LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 191/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5
Legislative Council House Committee
Minutes of 3rd meeting
held on Friday, 18 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 Allen LEE, CBE, JP
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, 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 Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
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 Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
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
Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling
Members absent :
Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon TSANG Kin-shing
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
- Mr Ray CHAN
- Assistant Secretary General 3
- Ms Kitty CHENG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 2
- Mr Stephen LAM
- Assistant Legal Adviser 4
- Ms LEUNG Siu-kam
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Ms Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Mrs Percy MA
- Chief Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
- Mrs Betty LEUNG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 3
- Mrs Eleanor CHOW
- Senior Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 11 October 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 126/96-97)
The minutes were confirmed.
II Matters arising
(a) Report on Chairmans meeting with the Chief Secretary
(i) Members Bills
2. Regarding the time taken by the Administration to comment on possible charging effect of bills, the Chairman said that the Chief Secretary had undertaken to look into the matter, and in particular, Mr LEUNG Yiu-chungs complaint.
3. The Chairman said that he had also discussed the matter with the President who advised that it had been the practice to take into account the Administrations views before ruling on whether a bill had any charging effect. He would normally impose a deadline for the Administration to reply, depending on the complexity of a bill. The Chairman added that the President had already chased the Administration for a reply regarding Mr LEUNGs Housing (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1996 in September. The President had agreed to give a ruling on the Bill in November irrespective of whether the Administration had responded by then.
4. Mr Martin LEE was of the view that the introduction of a Members bill should not be delayed because of the slow response from the Administration. He said that the President should exercise his discretion to give a ruling under such circumstances.
5. The Secretary General said that it was only fair for the Administrations case to be heard before a ruling was made.
6. The Legal Adviser said that Mr LEUNGs Bill was complex in that it involved a statutory body which had special financial arrangements with the Government. The Bill might involve constitutional issues which had not been raised in the past.
7. Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung was concerned about the channel of communication between the President and Members seeking a ruling on "charging effect" of a bill. He said that a Member in charge of a bill should be kept informed of the progress of the bill. The Chairman said that he would convey members concerns to the President.
8. In response to the request of Mr Bruce LIU at the last meeting for information on the number of Members Bills awaiting the Law Draftsmans certificate and pending the Presidents ruling, the Chairman advised that -
- six bills were still awaiting the Administrations comments/the Presidents ruling on possible charging effect;
- three bills were currently with the Law Draftsman seeking a SO 39(1A) certificate; and
- the Law Draftsman had issued SO 39(1A) certificates for five Members bills on which the Secretariat had no prior information.
(ii) Legislative Programme for 1996-97
9. The Chairman said that he would continue to request the Administration to provide further details on bills which had to be enacted in this session and their order of priority. He also invited members views on the approach in dealing with the important and urgent bills which would be introduced into LegCo at the end of the session. Members were generally of the view that these bills should be carefully scrutinised and should follow the normal legislative procedure.
(b) Public Order (Amendment) Bill 1996 - Members Bill introduced by Mr James TO Kun-sun
(LegCo Paper No. LS 11/96-97 issued for the meeting on
11 October 1996 refers)
10. Members agreed that a Bills Committee need not be formed to scrutinize the Bill and that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
III Legal Advisers report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 16 October 1996 (gazetted on 11 October 1996)
(LegCo Paper No. LS 12/96-97)
11. Members supported the subsidiary legislation.
IV Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 159/96-97)
12. Members noted the report.
13. The Chairman said that according to House Rules, a Bills Committee (BC) should, whenever possible, complete scrutiny of a bill within three months of its commencement. He noted that ten BCs had studied their respective bills for over three months and requested chairmen of these BCs to report on the progress.
(a) Estate Agents Bill
14. Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo, chairman of the BC, said that the Bill contained controversial issues which required detailed deliberation by the BC. In order to expedite the scrutiny process, the BC was considering the setting up of a subcommittee under the BC to study the technical aspects of the Bill.
(b) Environmental Impact Assessment Bill
15. Mr Edward HO, chairman of the BC, reported that the BC had yet to consider amendments recently proposed by Miss Christine LOH. He said that the BC would complete its study soon.
(c) Coroners Bill
16. Dr LEONG Che-hung, chairman of the BC, said that the BC was still awaiting the Administrations reply on a number of questions. He hoped that the BC would be able to conclude its study with one or two more meetings.
(d) Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 1996
17. Miss Margaret NG, chairman of the BC, explained that the scrutiny of the Bill had taken longer than expected because the Bill was not in a ready state in that its concept was incomplete and its drafting was crude. The BC had therefore taken much time to improve it. The major issues of the Bill had been tackled and the BC should be able to complete its study with two more meetings.
18. Mr Ronald ARCULLI added that an issue which related to the Bill of Rights remained unresolved. Miss Margaret NG responded that she had conveyed the BCs views to the Attorney General. Should the Administration insist on its views, the matter would have to be debated and voted upon by the Council.
(e) Evidence (Amendment) Bill 1996
19. Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung, chairman of the BC, said that the Bill had important policy implications. The BC had yet to reach consensus on the principle of the Bill. Two more meetings had been scheduled. He hoped that the BC would conclude its study by the end of November.
(f) Public Bus Services (Amendment) Bill 1996
20. The Chairman said that the next BC meeting would be held in December to consider a research report relating to the monitoring of bus services in overseas cities. He suggested to hold the BC in abeyance so that the vacant slot could be allocated to the next BC on the waiting list.
21. Mr LEE Wing-tat informed members that the BC had spent its first five months waiting for a research report, and that it was now spending another two months for a second report. He said that the House Committee should be alerted in such circumstances so that arrangements could be worked out in order not to waste resources and to cause unnecessary delay to other BCs on the waiting list.
22. As Mr Zachary WONG, chairman of the BC, was not at the meeting, members agreed that, subject to his agreement to hold the BC in abeyance, the BC on the Patents Bill would be activated.
(Post-meeting note : Mr Zachary WONG has agreed to hold the BC in abeyance.)
(g) Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 1996
23. Mr Ronald ARCULLI, chairman of the BC, said that the BC had commenced clause-by-clause examination and would be able to make a detailed report to the House Committee in November.
(h) Electricity (Amendment) Bill 1996
24. Mrs Selina CHOW, chairman of the BC, said that the BC should conclude its study with a few more meetings.
(i) Housing (Amendment) Bill 1996 and Housing (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996
25. Mr LEE Wing-tat reported on behalf of Mr Frederick FUNG Kin-kee, chairman of the BC who was not at the meeting. He said that the BC was in the process of discussing details of the Bill with the Administration.
(j) Banking (Amendment) Bill 1996
26. Mr Ronald ARCULLI reported on behalf of the BC and said that as the Bill contained important issues, the BC might not be able to report to the House Committee until the end of the year.
27. The Chairman advised members that in the event that the progress of BCs was hampered because the Administration failed to give prompt replies or sufficient information, the chairmen of BCs should bring the matter to the attention of the House Committee so that he could raise the problem with the Chief Secretary. If consensus was unlikely to be reached with the Administration or amongst members of the BC over a bill, the bill should be debated in Council to avoid piling up in the legislative programme.
28. The Chairman said that the House Committee would make it a standing practice to review work progress of BCs that had been in action for over three months.
V Further business for the LegCo sitting on 23 October 1996
Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
(i) Employment (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1996
(ii) University of Hong Kong (Amendment) Bill 1996
(iii) The Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and South East Asia Bill
29. The Chairman said that members had already agreed to the resumption of Second Reading debates on the above Bills at the last meeting.
VI Business for the LegCo sitting on 30 October 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 82/96-97)
30. The Chairman advised members that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
31. The Chairman said that he would discuss with the President the duration of the question time at LegCo sittings.
32. No statement had been notified.
(c) Government Motion
Resolution under section 30(1) of the Public Finance Ordinance (Cap 2) - to be moved by the Secretary for the Treasury
(LegCo Paper No. LS 13/96-97)
33. The Legal Adviser advised members that the establishment of the new suspense account was due to a change in accounting arrangements and according to the Administration, it involved no change in policy. In response to Messrs Ronald ARCULLI, CHAN Kam-lam and Eric LI, the Legal Adviser agreed to seek the Administrations clarification on the following -
- whether the new suspense account would affect the cost of water supply and the calculation of cost recovery by the Water Supplies Department;
- whether there was a plan to transfer other types of unallocated supplies now being held by the Government Supplies Department to other departments; and
- the nature of the commercial or industrial activity involved in the suspense account given that under section 30(1) of the Public Finance Ordinance (Cap 2), a suspense account was established for the purposes of "any commercial or industrial activity carried on by or on behalf of the Government".
Members agreed that the Administration should be requested to consider deferring the motion scheduled to be moved on 30 October 1996.
(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(i) Whaling Industry (Regulation) Bill
(ii) Tsing Ma Control Area Bill
34. The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 30 October 1996 and considered by the House Committee on 1 November 1996.
(e) Motion debate on "Rate of pay adjustment" - to be moved by Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung
35. Mr LEUNG said that he would make minor refinement to the wording of his motion.
(f) Motion debate on "Review of the operation of trading funds" - to be moved by Mr CHAN Kam-lam
36. The Chairman said that members had considered the wording of the motion at the last meeting.
37. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 23 October 1996, and that the normal speaking arrangements should apply.
VII Advance information on motion debates for the LegCo sitting on
6 November 1996
(a) Motion debate on "Strengthening the monitoring of statutory public utilities companies funds"
38. Members noted the subject of Mr SINs motion.
(b) Motion debate on "Release of WANG Dan"
39. The Chairman referred members to the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr Albert HO Chun-yan which was tabled at the meeting (at Appendix).
40. Mr NGAI Shiu-kit was of the view that it would not be appropriate to turn LegCo into a forum for political debate on a motion which was unrelated to LegCo. He expressed his disagreement to the motion. The Chairman said that the motion was in order under the provisions of the Standing Orders.
41. The Chairman advised members that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments to, the above motions, were 22 October 1996 and 30 October 1996 respectively.
VIII Report of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(a) Second interim report of the Subcommittee on subsidiary legislation gazetted from 5 July 1996 to 13 September 1996
42. Mr Ronald ARCULLI, chairman of the Subcommittee, gave a verbal report on the deliberations of the Subcommittee. He said that he would move a motion on 30 October 1996 to extend the scrutiny period in respect of the Dutiable Commodities (Liquor) (Amendment) Regulation 1996, the Banking Ordinance (Amendment of Third Schedule) Notice 1996 and the Professional Accountants (Amendment) Ordinance 1995 (85 of 1995) (Commencement) Notice 1996 from 30 October 1996 to 6 November 1996.
43. Mr ARCULLI said that the Subcommittee had raised concerns about the last item which provided, inter alia, that certified public accountants might opt to register companies as corporate practices. To qualify for such a registration, companies had to meet certain requirements set out in the rules made by the Council of the Hong Kong Society of Accountants (HKSA). The Subcommittee was of the view that the rules should be gazetted in the form of subsidiary legislation. The HKSA, however, considered that the rules were a voluntary agreement between HKSA and its members, and therefore should be regarded as non-statutory in nature.
44. The Legal Adviser supplemented that the Legal Practitioners Ordinance (Cap. 159) had adopted a similar scheme in respect of compulsory insurance of solicitors in that the Council of the Law Society of Hong Kong was empowered to make rules for similar purposes and that these rules had been regarded as subsidiary legislation and therefore gazetted. He was of the view that the incorporation rules had legislative effect and that HKSA should follow the same legislative procedure as the Law Society.
45. Members agreed to support the motion to extend the scrutiny period of the subsidiary legislation in question.
(b) Report of the Panel on Information Policy - Review of legislation having an impact on press freedom
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 156/96-97)
46. Miss Emily LAU, Panel chairman, reported on the deliberations and recommendations of the Panel and sought
members agreement that the House Committee should write to the Chief Secretary to request the Administration to explain to the public the circumstances of the disagreement with the Chinese side on the Official Secrets Bill and the Crimes (Amendment) Bill and to gazette the Bills for introduction into LegCo, if consensus could not be reached with the Chinese side on the Bills by January 1997.
47. Mr Ronald ARCULLI asked whether it was appropriate to impose a deadline of January 1997 for issues which were being discussed by the Joint Liaison Group (JLG). Miss LAU said that members of the Panel had different views on the deadline; some preferred an earlier date while some preferred a later date. Taking into account the Chief Secretarys advice that all bills which must be enacted before 1 July 1997 would be introduced into LegCo before April and the scrutiny time needed for these two Bills, the Panel had agreed on the deadline of January 1997. However, she was open to members views on this.
48. While Mr Eric LI had no objection to requesting the Administration to give an explanation to the public if consensus could not be reached with the Chinese side, he had grave reservations about the suggestion that the House Committee should request the Administration to gazette the two Bills for introduction into LegCo by a certain deadline. In view of the controversial nature of the issues, he felt that it was unwise for LegCo to take on the responsibility for pressing the Administration to introduce the Bills into LegCo unilaterally. Miss LAU said that the Panel had in fact discussed Mr LIs concern and was unanimous in its position on this point.
49. In response to Miss Margaret NG, Mr LI said that the Administration could disclose the provisions of the Bills in the form of a white bill, green paper, etc., and not necessarily by gazettal of the Bills.
50. Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung said that it was important for members to offer concrete views to the Administration on the issues; otherwise, the Administration might not take any action if agreement could not be reached with the Chinese side.
51. Dr YEUNG Sum said that the major consideration was that the legislative process of these two important Bills had to be completed before 1 July 1997. He was in support of the Panels recommendations.
52. Mrs Selina CHOW suggested that the Administration be requested to report further progress of the JLG discussion by a certain deadline before further consideration was given to the Panels recommendations.
53. Mr IP Kwok-him said that members of his party, being non-Panel members, were not aware of the full details of the matter. They could not support the Panels recommendation on the basis of the paper at this meeting. Noting that Miss Emily LAU and Mr James TO would be out of town and could not attend the next meeting, he suggested that the matter be deferred for a decision at a later meeting.
54. On the Chairmans suggestion that the matter be deferred for a decision so that he could discuss first with the Chief Secretary in the following week, Mr James TO said that the Chief Secretary was unlikely to make any commitment at this stage. He suggested to put the matter to vote. Miss Margaret NG and Mr Martin LEE concurred with Mr TO.
55. The Chairman put the matter to vote. There were 19 votes for and 15 votes against the Panels proposal. The Chairman declared that the proposal was carried and that he would write to the Chief Secretary.
(c) Report of the Panel on Transport - Overseas Study Tour
56. Mrs Miriam LAU said that the Panel on Transport had agreed at its special meeting on 25 September 1996 to undertake an overseas study tour to gain some insight into the monitoring and operation of mass transit rail systems, other transport facilities and fare revision mechanism in other cities. It was hoped that with the benefit of the experiences of other metropolitan cities, members would be in a better position to determine the direction Hong Kong should take in addressing its own transport problems. A working group had been formed to draw up proposals for the study tour. At its first meeting on 16 October 1996, the working group suggested that the study tour should focus on city railway systems, the inter-link between railway and port services, and where
possible, city bus services. Mrs LAU added that members initially agreed to visit five cities between 8 February and 17 February 1997. These cities included Paris and Hamburg/Berlin, New York, Toronto and Tokyo/Seoul. The estimated expenditure for a one-week study tour travelling on economy class was about $60,000 for each participating member. Six Panel members had so far indicated their interest in joining the study tour. On behalf of the Panel, she would like to seek the House Committees support for a provision of $200,000 while the remainder of the expenses would be shared by participating members, amounting to about $30,000 each.
57. The Chairman advised members that of the provision of $400,000 for Members overseas duty visits in 1996-97, $240,000 had been earmarked for the three delegations to Geneva to attend committee hearings of the United Nations, and $160,000 for a delegation to the United Kingdom (UK) to observe the House of Commons debate on Hong Kong, if held. According to a press report on that day, there was a possibility that the debate on Hong Kong would be held in November. The House Committee had also agreed to send a delegation to Japan. Apart from the funds already committed for the two delegations to Geneva to attend hearings held on 2-3 October and 23 October, there was still a balance of about $280,000 for Members overseas duty visits. The Secretary General supplemented that he would identify savings for a Secretariat staff member to accompany the study tour.
58. A few members considered the proposed itinerary of the study tour to visit five cities in nine days very tight. Apart from the well being of the participating Members, they were also doubtful whether the tour could achieve its intended purpose. Mr Howard YOUNG suggested that the duration of the study tour be extended, and that the study tour should have priority for funding over the delegation to UK because Members could only observe and not participate in the House of Commons debate. Mr James TIEN suggested that the participating members of the study tour be split into two groups, each responsible for a number of cities so as to allow members to devote more time in each city. Mr Martin LEE and Miss Emily LAU suggested that the Panel re-consider the size of, and the number of cities proposed to be covered by, the study tour.
59. A few members said that it would facilitate discussion of the proposal if the purpose of the study tour, details of the itinerary, basis for selecting the cities for visit, etc., could be set out in a paper.
60. In response to members views, Mrs Miriam LAU said that following the working groups meeting on 16 October 1996, she would like to seize the first opportunity to advise the House Committee of the proposal and to seek members support to fund the proposed study tour. She added that an extended study tour would increase the cost substantially. Mr Albert CHAN, a Panel member, supplemented that his suggestion to split the study tour into two to enhance efficiency had not been supported on the ground that Members joining the study tour would not be able to draw comparison among the different mass transit systems.
61. Miss Emily LAU said that the agreed policy was that Members were entitled to travel on business class for overseas duty visits. If members considered the proposed study tour worthy of support, full provision should be allocated to the study tour even if this meant seeking supplementary provision from the Administration. Under the present proposal, Members who could not afford to pay $30,000 would be deprived of the opportunity to join the study tour.
62. Mr LEE Wing-tat said that bidding for funds under the vote on Members overseas duty visits should not be on a first-come-first-served basis. He suggested that The Legislative Council Commission consider devising a system for allocation of funds under the vote. Members agreed.
Panel on Transport
63. After some discussion, the Chairman concluded that the Panel should reconsider the proposal in the light of the views expressed by members.
IX Any Other Business
(a) LegCo Fun Day
(LegCo Paper No. AS 435/95-96)
64. Members agreed to hold a LegCo Fun Day in the Hong Kong Sports Institute on 22 February 1996. The Chairman asked members who were interested to join the Organising Committee to approach the Secretariat.
(b) Style change - Using a schedule for definitions
65. Mr Edward HO, chairman of the Bills Committee on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Bill, briefly explained the background to the paper.
66. In response to the Chairman, the Legal Adviser said that the Law Drafting Division had been looking at ways to improve the presentation of legislation to make it more readable and easier to understand. The EIA Bill was the first bill to use a Schedule for definitions. He said that the principle of the issue could be discussed by the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services, if members considered necessary. As regards where to put the definitions in the EIA Bill, it was up to the Bills Committee to consider.
Panel on AJLS
67. The Chairman asked whether discussion by the Panel would delay progress of the Bill. Miss Margaret NG, chairman of the Panel, said that the subject could be discussed at the next regular meeting of the Panel to be held on 11 November 1996. However, the Panel would like to listen to the views of the legal profession before it could make any recommendation on the issue. The Legal Adviser said that should the Bills Committee decide to follow the current practice i.e. to place the definitions at the beginning of the Bill, it could move an amendment at Committee Stage to such effect.
(c) Powers and responsibilities of the Legislative Council Members returned by the Wholesale and Retail functional constituency
68. Mrs Selina CHOW said that pursuant to the discussion at the House Committee meeting on 20 September 1996, the subject was also discussed by the Panel on Constitutional Affairs on 14 October 1996, but to no avail. To address problems faced by Members returned by the nine new functional constituencies, she referred members to the three options set out in her letter. Since both options 1 and 2 might not be appropriate, she would like to seek members support for option 3 which proposed the setting up of ad hoc subcommittees under the House Committee to assist Members concerned to deal with issues involving other independent councils and statutory bodies as and when these issues arose.
69. Messrs NGAN Kam-chuen and MOK Ying-fan had reservations about the proposal of setting up subcommittees to deal specifically with issues of the two Municipal Councils. Mr NGAN said that there were dedicated working groups within the two Councils to deal with policies on markets and hawkers, and that it was undesirable for LegCo to duplicate the work of the Councils. Members were welcomed to reflect their views on these issues to the Councils. Mr MOK said that operational matters such as management of markets could be referred to the departments concerned.
70. Dr YEUNG Sum said that Members of the Democratic Party had discussed the subject and agreed that a combination of options 1 and 2 would provide a solution to the situation faced by Mrs CHOW i.e. issues of Municipal Councils should be taken up by the Panel on Broadcasting, Culture and Sport, and failing that, by other relevant Panels. They objected to option 3 on the ground that setting up a specific subcommittee to handle issues raised by a certain category of Members would be unfair to other Members. It would also lead to a proliferation of subcommittees and that it would be better to work within the framework of the existing committee system.
71. In response to Mrs CHOW, a few members were of the view that other than Municipal Council issues clearly falling under the purview of the Panel on Broadcasting, Culture and Sport, other issues could be taken up by the most relevant Panels e.g. market rent policy and hawker policy by the Panel on Trade and Industry, and management of markets by the Panel on Home Affairs. Officers from the Urban Services Department and the Regional Services Department, other than those from the corresponding policy branches, should be invited to attend the Panel meetings when the issues were scheduled for discussion.
72. Mrs Selina CHOW said that it was important to provide a proper and transparent forum in LegCo for Members returned by the nine new functional constituencies to fulfil their responsibilities in reflecting views to the statutory bodies and in monitoring their operation.
73. The Chairman suggested that a subcommittee would only be set up to deal with any specific policy issue which fell outside the scope of any Panel and which was not within the policy area of any branch Secretary. The subcommittee
would be dissolved once it had completed its work. Mr James TO said that he had no objection to the arrangement as suggested by the Chairman, but he did not agree that the issues quoted by Mrs CHOW could not be dealt with by the existing Panels. Miss Margaret NG suggested that Mrs CHOW should approach existing Panels first, and in the event that it was not workable, she could then seek the House Committees agreement to set up a subcommittee. Mrs CHOW agreed.
74. The meeting ended at 5.05 p.m.
Legislative Council Secretariat
23 October 1996
Last Updated on 16 August 1999