Chairman undertook to convey her concern to the Chief Secretary.
(b) British Nationality (Hong Kong) Bill
Referring to the announcement made by the Home Secretary on 4 February 1997 about the British Governments intention to make provisions to enable the solely British ethnic minorities in Hong Kong to apply for registration as British citizens, the Chairman advised members that he had had a meeting with Mr Bob Whalley, Immigration Policy Director
of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, when he was recently in London. He briefed members on the following points made by Mr Whalley -
- British citizenship would only be granted to non-Chinese ethnic minorities who were permanent residents in Hong Kong and who were stateless;
- The British Government would grant citizenship on an individual, not family, basis;
- The British Government was considering whether to introduce Committee stage amendments to Lord Willoughby de Brokes bill, which would receive Second Reading in the House of Commons on 14 February 1997, or draft new legislation for the scheme. Even if the next general election would be held in May, there should be no problem for the Bill to gain passage and become law before 1 July 1997 because it had all-Party support;
- The British Government had to carefully examine whether the granting of British citizenship to the ethnic minorities would affect their right of abode in Hong Kong; and
- The British Government had yet to decide how to deal with those ethnic minorities who renounced their nationality after the Home Secretarys announcement.
Dr YEUNG Sum suggested and members agreed that the Chairman should write to the British Government welcoming the change of policy and expressing members wish that enactment of the legislation and implementation of the scheme should be completed before 1 July 1997.
The Chairman said that the Home Secretary had written to him suggesting that LegCo Members who had further points on the Bill should forward their comments to the British Government as soon as possible (Appendix I).
Mr Ronald ARCULLI suggested and Mr James TO, Chairman of the Panel on Security, agreed that the Panel should seek the views of the non-Chinese ethnic minorities and also pass such views to the British Government for consideration.
Members noted that the issue of British citizenship for non-Chinese ethnic minorities would be raised at the meeting with the Foreign Secretary on 17 February 1997.
(Post-meeting note : The meeting with the Foreign Secretary was advanced to Sunday, 16 February 1997 at 4:30 pm at Government House.)
III Legal Service Division report on the subsidiary legislation to be tabled in the Legislative Council on 19 February 1997 (gazetted on 31 January 1997 and 5 February 1997)
(LegCo Papers Nos. LS 105 & 107/96-97)
Referring to LegCo Paper No. LS 105/96-97, the Acting Legal Adviser drew members attention to the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulation 1997 which provided for the additional fare for hiring of a taxi involving the use of the Western Harbour Crossing. The Transport Advisory Committee and the Panel on Transport had been consulted and supported the additional fare prescribed by the Regulation. The Legal Service Division had raised some queries regarding the drafting aspects of the Regulation and would make a further report if necessary.
Members raised no queries on the remaining items of the subsidiary legislation.
IV Further business for the LegCo sitting on 19 February 1997
(a) Government Motion
Resolution under section 100A of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) - to be moved by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
(LegCo Paper No. LS 108/96-97)
The Acting Legal Adviser said that the resolution sought to increase the fines in respect of various offences under a number of Ordinances and Regulations, and to convert them into the standard scale where appropriate. The drafting of the resolution was in order.
Mr James TO queried the effectiveness of the proposed increases in fines as a deterrent to the related offences. He expressed concern about the increases in fines under the Buildings Ordinance which would affect owners or owners corporations of old buildings. He suggested that the Administration be requested to defer the resolution to enable the matter be further considered by, say, the relevant Panel. His view was supported by Mr Ronald ARCULLI.
The Acting Legal Adviser suggested that to save members time, the Legal Service Division would first seek comments of the Administration in regard to the points raised by Mr TO. He added that the Administration should be requested to withdraw the resolution scheduled for the sitting on 19 February 1997. Members agreed.
(b) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(i) The Hong Kong Institute of Housing Bill
(Members Bill to be introduced by Mr Edward S T HO)
(ii) Immigration (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1997
(Members Bill to be introduced by Miss CHAN Yuen-han)
The Chairman advised that the above two Bills, together with the five Bills on which members had
been briefed at the last meeting, would be introduced into LegCo on 19 February 1997 and be considered by the House Committee on 21 February 1997.
V Business for the LegCo sitting on 26 February 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 580/96-97)
20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
No statement had been notified.
(c) Government Motions
(i) Three resolutions under section 5(3)(b) of the Public Bus Services Ordinance (Cap. 230) - to be moved by the Secretary for Transport
(LegCo Paper No. LS 106/96-97)
The Acting Legal Adviser said that the purpose of the three resolutions was to seek LegCos approval to exclude the application of certain provisions of the profit control scheme to the New Lantao Bus Company, Citybus Limited and Long Win Holdings Limited. The legal and drafting aspects of the resolutions were in order.
Members raised no queries on the resolution.
(ii) Resolution under section 7 of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59) - to be moved by the Secretary for Education and Manpower
(LegCo Paper No. LS 109/96-97)
The Acting Legal Adviser said that the resolution sought to ensure the safety and health of workers in asbestos work by introducing new and additional protective measures. There would be a grace period of six months after the LegCo approved the Regulation for the proprietors to prepare for and implement the control measures. The legal and drafting aspects of the resolution were in order.
Members raised no queries on the resolution.
(d) Bill - 1st and 2nd Readings
The Chairman said that the Bill would be introduced into LegCo on 26 February 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 7 March 1997.
(e) Bill - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1997
The Chairman said that at the last meeting on 31 January 1997, members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
(f) Motion debate on "Matters relating to the Hong Kong elderly living in Guangdong"
Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr CHAN Wing-chan.
(g) Motion debate on "Setting up of a maintenance board"
Members noted that the motion would be moved by Dr LAW Chi-kwong. The wording of the motion was tabled at the meeting.
The Chairman said that the deadline for members to give notice of amendments to the above motions, if any, was 19 February 1997 and that the usual speaking arrangements should apply.
VI Advance information on motion debate for the LegCo sitting on
5 March 1997
(a) Motion debate on "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights"
Members noted the subject of the motion to be moved by Dr John TSE Wing-ling.
(b) Motion debate on "Existence of Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong after 1997"
Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Miss Christine LOH.
The Chairman advised that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments to, the above motions, if any, were 18 February 1997 and 26 February 1997 respectively.
VII Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(a) Report of the Bills Committee on Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996 and Toys and Childrens Products Safety (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 850/96-97)
Mr Fred LI, Chairman of the Bills Committee, reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee. He said that the Bills Committee was in support of the general principles of the Bills.
Members agreed that the Second Reading debates on the Bills be resumed on 26 February 1997.
(b) Report of the Panel on Security - Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997
Mr James TO, Chairman of the Panel on Security, explained that the Bill sought to bring the immigration status of resident British citizens into line with that of citizens of other countries. The Bill would be introduced into LegCo on 19 February 1997. A Members Bill on related aspects entitled Immigration (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1997 would
also be introduced by Miss CHAN Yuen-han on the same day. At the Panel meeting on 13 February 1997, the Administration proposed that the Bill should come into operation on 1 April 1997. The Secretary for Security had written to the Chairman of the House Committee requesting that the Bill be scrutinized as early as possible (The letter was tabled and attached at Appendix II). In view of the implications of the Bill on the British community and limited time available for scrutiny, Mr TO suggested that a subcommittee under the House Committee be immediately set up to study the Government Bill and Miss CHANs Bill together, pending introduction of the Bills into LegCo and formation of a Bills Committee. Members agreed. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mrs Selina CHOW (as advised by Mr Ronald ARCULLI), Mr James TO, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr Albert HO, Mr Bruce LIU and Miss Margaret NG.
VIII Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1177/96-97)
Members noted that there was one Bills Committee slot and that the Bills Committee on Freight Containers (Safety) Bill could be activated, as recommended in the Director of Administrations letter tabled at the meeting (Appendix III). Members also agreed to the priority of the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill proposed by the Administration.
IX Any Other Business
LegCo Fun Day
(LegCo Paper No. AS 108/96-97)
CPIO briefed members on the paper and reported that 32 members had so far indicated that they would join the event.
The Chairman urged members to participate and thanked members of the Organizing Committee for their contribution.
The meeting ended at 3:44 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
19 February 1997
Last Updated on 16 August 1999