LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 790/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5
Minutes of 11th meeting
held on Friday, 20 December 1996 at 2:30 pm.
in the Legislative Council Chamber
Members present :
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
Hon SZETO Wah
Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
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 Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
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 LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon LO Suk-ching
Hon Margaret NG
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
Members absent :
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
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 Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon LAU Chin-shek
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon TSANG Kin-shing
Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-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
- Mr LEE Yu-sang
- Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
- Miss Pauline NG
- Assistant Secretary General 1
- Ms Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Ms Kitty CHENG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 2
- Miss Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 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)
I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 6 December 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 670/96-97)
The minutes were confirmed.
II Matters arising
(a) Report on Chairmans meeting with the Chief Secretary
2. On priority of bills, the Chairman referred members to the following correspondence for discussion -
- Chief Secretarys letter dated 16 December 1996 - the House Committee had previously agreed to maintain the order of the Social Workers Registration Bill, irrespective of any changes to the priority of Government Bills on the waiting list proposed by the Administration. However, the Administration had advised that it could not accept in principle that this Bill should be given higher priority than those bills which had to be passed before 1 July 1997.
- Director of Administrations letter dated 19 December 1996 - the letter enclosed a revised priority list which recommended, inter alia, that the four vacant slots be allocated to the Bills Committees on the Official Secrets Bill; Railways Bill and Government Rent (Assessment and Collection) Bill, if formed, and the Bills Committee on the Occupational Safety and Health Bill. The former three Bills had to be enacted before 1 July 1997 and the last Bill involved public safety.
- Letter from the Hong Kong Veterinary Association - the Association requested members to accord priority to the Veterinary Surgeons Registration Bill to facilitate its enactment before the change of sovereignty.
3. Dr LAW Chi-kwong briefed members on the background leading to the Social Workers Registration Bill. He said that back in 1995, Mr HUI Yin-fat had drafted a Members Bill and obtained a certificate from the Law Draftsman for the Bill. However, the Administration had subsequently agreed to introduce a Government bill. If not for the repeated assurances of the Administration that it would
introduce a Government Bill to deal with the matter, the Members Bill would have been introduced either by Mr HUI or himself a long time ago.
4. Miss Emily LAU said that irrespective of Government or Members Bills, the House Committee should take an overview in deciding on the priority of bills on the waiting list. She found the revised priority list proposed by the Director of Administration not unacceptable.
5. Mr Michael HO said that it was the Governments prerogative to decide on the priority of Government Bills on the waiting list. He suggested that the Hong Kong Veterinary Association should be advised to approach the Administration direct in this respect. Members agreed.
6. After some discussion, members agreed to allocate the four vacant slots to the following Bills Committees-
Social Workers Registration Bill
Official Secrets Bill ) if
Railways Bill ) formed
Government Rent (Assessment and Collection) Bill )
(b) Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996
7. Miss Margaret NG said that in response to her concern, the Judiciary Administrator had drawn up some guidelines relating to the appointment of solicitors as recorders. After consulting the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Law Society of Hong Kong, she had proposed a number of amendments to the draft guidelines which were agreed to by the Judiciary Administrator. She recommended that the Bill be supported.
8. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
III Further report of Legal Service Division on subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 27 November 1996 (gazetted on 22 November 1996)
Food Business (Urban Council) (Amendment) (No. 3) Bylaw 1996
(LegCo Paper No. LS 69/96-97)
9. The Legal Adviser said that the legal and drafting aspects of the Bylaw were in order, but he drew members attention to an anomaly between the two municipal councils on the control of raw meat consumption.
10. Members agreed to support the subsidiary legislation and to refer the policy issue highlighted by the Legal Adviser to the Panel on Health Services for consideration. It was also agreed that the representatives of the Urban Services Department and the Regional Services Department be invited to attend the Panel meeting.
IV Reports of Legal Service Division on subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 18 December 1996 (gazetted on 6 and 13 December 1996)
(LegCo Papers Nos. LS 67 and LS 71/96-97)
11. Members noted that the Chairman together with Mr Michael HO would need some time to study the three items of subsidiary legislation under the Medical Registration Ordnance (Legal Notices 517, 520 and 521).
12. Members raised no other queries on the subsidiary legislation.
V Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 752/96-97)
13. Members noted the report.
14. Mr Edward HO, Chairman of the Bills Committee on the Environmental Impact Assessment Bill, said that as a result of the Bills Committees comments on the Administrations Committee stage amendments (CSAs), a report could not be made to the House Committee for this meeting. The Administrations revised CSAs were being circulated to members of the Bills Committee for consideration. It was expected that a written report would be made to the House Committee in early January.
VI Reports of Legal Service Division on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order No. 42(3A)
Bills introduced into the Legislative Council on 11 December 1996
(a) Securities and Futures Commission (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. LS 64/96-97)
15. The Legal Adviser briefly explained the objects of the Bill. He said that the subject was discussed by the Panel on Financial Affairs in February 1996. The Hong Kong Society of Accountants and the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce had raised objections to the Bill.
16. Mr Eric LI suggested and members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following members agreed to join : Dr HUANG Chen-ya, Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung, Mr David CHU Yu-lin, Dr LAW Cheung-kwok and Mr NGAN Kam-chuen.
(b) Housing (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1996 - Members Bill introduced by Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung
(LegCo Paper No. LS 63/96-97)
17. The Legal Adviser said that Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung, Member in charge of the Bill, had circulated a note explaining the background of the Bill to members. In view of the policy implications of the Bill, he recommended the setting up of a Bills Committee. Members agreed.
18. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee: Mr Edward S T HO, Mr LEE Wing-tat and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok.
Bills introduced into the Legislative Council on 18 December 1996
(c) Railways Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS 68/96-97)
19. The Legal Adviser said that in the speech made by the Secretary of Transport on moving the Second Reading of the Railways Bill, he had mentioned that the new legislation had to be in place before the Western Corridor Railway scheme
could be gazetted. It was the Administrations aim to have the Bill enacted in the early part of 1997 to enable the timely implementation of the project.
20. Members agreed that a Bills Committee be set up. The following members agreed to join : Mr Edward S T HO, Mr Zachary WONG Wai-yin, Mr CHAN Kam-lam and Mr NGAN Kam-chuen.
(d) Employees Retraining (Amendment) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. LS 73/96-97)
21. The Legal Adviser said that the object of the Bill was to extend the eligibility to apply for retraining under the Employees Retraining Ordinance to cover Hong Kong residents in general. The Bill, if enacted, would benefit the increasing number of legal immigrants from China. The Bill was quite straightforward and its legal and drafting aspects were in order.
22. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
(e) Official Secrets Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS 70/96-97)
23. The Chairman said that this was one of the 41 Bills which had to be enacted before 1 July 1997. The Director of Administration had recommended that top priority be given to this Bills Committee, if formed.
24. Members agreed that a Bills Committee be set up to study the Bill in detail. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee : Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing, Mr James TO Kun-sun and Miss Margaret NG.
(f) Ozone Layer Protection (Amendment) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. LS 66/96-97)
25. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill enabled Hong Kong to fulfill its international obligations to protect the earths ozone layer by improving the efficiency of the current procedures and strengthening the enforcement arrangements. The Bill introduced no new policy. The legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were in order.
26. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
(g) Government Rent (Assessment and Collection) Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS 72/96-97)
27. The Chairman said that this was one of the 41 Bills which had to be enacted before 1 July 1997.
28. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill aimed to implement the provisions in the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The Panel on Planning, Lands and Works would be briefed on the Bill on 21 January 1997. The Legal Service Division was still studying the technical aspects of the Bill. Members might wish to consider whether a Bills Committee was necessary.
29. Miss Margaret NG said that the legal profession had expressed concern on certain provisions of the Bill. She would need more time to study the Bill. Mr James TO suggested that a Bills Committee be set up to commence scrutiny of the Bill right away, and that the Administration should brief the Bills Committee, instead of the Panel, on the Bill. Members agreed.
30. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee: Mr James TO Kun-sun, Dr LAW Cheung-kwok, Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung, Miss Margaret NG and Mr NGAN Kam-chuen.
VII Business for the LegCo sitting on 8 January 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 345/96-97)
31. 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
32. No statement had been notified.
(c) Government Motion
Resolution under section 22 of the Costs in Criminal Cases Ordinance (39 of 1996) - to be moved by the Attorney General
(LegCo Paper No. LS 65/96-97)
33. The Legal Adviser said that the purpose of the resolution was to set out the procedure relating to the making of wasted costs orders. The legal and drafting aspects of the resolution were in order.
34. Members raised no queries on the resolution.
(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(i) Legal Aid (Amendment) Bill 1996
(ii) Enduring Powers of Attorney Bill
(iii) Powers of Attorney (Amendment) Bill 1996
(iv) Freight Containers (Safety) Bill
35. The Chairman informed members that the Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 8 January 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 10 January 1997.
(e) Bill - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
The Methodist Church, Hong Kong, Incorporation (Amendment) Bill 1996 - Members Bill introduced by Mr LAU Chin-shek
36. The Chairman said that at the meeting on 6 December 1996, members had agreed that the Second Reading debate on the above Bill be resumed.
(f) Motion debate on "Improvement of building management"
37. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr IP Kwok-him.
(g) Motion debate on "Comprehensive review of fire safety measures"
38. Members noted the revised wording of Mrs Selina CHOWs motion tabled at the meeting.
39. The Chairman advised that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments to the above motions, were 20 December 1996 and 31 December 1996 respectively.
VIII Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(a) Report of the Bills Committee on Companies (Amendment) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 546/96-97)
40. Dr HUANG Chen-ya reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee on behalf of Mrs Miriam LAU, Chairman of the Bills Committee, who was not at the meeting. He said that the Administration would move Committee stage amendments (CSAs) to address members concern. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 8 January 1997.
(b) Report of the Bills Committee on Housing (Amendment) Bill 1996 and Housing (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 536/96-97)
41. In the absence of the Chairman of the Bills Committee, the Chairman referred members to the report and said that the Administration objected to both Bills and would not move any CSAs. Mr LEE Wing-tat, Mrs Selina CHOW and Mr Bruce LIU would move CSAs to the Bills.
42. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bills be resumed on 15 January 1997 and noted that the deadline for giving notice of CSAs was 8 January 1997.
(c) Report of the Bills Committee on Banking (Amendment) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 505/96-97)
43. Dr HUANG Chen-ya, Chairman of the Bills Committee, reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee. He said that the Administration would move CSAs to the Bill. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 8 January 1997.
(d) Report of the Bills Committee on Tsing Ma Control Area Bill
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 694/96-97)
44. In the absence of the Chairman of the Bills Committee, the Chairman referred members to the report and said that the Administration would move CSAs to address concerns raised by the Bills Committee. As regards issues raised by the Bills Committee which were outside the scope of the Bill, they would be referred to the Panel on Transport for further consideration. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 8 January 1997.
(e) Report of the Bills Committee on Public Bus Services (Amendment) Bill 1996
45. Mr Zachary WONG, Chairman of the Bills Committee, gave a verbal report on the Bills Committees deliberations at its third meeting on 12 December 1996. He said that the Bills Committee had considered the research report on overseas bus fare revision processes prepared by the Research and Library Services Division. At the meeting, Dr LAW Cheung-kwok said that he would move CSAs to the Bill to the effect that any fare revision proposals which were in excess of the rate of inflation would be subject to LegCos scrutiny and approval. The Administration undertook to provide an analysis of the resource implications of Dr LAWs proposal on LegCo and the Administration, and to provide past data in respect of the proposed and actual rate of fare increases for the Bills Committees consideration. Mr WONG added that Mr LAU Chin-shek, Member in charge of the Bill, had indicated that he would not rule out the possibility of giving notice to resume Second Reading debate on the Bill in the event of fare revision proposals being made by any bus companies in the interim.
46. Mr Zachary WONG said that the Bills Committee had decided not to have further meetings pending receipt of the Administrations information. It had agreed to vacate its slot for activation of a Bills Committee on the waiting list.
(f) Report of the Subcommittee on 10 subsidiary legislation gazetted on 29 November 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 540/96-97)
47. Miss Christine LOH reported on behalf of Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Chairman of the Subcommittee, who was not at the meeting. She said that whilst members expressed support for all the fee increase proposals to recover cost at different levels, they considered that there was room for the Environmental Protection Department to enhance its efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The Subcommittee suggested that the matter be followed up by the LegCo Panel on Environmental Affairs. Members agreed.
(g) Report of the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters - Scrutiny of bills
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 753/96-97)
48. The Chairman briefed members on Mr Ronald ARCULLIs proposal in speeding up scrutiny of bills and the recommendations of the Subcommittee as set out in paragraphs 9 and 10 of the paper. He invited members view on the subject.
49. Mr Edward HO pointed out that the list of main professional bodies and chambers of commerce in Appendix II of the paper was not exhaustive, and if adopted, would be misleading. Members agreed that such a list was not necessary, and that the organizations which should be invited to give representations on a particular bill should be decided by individual Bills Committees.
50. Miss Margaret NG had reservations about the proposal. She was concerned about its implications on the workload of Members and the Secretariat as well as the practical difficulties that might arise as highlighted in the paper. She opined that it might be better for Members to concentrate their efforts on Bills Committees in action with a view to completing scrutiny as early as possible. If the pilot scheme was to be carried out, she felt that a timetable should be set down for a review of its effectiveness.
51. The Chairman explained to members that the purpose of the proposal was to advance the preparatory work of Bills Committees to allow sufficient time for interested organizations to prepare representations and to enable members to get a better understanding of the bill when the Bills Committee was activated. Mr James TO was in support of the proposal.
52. Miss Emily LAU said that while she had reservation about the proposal, she had no objection to putting it on trial provided that the existing operation would not be adversely affected as a result. She said that the Subcommittee should review the pilot scheme at its next meeting.
53. Mr CHAN Kam-lam said that the proposal would indirectly increase the number of Bills Committees from 15 to 19, hence the workload of Members.
54. After some discussion, members endorsed the Subcommittees recommendation that the proposal be tried out in that preparatory work would only be carried out for the four Bills Committees at the top of the waiting list at any one time. The Chairman asked members and the Secretariat to provide regular feedback on the pilot scheme.
(h) Report of the Panel on Administration of Justice & Legal Services - Style change - using a schedule for definitions
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 729/96-97)
55. Miss Margaret NG, Chairman of the Panel, reported on the deliberations of the Panel. She said that the Panel had consulted the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Law Society of Hong Kong which had no strong view on the Administrations proposal to use a Schedule for definitions towards the back of the ordinances. However, the Panels view was divided.
56. Mr Bruce LIU said that for the benefit of the readers who were not in the legal field, he would support the Administrations proposal because improved presentation of legislation would make it easier for them to read.
57. Miss Margaret NG pointed out that it would be very confusing when definitions in ordinances could be placed at the beginning, in the middle or towards the end of ordinances. She was in favour of the conventional presentation i.e. definitions were placed in a section entitled "Interpretation" as the second section in each ordinance.
58. Mr Martin LEE was of the view that unless the proposal could apply to both existing and new legislation, it would cause even more confusion to the readers. He preferred to maintain the status quo. His view was echoed by Mr Edward HO.
59. After some discussion, Miss NG suggested that unless the Administration could provide convincing justifications for the proposal, the existing practice should prevail. Members agreed. The Chairman would convey members views to the Chief Secretary.
IX Any Other Business
(a) Non-Chinese ethnic minorities
60. The Chairman advised members that the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Bill introduced by Lord Willoughby de Broke received its Second Reading on 12 December 1996. The Bill was scheduled for Committee stage in the House of Lords on 13 January 1997.
(b) Agenda items for House Committee meeting on 3 January 1997
61. The Chairman informed members that as Wednesday,
1 January 1997 was a public holiday, the deadline for members to suggest agenda items would be 5:00 pm on Monday, 30 December 1996.
62. The meeting ended at 3:50 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
31 December 1996
Last Updated on 16 August 1999