LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1000/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5

House Committee

Minutes of 14th meeting
held on Friday, 17 January 1997 at 3:33 p.m.
in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members present :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, 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 Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    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, OBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Members absent :

    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 LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok

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
Mr LEE Yu-sang
Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
Miss Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1
Assistant Secretary General 3
Ms Kitty CHENG
Assistant Legal Adviser 2
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)
Miss Odelia LEUNG
Chief Assistant Secretary (1) 1
Mrs Eleanor CHOW
Senior Assistant Secretary (House Committee)

I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 10 January 1997

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 931/96-97)

The minutes were confirmed.

II Matters arising

Report on Chairman’s meeting with the Chief Secretary

(a) Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 1996

2. The Chairman said that the Administration had yet to give notice for resumption of Second Reading debate on the Bill as it was considering further revisions to the Committee stage amendments of the Bill.


3. Mr Albert HO was concerned that the Administration might try to delay the matter. He said that if the Administration could not commit a date for resumption, Members might have to consider introducing a Member’s Bill to ensure that the legislation could be in place in July 1997. He asked the Chairman to raise the matter with the Chief Secretary.

(b) Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Regulation 1997

(LegCo Paper No. LS 86/96-97)

4. The Legal Adviser said that the Regulation sought to increase the fees payable for the issue or endorsement of a certificate of competence. The Administration had admitted that there were ambiguities in the present provisions of the principal Ordinance and was reviewing the relevant provisions with a view to introducing necessary amendments at the earliest opportunity. As this had no direct bearing on the proposed increase, he recommended that members support the Regulation. Members agreed.

5. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments to the Regulation, if any, was 22 January 1997.

(c) Legal Aid (Amendment) Bill 1996

6. The Legal Adviser said that members agreed to support the Bill in principle at the last meeting, subject to the revised version of the draft Legal Aid (Assessment of Resources and Contributions) (Amendment) Regulation 1996 being in order. He said that the Regulation which was proposed to come into operation at the same time as the Bill was now legally in order. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 29 January 1997.

7. The Chairman added that the Chief Secretary had clarified that a separate piece of legislation would be introduced to address the request of the Bills Committee on Coroners Bill to extend legal aid to persons attending death inquests.

(d) Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill 1997

8. The Chairman said that subsequent to the last meeting at which members had agreed not to set up a Bills Committee on the above Bill, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, the Hong Kong-Kowloon Trades Union Council and the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union had written to LegCo expressing their concerns at the implications of the Bill.

9. Mr Michael HO opined that written submissions should be invited from these organizations and studied by members before deciding on whether to form a Bills Committee to study the Bill. Mr James TIEN said that Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, Member in charge of the Bill, had no objection to the setting up of a Bills Committee.

10. In response to Mr Frederick FUNG, Miss CHAN Yuen-han said that the Bill would be discussed by the Panel on Manpower at the meeting to be held in the following week. In view of the concerns raised by different organizations, she suggested and members agreed to set up a Bills Committee to study the Bill. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee : Mr Michael HO Mun-ka, Mr Howard YOUNG, Mr James TIEN Pei-chun, Mr LEE Cheuk-yan (as advised by Mr James TIEN), Miss CHAN Yuen-han and Mr Lawrence YUM Sin-ling.

III Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 947/96-97)

11. Members noted the report and that one Subcommittee would report to this meeting under agenda item VI.

12. The Chairman said that the Administration had requested that the Bills Committee on Freight Containers (Safety) Bill which was set up at the last meeting be accorded top priority. The Bill was one of the 41 Bills which had to be passed before 1 July 1997. Although there was no Bills Committee slot, preparatory work for the Bill could commence if it was moved to the first position on the waiting list. Members agreed to the revised priority, subject to the order of the Member’s Bills on the waiting list not being affected.

IV Legal Service Division report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order 42(3A)

(a) Human Reproductive Technology Bill


13. The Chairman informed members that the Legal Service Division would provide a report to the House Committee in due course.

(b) Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill 1997

(LegCo Paper No. LS 85/96-97)

14. The Chairman advised members that this was one of the 41 Bills which had to be passed before 1 July 1997.

15. Referring members to the paper, the Legal Adviser said that the Legal Service Division was still scrutinizing the Bill and would provide a further report to the House Committee.

Panel on Financial Affairs

16. Dr HUANG Chen-ya suggested that the policy aspect of the Bill be first discussed by the Panel on Financial Affairs. Members agreed to defer a decision on the Bill, pending a report from the Panel.

V Business for the LegCo sitting on 29 January 1997

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 472/96-97)

17. 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.

(b) Statement

18. No statement had been notified.

(c) Government Motion

19. No motion had been notified.

(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

(i) Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill 1997

(ii) Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 1997

20. Mr Fred LI informed members that the Administration would brief the Panel on Welfare Services on the Bill on Monday, 20 January 1997.

21. The Chairman advised members that the above two Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 29 January 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 31 January 1997.

(e) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading

(i) Environmental Impact Assessment Bill

(ii) Electricity (Amendment) Bill 1996

(iii) Waste Disposal (Amendment) Bill 1996

(iv) Motor Vehicles (First Registration Tax) (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996

(v) Carriage by Air Bill

(vi) Legal Aid (Amendment) Bill 1996

22. The Chairman said that members had agreed at previous meetings that the Second Reading debates on the above Bills be resumed. The deadline for giving notice of Committee stage amendments, if any, was 20 January 1997.

(f) Motion debate on "Presidency of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong"

23. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mrs Elizabeth WONG.

(g) Motion debate on "Consultation paper on Copyright Bill"

24. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr Henry TANG.

25. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments to the above motions, if any, was 22 January 1997.

VI Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

(a) Report of the Subcommittee on Travel Industry Compensation Fund (Amount of Ex Gratia Payments and Financial Penalty) (Amendment) (No 2) Rules 1996

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 701/96-97)

26. Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Chairman of the Subcommittee, reported on the deliberations of the Subcommittee. He said that the majority of the members of the Subcommittee had expressed support for the Administration’s proposal to raise the ex-gratia payment to 90% of outbound tour fares. Mr Fred LI held a different view and would move a motion at the sitting on 29 January 1997 to amend the Rules to make the rate of ex-gratia payment equal to the full amount of outbound fares.

27. In response to the Chairman, Mr Fred LI said that subject to the decision of the Council on the Rules, he would consider withdrawing the Travel Agents (Travel Industry Compensation Fund (Amount of Ex-gratia Payments and Financial Penalty) Rules) (Amendment) Bill 1996.

(b) Report of the Bills Committee on the Occupational Safety and Health Bill

28. Mr Michael HO, Chairman of the Bills Committee, informed members that the Administration had submitted the draft Occupational Safety and Health Regulation together with the Bill. He suggested and members agreed that the Bills Committee should study the draft Regulation at the same time.

VII Any Other Business

(a) Staffing position of the Legislative Council Secretariat

29. Dr YEUNG Sum said that the policy decision of The Legislative Council Commission (the Commission) to facilitate Secretariat staff to resign in order to serve the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) was a more appropriate arrangement than the secondment arrangement contemplated previously. He nevertheless would like to seek clarification on the following -

  1. whether the decision of the Commission would affect the operation of the Secretariat; and
  2. whether the exercise of discretion to grant waiver of notice of resignation and to pay gratuity on a pro-rate basis to staff who resigned to join the PLC would also apply to staff who resigned for other reasons.

30. The Secretary General said that it was estimated that 15 staff members, including six senior staff members at Senior Executive Officer level or above, would resign from the Secretariat to work for the PLC. The vacancies so arose would be filled by acting or temporary appointments in accordance with the provisions set out in the Manual on Human Resource Polices and Practices of LegCo Secretariat. The Secretariat would ensure that this would not cause undue disruption to existing services to the Council. He had undertaken to report the staffing position to the Commission on a bi-weekly basis. He added that the Commission’s decision had helped to set the minds of staff at ease and boost staff morale.

31. Miss Margaret NG pointed out that the Commission’s decision must satisfy the following principles -

  1. the arrangement should be lawful;
  2. funds should be properly used;
  3. the independence of the Legislative Council should be maintained; and
  4. the arrangement should be fair to all staff members of the Secretariat.

32. Miss NG added that having regard to the uncertainty facing the Secretariat and subject to availability of funds and manpower, she opined that staff who resigned for other reasons should be accorded equitable treatment as those joining the PLC. Her view was supported by Dr YEUNG Sum, Miss Emily LAU and some members who also pointed out that some Secretariat staff might prefer working in other public organizations to working for the PLC.

33. Miss Emily LAU and Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung, both members of the Commission, said that the Commission had decided against extending the exercise of discretion to staff leaving the Secretariat for reasons other than joining the PLC on the ground that this might gravely affect the staffing position of the Secretariat.

34. Mr Michael HO enquired if the Commission had considered the legal implications of its decision. Mr James TO cautioned about the ramifications of any legal challenge by staff aggrieved by the Commission’s decision on the authority of the Commission and the status of the PLC.

35. Mr IP Kwok-him, a member of the Commission, said that the Commission had had thorough deliberations before taking a decision on the matter. He added that there should be an appropriate channel for the Commission’s decision to be explained to members.

36. Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that the 33 LegCo Members who were also PLC Members would try their best to convince the PLC that there should be a smooth transition for the entire Secretariat. Mr SZETO Wah said that a joint statement issued by the 33 Members to the effect that the Secretariat would continue to serve the legislature beyond 30 June 1997 would provide the best assurance to staff.


37. The Chairman said that the Commission was empowered under The Legislative Council Commission Ordinance to exercise discretion over staffing matters and that it was independent of the House Committee. He undertook to convey members’ views to the Commission for consideration. In response to Miss Emily LAU, he agreed that the Commission would be consulted on her suggestion that bi-weekly reports on staffing position prepared by the Secretariat should be circulated to all Members.

(b) Meeting with the Rt Hon Jeremy HANLEY, MP, Minister of State

38. The Chairman said that, as advised by Government House, Mr Jeremy HANLEY would like to have a meeting with members at 11:30 am on Friday, 31 January 1997 at Government House. A circular would be issued to ascertain the attendance of members.


39. Miss Emily LAU suggested and members agreed that Mr HANLEY should be requested to have an open meeting with members. The Chairman agreed to convey the request to Government House.

40. Members also agreed to raise the following topics for discussion with Mr HANLEY -

  1. British citizenship for ethnic minorities (proposed by Dr YEUNG Sum)
  2. Vietnamese migrants (proposed by Mr James TO)
  3. Law reform in compliance with provisions of the Bill of Rights Ordinance and laws relating to transitional arrangements
  4. Future reporting in respect of Hong Kong under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  5. Provisional Legislative Council
  6. British Government’s half-yearly report to Parliament, before and after the handover, on developments in Hong Kong

    (items (iii-vi) above proposed by Miss Emily LAU)

  7. The Legal Sub-group of the SAR Preparatory Committee’s recommendations to repeal and reinstate certain laws

    (Post-meeting note: this item was proposed by Miss Emily LAU on 20 January 1997)

(c) Governor’s Question Time on 23 January 1997

41. The Chairman said that the Governor would answer questions from members on the following topics-

  1. The Governor’s visit to London; and
  2. Judge Caird case.

42. The meeting ended at 4:35 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
29 January 1997

Last Updated on 16 August 1999