LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1317/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5
Minutes of 17th meeting
held on Friday, 21 February 1997 at 4:10 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 NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
Hon SZETO Wah
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 Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Dr Hon Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Dr Hon Hon YEUNG Sum
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr Hon Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon IP Kwok-him
Hon LAU Chin-shek
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Dr Hon 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
Hon TSANG Kin-shing
Dr Hon Hon John TSE Wing-ling
Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling
Members absent :
Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
Dr Hon Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Dr Hon Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, OBE, FEng, JP
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
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
- Mrs Vivian KAM
- Assistant Secretary General 1 (Acting)
- Mr Ray CHAN
- Assistant Secretary General 3
- Ms Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Ms Kitty CHENG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 2
- Miss Anita HO
- 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 said that the President had agreed that the Council would observe silence for one minute at the sitting on 26 February 1997 in memory of Mr DENG Xiaoping who passed away on 19 February 1997.
I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 14 February 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1224/96-97)
The minutes were confirmed.
II Matters arising
Report on Chairmans meeting with the Chief Secretary
Legislative programme 1996-97
The Chairman said that in response to the concern expressed by Miss Margaret NG, he had asked the Chief Secretary about the progress of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill and the Jury (Amendment) Bill. The Administration had advised that the Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill would be introduced into LegCo on 5 March 1997, and the Jury (Amendment) Bill would be introduced in April.
The Chairman said that members had agreed at the last meeting that the Administration should be requested not to introduce bills later than the first week of April. The Chief Secretary had pointed out that the problem with setting the deadline at the first week of April was that there was no sitting on 2 April and the one on 9 and 10 April was the 2nd Budget sitting when, according to convention, only the Budget would be debated. The Chief Secretary suggested that the deadline be set at 16 April 1997, the first sitting in April at which bills could be introduced.
The Chairman said that although it had been the convention to exclude ordinary LegCo business at the sitting on 9 and 10 April, it was not in breach of the Standing Orders for such business to be transacted. Given the limited time available for scrutiny of bills and the fact that the proceedings on 1st and 2nd readings of bills would not take up too much of the Councils time, he suggested and members agreed that the deadline for introducing both Government Bills and Members Bills should be 9 and 10 April. He would advise the Administration accordingly. In response to Mr Albert HO, he said that notwithstanding the deadline, flexibility would be exercised in exceptional circumstances, e.g. say, in dealing with bills which had to await the agreement of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group.
III Legal Service Division report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 19 February 1997 (gazetted on 14 February 1997)
(LegCo Paper No. LS 111/96-97)
Members raised no queries on the subsidiary legislation.
IV Further report by the Legal Service Division on outstanding bills
(a) Dangerous Drug (Amendment) Bill 1997
(LegCo Paper No. LS 118/96-97)
The Legal Adviser said that members had agreed on 31 January 1997 to support the Bill in principle, pending a further report from the Legal Service Division on some technical points. After seeking clarification from the Administration, the Division was now satisfied that the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were in order. Mr James TO advised members that the queries raised by him had also been addressed by the Administration.
Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
(b) Auxiliary Forces Pensions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997
(LegCo Paper No. LS 119/96-97)
The Legal Adviser said that members had agreed on 31 January 1997 to support the Bill in principle, pending a further report from the Legal Service Division on the legislative arrangement on the calculation and payment of pensions and gratuities adopted in the Bill. Having noted the Administrations response, the Division was satisfied that the arrangement was not unprecedented, hence acceptable. The legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were in order.
Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
V Legal Service Division report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order 42(3A)
(a) Nurses Registration (Amendment) Bill 1997
(LegCo Paper No. LS 112/96-97)
The Legal Adviser briefly explained the objects of the Bill and referred members to a submission from the Hong Kong Nurses (Public Services) General Union which was tabled at the meeting (Appendix). Apart from policy issues, the submission also raised some points which required clarification with the Administration.
Mr Michael HO suggested that a Bills Committee be set up and put on the waiting list, but he would discuss with the General Union its concerns which, hopefully, could be resolved early. Members agreed. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee: Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mr Michael HO Mun-ka, Dr HUANG Chen-ya and Miss CHAN Yuen-han.
(b) Midwives Registration (Amendment) Bill 1997
(LegCo Paper No. LS 113/96-97)
The Legal Adviser introduced the paper and drew members attention to the last sentence in paragraph 4 of the paper. He clarified that the proposed membership of the Midwives Council was either appointed by the Governor or nominated by the respective organizations. However, the nominations could be done through election.
Members agreed to support the Bill in principle pending a further report from the Legal Service Division on some technical aspects of the Bill.
(c) Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997
(LegCo Paper No. LS 110/96-97)
(d) Immigration (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Miss CHAN Yuen-han
(LegCo Paper No. LS 117/96-97)
The Chairman said that members had agreed at the last meeting to accord priority to the scrutiny of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997 by setting up a subcommittee, pending its introduction into LegCo and formation of a Bills Committee. Members had also agreed that the subcommittee should also study Miss CHAN Yuen-hans Immigration (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1997 which would be introduced on the same day. At the first meeting of the Subcommittee held on 20 February 1997, members of the Subcommittee had deliberated on how to proceed with the scrutiny of the two Bills. He invited Mr James TO, Chairman of the Subcommittee, to report.
Mr James TO reported that members present at the meeting including Miss CHAN Yuen-han agreed unanimously that the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997 should be given priority and dealt with first, but the majority of the members recommended that the two Bills should be dealt with by separate Bills Committees. However, Miss CHAN Yuen-han was of the view that the two Bills could be dealt with by the same Bills Committee, with priority given to the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997.
Miss Margaret NG said that in arriving at the view and recommendation as reported by Mr TO, members were in agreement that the two Bills were not necessarily related.
Mrs Selina CHOW said that since members had agreed that the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997 should have priority, Miss CHANs proposal of having the same Bills Committee to deal with both Bills would defeat this objective. Mrs CHOW suggested that separate Bills Committees should be formed. Her view was echoed by Mr James TIEN and Mr Bruce LIU. Mrs CHOW added that Miss CHAN Yuen-hans Immigration (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1997 involved complex policy issues and did not warrant priority scrutiny. Her view was shared by Mr Bruce LIU.
Miss CHAN Yuen-han said that she had no strong view if members objected to having one Bills Committee to deal with both Bills.
Members agreed that -
- The Subcommittee should be dissolved and that two Bills Committees should be formed to study the two Bills separately;
- The Bills Committee on the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997 should be given priority and activated immediately since a slot had already been reserved as agreed at the last House Committee meeting; and
- The Bills Committee on the Immigration (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1997 should join the queue in the normal manner.
The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee on the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997: Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Mr Howard YOUNG, Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, Mr Albert HO Chun-yan, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee and Miss Margaret NG.
The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee on the Immigration (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1997: Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, Mr Albert HO Chun-yan and Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee.
(e) Employment (Amendment) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Mr LEE Cheuk-yan
(LegCo Paper No. LS 114/96-97)
The Legal Adviser briefly explained the object of the Bill.
Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, Member in charge of the Bill, said that the Bill sought to give greater protection to employees against discrimination on the ground of trade union membership and activities by allowing them to bring civil proceedings against their employers, and provide for remedies for such discrimination, including monetary compensation and re-employment. Criminal proceedings against such discriminatory acts were already provided for under existing law. The proposal to introduce civil remedies including re-employment was also made in the Administrations Review on the Labour Relations Systems in Hong Kong conducted in 1993. The Labour Advisory Board had been consulted and endorsed the proposal except remedy in the form of re-employment.
Mr James TIEN suggested that a Bills Committee should be formed to study the Bill. The Chairman advised members that he had received a similar request from Dr Samuel WONG who was not at the meeting. Members agreed to form a Bills Committee. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee: Dr Samuel WONG Ping-wai, Mr Michael HO Mun-ka, Mr James TIEN Pei-chun and Mr LEE Cheuk-yan.
(f) Medical Registration (Transitional Provisions) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Mrs Selina CHOW
(LegCo Paper No. LS 116/96-97)
Referring to the paper, the Legal Adviser explained the object of the Bill and said that the Panel on Health Services had been briefed on the Bill on 17 February 1997.
Mrs Selina CHOW said that if a Bills Committee was formed, it was unlikely for it to conclude study before 30 April 1997, the deadline for the overseas medical students concerned to enroll in the Licensing Examination. She was aware of the divergent views, especially within the medical profession, on the Bill. In order to speed up scrutiny of the Bill, she proposed a two-pronged approach to deal with the Bill-
- Subject to the agreement of the Chairman of the Panel on Health Services, the policy aspect of the Bill would be discussed by the Panel at its next meeting in March; and
- As Panels would normally not be involved in the clause-by-clause examination of a bill, members who had views on the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill should approach her direct.
Mr Michael HO, Chairman of the Panel on Health Services, said that Members of the Democratic Party agreed that the Bill should be dealt with as soon as practicable. However, they did not agree that if a Bills Committee was formed to study the Bill, it should be accorded priority over those on the waiting list. Subject to the views of members of the Panel, he therefore had no objection to the two-pronged approach proposed by Mrs CHOW. He suggested that pending discussion of the Panel, a Bills Committee should be set up and put on the waiting list. Should members subsequently decide that a Bills Committee was not necessary, it could be removed from the waiting list.
The Chairman agreed that the Bill should be dealt with before the deadline of enrollment for the Licensing Examination. He said that the Administration had verbally advised him that a recommendation could be made to the Medical Council of Hong Kong to defer the deadline to mid-July.
In response to Miss Margaret NG, Senior Assistant Legal Adviser said that although the Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill 1995 was passed by LegCo on 28 July 1995, the commencement date of the Medical Registration (Amendment) Ordinance was 1 September 1996. Mrs CHOWs Bill sought to reinstate the automatic registration provisions for those Hong Kong students who had already enrolled to study medicine in UK or Ireland or in recognized Commonwealth institutions before the repeal of the automatic registration provisions in the Ordinance. He referred members to paragraph 5 of the Legal Service Divisions report on the specific categories of students who would benefit, if the Bill was passed.
Mr Eric LI said that he was sympathetic with the overseas medical students concerned who had not been consulted on the repeal of the automatic registration provisions. When a similar proposal was made for the accountant profession, all affected parties including students were consulted and a grace period of several years was provided. Mrs Selina CHOW supplemented that similar transitional arrangements spanning over a period of five years were also provided to the professions of architects and engineers.
Members discussed Mr HOs suggestion of setting up a Bills Committee and its priority. Their views were summarized as follows-
- Mr LEE Wing-tat said that in view of the divergent views so far expressed, LegCo would face the risk of being accused of not giving an opportunity for interested parties to present their views on the Bill if members decided against setting up a Bills Committee;
- Dr YEUNG Sum said that given the nature of other Members Bills on the waiting list, he would not recommend according priority to Mrs CHOWs Bill. In recognition of Mrs CHOWs concern that the outcome of the Bill should be known before the deadline for enrollment for the Licensing Examination, he suggested that the House Committee should request the Medical Council to defer the deadline for enrollment to July to allow more time for members to consider the Bill;
- Mrs Miriam LAU suggested that a Bills Committee should be set up and activated in the normal manner if the deadline could be deferred, failing which a subcommittee should be set up immediately to work in tandem with the Panel;
- The Chairman said that when the Panel was briefed on the Bill, there were divergent views even within the medical profession. There were also different legal opinions relating to the effect of the Bill on Hong Kongs obligations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services. A suggestion of using administrative measures to deal with the situation was also raised. He was of the view that it would be difficult for the policy, legal and drafting aspects of the Bill to be dealt with separately as proposed by Mrs CHOW. This would also pose problem to organizations which wished to make representations on the Bill; and
- Mrs Selina CHOW reiterated the urgency of the Bill and disagreed that a Bills Committee should be set up at this stage, unless it was given priority.
The Chairman put the proposal of setting up a Bills Committee to vote. The majority of the members present voted for the proposal. The Chairman declared that a Bills Committee would be formed and put on the waiting list. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee : Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Michael HO Mun-ka, Dr HUANG Chen-ya, Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr LAW Chi-kwong and Mr MOK Ying-fan.
Members agreed that the Chairman should, on behalf of the House Committee, request the Medical Council to defer the deadline for enrollment for the Licensing Examination from April to July. Members also agreed to Mrs Miriam LAUs suggestion that the House Committee should be consulted in the event that the request was not acceded to.
(g) The Hong Kong Institute of Housing Bill - Members Bill introduced by Mr Edward S T HO
The Legal Adviser said that the Legal Service Division was still seeking comments from the solicitors responsible for drafting the Bill on a technical point and would give a further report to members.
On behalf of Mr Edward HO, Member in charge of the Bill who was then not at the meeting, Mrs Miriam LAU said that a Bills Committee was not considered necessary.
In response to Mr LEE Wing-tat, Assistant Legal Adviser 1 explained that the Bill contained no provisions on compulsory membership and vetting of qualifications.
VI Business for the LegCo sitting on 5 March 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 603/96-97)
The Chairman said that 14 questions (six oral and 8 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
No statement had been notified.
(c) Government Motion
No motion had been notified.
(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(i) Volunteer and Naval Volunteer Pensions (Amendment) Bill 1997
(ii) Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill 1997
The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 5 March 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 7 March 1997.
(e) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
(i) Enduring Powers of Attorney Bill
(ii) Powers of Attorney (Amendment) Bill 1996
The Chairman said that members had agreed at the last meeting on 31 January 1997 that the Second Reading debates on the above Bills be resumed.
Members noted the Legal Advisers advice that the Administration would move further Committee stage amendments to the Enduring Powers of Attorney Bill which had no policy implications.
(f) Motion debate on "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights"
Members noted that the above motion would be moved by Dr John TSE. The Chairman referred members to the wording of Dr TSEs motion.
(g) Motion debate on "Existence of Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong after 1997"
The above motion would be moved by Miss Christine LOH. Members had noted the wording of Miss LOHs motion at the last meeting.
The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 26 February 1997 and that the normal speaking arrangements should apply.
VII Business for the LegCo Sitting on 12 March 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 604/96-97)
The Chairman said that in accordance with the established practice, only questions for written reply might be asked.
No statement had yet been notified.
(c) Government Motion
No motion had yet been notified.
(d) Bill - 1st and 2nd Readings
Appropriation Bill 1997
The Chairman said that the Financial Secretary would address the Council on the 1997-98 Budget at the sitting on 12 March 1997. He added that the following briefings would be held for Members-
- Briefing by the Secretary for the Treasury on the Draft Estimates of Expenditure 1997-98 on 6 March 1997 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am; and
- Briefing by the Financial Secretary on the Budget on 14 March 1997 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am.
VIII Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(a) Report of the Bills Committee on Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Bill
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1251/96-97)
Referring to the report, Mr James TO, Chairman of the Bills Committee, highlighted the deliberations of the Bills Committee. The Committee stage amendments to be moved by the Administration had been agreed by the Bills Committee. He added that in response to the Bills Committees concern about the recent Garley Building fire tragedy and the fire incidents in karaoke establishments, the Administration had advised that a review on the need to improve fire safety measures in various types of premises including karaoke establishments would be conducted at a later stage, and any additional premises proposed to be covered by the Bill could be dealt with by subsidiary legislation.
Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 5 March 1997.
(b) Report of the Panel on Home Affairs - Observations of the Panel on the Fourteenth Periodic Report on Hong Kong under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD)
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1250/96-97)
Referring to the paper, Mr Albert HO, Chairman of the Panel, said that most of the observations made in the draft submission to the UNCERD had been made in previous submissions to UN Committees. However, in view of the recent developments related to British citizenship for non-Chinese ethnic minorities, the emphasis of the observation on this subject had now been placed on enactment of legislation and completion of registration process before 1 July 1997. With reference to the Prime Ministers recent reply to the Chairman on the same subject (which was circulated vide LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1275/96-97 dated 21 February 1997), he advised members that the reference to "British Consulate in Hong Kong" in paragraph 13 of the draft submission should be amended to "British Trade Commission in Hong Kong (British Consulate-General from 1 July 1997)". He sought the House Committees endorsement of the draft submission and the sending of a delegation to attend the hearing of the UNCERD to be held on 3 March (3-6 pm) and 4 March (10 am -1 pm).
Members agreed -
- to endorse the draft submission to the UNCERD which would be sent in the name of the House Committee;
- to send a House Committee delegation to attend the hearing of the UNCERD to be held on 3 and 4 March 1997; and
- that if more than two Members were interested in joining the delegation, the sum of $80,000, which had been allocated for the trip, should be shared amongst all participating Members.
The Chairman said that a circular would be issued by the Secretariat to invite interested Members to join the delegation.
(Post-meeting note : LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1299/96-97 issued on 24 February 1997 is relevant. Hon James TO and Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG have joined the delegation.)
IX Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1238/96-97)
Members noted that four vacant slots would be available
- the Bills Committee on Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Bill had completed work and reported earlier at the meeting; and
- the Bill Committees on the following Bills had agreed to release slots pending report to the House Committee:
- Coroners Bill;
- Social Workers Registration Bill; and
- Fugitive Offenders Bill.
Members agreed that the following Bills Committees on the waiting list would be activated -
- Bills Committee on Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997;
- Bills Committee on Equal Opportunities (Family Responsibilities, Sexuality and Age) Bill, Equal Opportunities (Race) Bill and Disability Discrimination (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996;
- Bills Committee on Mass Transit Railway Corporation (Amendment) Bill 1996 and Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (Amendment) Bill 1996; and
- Bills Committee on Child Care Centres (Amendment) Bill 1996.
X Any Other Business
(a) Expediting the scrutiny of bills
(Mr LEE Wing-tats letter dated 18 February 1997)
The Chairman advised members of the following -
- A previous proposal to increase the existing quota of 15 Bills Committees to 18 was voted down by the House Committee on 27 September 1996;
- 12 meetings had to be deferred, and one meeting could not be held due to the lack of quorum, in just January and February 1997; and
- On 20 December 1996, the House Committee endorsed a proposal to speed up scrutiny of bills whereby preparatory work would be carried out for the four Bills Committees at the top of the waiting list. The new arrangement had been implemented and would be reviewed by the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters at its next meeting on 11 March 1997. The present indication was that the new arrangement had facilitated the scrutiny work of Bills Committees.
The Chairman added that the Administration had earlier advised that 41 bills had to be passed before 1 July 1997. The position of these 41 Bills was as follows -
- 21 bills had already been introduced into LegCo, nine of which had been passed;
- Of the remaining 20 bills, three would be introduced at the sittings on 26 February 1997 and 5 March 1997.
Mr LEE Wing-tat said that judging from the progress of the Bills Committees in action, it was unlikely that many of them would conclude scrutiny within the next two months. LegCo Members of the Democratic Party wished to suggest that the existing quota of 15 Bills Committees be increased to 18 to cope with the situation.
In response to the Chairman, the Secretary General said that the Secretariat would make a formal application to the Administration for additional resources should members decide to increase the quota of Bills Committees from 15 to 18. The Legal Adviser reported that Mr Jonathan DAW, the former Legal Adviser, had been appointed as Consultant in the Legal Service Division for the period from 19 February 1997 to 30 June 1997 to cope with the anticipated increase in workload during this period.
Mr IP Kwok-him said that the problem was not with resources of the Secretariat, but the capacity of Members to cope with the additional workload. He was concerned about the availability of Members in attending meetings, the quality of scrutiny by Bills Committees and the difficulty in forming a quorum due to clash of meetings. He objected to increasing the quota of Bills Committees.
Dr YEUNG Sum and Mr Albert HO expressed concern that the scrutiny of some important bills might not be completed in time for them to be passed before 1 July 1997. They urged Members to try their best to attend Bills Committee meetings.
Mr LEE Wing-tat and Mr Ronald ARCULLI suggested that Members should make use of Saturdays and lunch time to hold meetings, if necessary.
After some discussion, members present, except Mr IP Kwok-him, agreed that the quota of Bills Committees be increased from 15 to 18 with immediate effect. In response to the Chairman, Assistant Secretary General 2 advised that the next three Bills Committees on the waiting list were on the following Bills -
- Employment (Amendment) (No 4) Bill 1996;
- Employment (Amendment) Bill 1996 and Employment (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996; and
- Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996.
The Chairman said that as some of the Bills Committees activated at this meeting were for Government Bills, he would consult the Chief Secretary to see if the Administration wished to propose any changes to the priority of Government Bills on the waiting list.
(b) Governors Question Time on 27 February 1997
The Chairman said that the Governor proposed to answer questions on Hong Kong human rights issues and two other topics.
Members suggested the following topics-
- Housing; and
- Services for new immigrants.
(Posting-meeting note : Some members suggested after the meeting to include services for the elderly under topic (ii) above)
(c) LegCo Fun Day
The Chairman reminded members to bring along items they intended to place in the time capsule on Saturday, 22 February 1997.
The meeting ended at 6:00 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
5 March 1997
Last Updated on 16 August 1999