LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 510/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5
Minutes of 8th meeting
held on Friday, 22 November 1996 at 2.30 p.m.
in the Legislative Council Chamber
Members present :
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
Hon SZETO Wah
Hon Edward S T HO, 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 LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon IP Kwok-him
Hon LAU Chin-shek
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon LAW Chi-kwong
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon LO Suk-ching
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 Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
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 Emily LAU Wai-hing
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon MOK Ying-fan
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 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 Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Mrs Percy MA
- Chief Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
- Mrs Eleanor CHOW
- Senior Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
The meeting observed silence for one minute to pay tribute to Mr LIU Chi-hung, senior fireman and other victims who lost their lives in the fire of the Garley Building.
I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 15 November 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 458/96-97)
2. The minutes were confirmed.
II Matters arising
(a) Report on Chairmans meeting with the Chief Secretary
(i) Waste Disposal (Amendment) Bill 1996
3. The Chairman said that Dr John TSE had requested at the last meeting that priority be given to the scrutiny of the above Bill, now at ninth place on the waiting list. Members had agreed that the Chairman should discuss the matter with the Chief Secretary first. Subsequent to his discussion with the Chief Secretary, the Administration had now proposed that members should consider raising their queries on some Public Bills currently on the waiting list directly with the Policy Branches concerned, instead of waiting for the Bills to reach the top of the waiting list. He referred members to the Director of Administrations letter of 21 November 1996 detailing nine Bills which could possibly be dealt with in this way. The letter was tabled at the meeting.
4. The meeting discussed the nine Bills referred to in the letter:
Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment)(No. 2) Bill 1996
Toys and Childrens Products Safety (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996
5. The Chairman said that two representations on the Bills had been received. Mrs Selina CHOW objected to the two Bills being dealt with in the way proposed by the Administration. She said that to ensure effective implementation of the legislative proposals, it was essential to provide an open forum for members to hear the deputations views.
Employment (Amendment) Bill 1996
Employment (Amendment) (No. 2 ) Bill 1996
6. The Chairman said that it was Mrs Miriam LAU who suggested the setting up of a Bills Committee. Mrs LAU was not at the meeting.
Discovery Bay Tunnel Link Bill
7. The Chairman said that the Bill was referred to the Panel on Transport which did not have time to discuss the Bill and suggested that a Bills Committee be formed.
8. Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung was of the view that the details and policy aspects of the Bill should be discussed by a Bills Committee.
Waste Disposal (Amendment) Bill 1996
9. The Chairman said that no Panel had been consulted on the Bill. Dr John TSE who suggested the setting up of a Bills Committee agreed that the Panel on Environmental Affairs should discuss the Bill first.
10. Mr James TIEN suggested and members agreed that since the Administrations proposal was not on the agenda, it should be deferred to the next meeting for discussion. Mrs Selina CHOW said that as a matter of principle, she had reservations about the fast-track approach which underlay the Administrations proposal.
(ii) Housing (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1996
11. The Chairman said that the Administration had given its substantive view on charging effect of the Bill. The President was considering the issue.
III Legal Service Division further report on the subsidiary legislation gazetted on 25 October 1996
Post-Release Supervision of Prisoners Regulation (L.N. 446)
(LegCo Paper No. LS 46/96-97)
12. The Legal Adviser said that in response to queries raised by the Legal Service Division and Mr James TO, the Administration would move a resolution to amend the Schedule of offences in the Regulation at the sitting on 27 November 1996.
IV Legal Service Division report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 20 November 1996 (gazetted on 15 November 1996)
(LegCo Papers Nos. LS 42 and 45/96-97)
13. The Legal Adviser drew members attention to the two reports, in particular the four sets of Rules and the two Codes of Practice on Employment which were related to the Sex Discrimination Ordinance and the Disability Discrimination Ordinance.
14. He also drew members attention to the resolution in relation to the Sex Discrimination (Proceedings by Equal Opportunities Commission) Regulation to be moved by the Secretary for Home Affairs at the sitting on 18 December 1996 (agenda item XI below refers).
15. Miss CHAN Yuen-han suggested and members agreed that a subcommittee should be formed to study the seven items. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mr Michael HO Mun-ka, Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, Miss CHAN Yuen-han and Dr John TSE Wing-ling.
16. Members also agreed that the scrutiny period for the four sets of Rules and the two Codes of Practice on Employment should be extended to 8 January 1997. As regards the Regulation, the Secretary for Home Affairs would be requested to defer moving the resolution until the subcommittee had completed its study.
(Post-meeting note : The Secretary for Home Affairs has agreed to withdraw the notice in respect of the Resolution.)
17. Members raised no other queries on the remaining items of the subsidiary legislation.
V Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) `468/96-97)
18. Members noted the report.
19. The Chairman advised that as the Bills Committee on the New Territories Land Exchange Entitlements (Redemption) Bill had completed its work, the vacant slot had already been allocated to the Bills Committee on the Tsing Ma Control Area Bill.
20. Miss Margaret NG, chairman of the Bills Committee on Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 1996, said that the Bills Committee had concluded deliberation on the Bill. A report would be made to the House Committee upon receiving the draft Committee Stage amendments and other related information from the Administration. Members agreed that its slot be taken up immediately by the Bills Committee on the Independent Police Complaints Council Bill.
21. The Chairman advised members of the following statistics in relation to committee meetings held up to 18 November 1996 in the 1996/97 LegCo session -
- number of meetings which had to be called off or ended midway due to lack of quorum - 4
- number of meetings cancelled because of indication of low attendance - 4
- number of meetings rescheduled owing to certain members not being available or at individual members request - 6
- number of meetings rescheduled owing to clashes with other meetings - 7
22. He asked members not to change meetings dates once they were fixed to avoid clashes of meetings and to ensure good attendance. He also urged members to make their best efforts to attend meetings.
VI Further report by the Legal Service Division on outstanding bill
Whaling Industry (Regulation) Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS 38/96-97)
23. The Legal Adviser said that the Administration had clarified the technical points raised and that the Bill was in order from the drafting point of view.
24. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
VII Legal Service Division report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order 42(3A)
Reports on Bills introduced into LegCo on 13 November 1996 (items deferred from the last meeting)
(a) Motor Vehicles (First Registration Tax) (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. LS 34/96-97)
25. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill did not introduce new policy, and that the Administration would move some technical amendments to improve the Bill.
26. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
(b) Wild Animals Protection (Amendment) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. LS 33/96-97)
27. The Legal Adviser said that the Administrations reply to the queries raised had been received, and that the Bill was in order.
28. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
Reports on Bills introduced into LegCo on 20 November 1996
(c) Fraud Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS 41/96-97)
29. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill was an important one, although it was not on the list of bills which must be enacted before 1 July 1997.
30. Miss Margaret NG said that the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services had discussed the Bill at its meeting on 18 October 1996 and members had expressed concern about the scope of the Bill. She suggested and members agreed to form a Bills Committee to study the Bill. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee : Mr Martin LEE, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee, Miss Margaret NG and Mrs Elizabeth WONG.
(d) District Court (Amendment) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. LS 37/96-97)
31. The Legal Adviser recommended that a Bills Committee be formed. Members agreed. The following members agreed to join : Mr Martin LEE, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee and Miss Margaret NG.
(e) Submarine Telegraph Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS 40/96-97)
32. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill was in order. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
(f) Landscape Architects Registration Bill - Members Bill introduced by Mr Edward S T HO
(LegCo Paper No. LS 39/96-97)
33. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to establish a system for registration of landscape architects and to provide for disciplinary control of registered landscape architects. Having considered some technical points raised by the Legal Service Division, Mr Edward HO would move Committee Stage amendments to the Bill.
34. In response to Mr Albert CHANs question on the applicability of the Bill to landscape architects in the civil service, the Legal Adviser said that he would seek clarification from the Administration and revert to Mr CHAN.
35. Members agreed to support resumption of the Second Reading debate of the Bill, subject to a further report on the drafting aspects of the Bill and Committee Stage amendments.
VIII Further business for the LegCo sitting on 27 November 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 228/96-97)
36. The Chairman advised that the slot vacated by Mrs Elizabeth WONG had been allocated to Mr Fred LI Wah-ming.
IX Business for the LegCo sitting on 4 December 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 229/96-97)
37. Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung informed members that his question seeking an oral reply would be deferred to the sitting on 18 December 1996 because he would be out of town on 4 December 1996.
38. Members noted that 19 questions (5 oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
39. No statement had been notified.
(c) Government Motion
40. No motion had been notified.
(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(i) Occupational Safety and Health Bill
(ii) Carriage By Air Bill
(iii) Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions and Minor Amendments) Bill 1996
(iv) Protection of Harbour Bill
(Members Bill to be introduced by Miss Christine LOH)
(v) Security and Guarding Services (Amendment) Bill 1996
(Members Bill to be introduced by Mr CHAN Wing-chan)
41. The Chairman advised members that Mr CHAN Wing-chan would defer the introduction of his Bill at item (V) above until further notice, because some technical points had yet to be resolved.
42. The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 4 December 1996 and considered by the House Committee on 6 December 1996.
(e) Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 1996
43. The Chairman said that members had agreed at the last meeting that the Bill should have its Second Reading debate resumed on 4 December 1996. He reminded members that the deadline for giving notice of amendment to the Bill, if any, was 25 November 1996.
44. In response to Mr James TO, Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung said that he had no intention of moving Committee Stage amendments to the Bill.
(f) Motion debate on "Territorial Development Strategy Review"
45. Members noted the wording of Mr Edward S T HOs motion.
(g) Motion debate on " Provisional legislature"
46. Members noted the wording of Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foos motion.
47. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice to move amendments to the above motions, if any, was 27 November 1996 and that the normal speaking arrangements should apply.
X Advance information on business for the LegCo sitting on11 December 1996
(a) Members motion
Two resolutions under the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance (Cap 7) - to be moved by
Mr James TO Kun-sun
(LegCo Paper No. LS 43/96-97)
48. The Legal Adviser said that the legal and drafting aspects of the resolutions were in order.
49. Mr James TO briefly explained the effect of the resolutions. The Chairman supplemented that the resolutions were discussed by the Panel on Housing on 4 November 1996. He also advised members that the deadline for giving notice to move amendments to the resolutions, if any, was 4 December 1996.
50. Members raised no queries on the resolutions.
(b) Motion debate to be moved by Mr YUM Sin-ling
51. Mr Lawrence YUM Sin-ling informed members that his motion was about the role of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in maintaining Hong Kong-Taiwan relations after 30 June 1997.
52. The Chairman advised that there was only one motion debate scheduled for the sitting on 11 December 1996. The deadlines for members to give notice of, and amendments to, the above motion, if any, were 26 November 1996 and 4 December 1996 respectively.
53. In response to Assistant Secretary General 3, the Chairman said that the implication of Miss Emily LAUs case (i.e. the Presidents ruling that Miss LAUs proposed motion on "Election of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" should not proceed) on the procedure on allocation of debating slots could be discussed by the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters, if necessary. However, he would regard Miss LAU as having been allocated a debating slot.
XI Advance information on business for the LegCo sitting on18 December 1996
Resolution under section 89 of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (Cap 480) - to be moved by the Secretary for Home Affairs in relation to the Sex Discrimination (Proceedings by Equal Opportunities Commission) Regulation
(LegCo Paper No. LS 47/96-97)
54. The subject had been dealt with under agenda item IV above.
XII Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees
Report of the Bills Committee on the New Territories Land Exchange Entitlements (Redemption) Bill
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 307/96-97)
55. Mr Zachary WONG Wai-yin, chairman of the Bills Committee, reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee. He said that the majority of members of the Bills Committee had expressed support for the Bill. Mr Ronald ARCULLI had objected to the enactment of the Bill on the ground that the Government should not unilaterally amend contractual relationships by means of legislation.
56. Members noted that the Second Reading debate on the Bill would be resumed at the sitting on 4 December 1996 and that the deadline for giving notice to move Committee Stage amendments, if any, was 25 November 1996.
XIII Any Other Business
(a) Non-Chinese ethnic minorities
57. The Chairman advised members that Lord Willoughby de Broke had introduced a Bill entitled "British Nationality (Hong Kong) Bill" into the House of Lords on 19 November 1996. The Second Reading of the Bill had been scheduled for 12 December 1996. If the Bill was passed in the House of Lords, it would be introduced into the House of Commons. The Chairman reckoned that the introduction of the Bill could partly be attributable to the lobbying efforts made by the House Committee delegation to London.
(b) Presidents ruling under Standing Order No. 34(2)
(Mr LEUNG Yiu-chungs letter dated 14 November 1996)
58. Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung said that as he had already written to the President concerning his ruling, it was not his intention to discuss the incident per se. However, he would like to raise a few general points for members deliberation. He opined that the President had been inconsistent in enforcing rules governing contents of speeches made by Members and cited two examples.
59. Mr CHIM Pui-chung said that it was inappropriate and unfair for the House Committee to make comments on the rulings of the President who was not present at the meeting to respond.
60. In response to Mr Albert CHAN, the Legal Adviser said that under Standing Order No. 60C (10), the House Committee "may consider, in such matter as it thinks fit, any other item relating to the business of the Council". Procedural matters could be regarded as an item relating to the business of the Council, and the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters (the Subcommittee) under the House Committee was responsible for considering procedural matters concerning the proceedings of the Council and its committees. He added that members might wish to consider referring the matter to the Subcommittee for consideration. As to the scope of discussion by the House Committee, it was a matter for members to exercise their own discretion and judgement. Since Mr LEUNG had already written to the President on the ruling, members might wish to consider whether it was appropriate for the House Committee to discuss it.
61. Mrs Selina CHOW said that if a Member was not satisfied with the Presidents ruling, he was at liberty to seek an explanation from the President. However, it would be inappropriate for the House Committee to make comments on rulings made by the President on different cases as this would be tantamount to questioning the authority of the President, bearing in mind that the decision on a point of order made by the President was final under Standing Orders.
62. Mr Michael HO suggested that Mr LEUNG should explain in specific terms his concerns to enable members to discuss the matter. Mr Howard YOUNG suggested that the discussion should be confined to procedural matters, and not deal with individual cases. Mr Martin LEE suggested that Mr LEUNG should refrain from making remarks which would amount to criticisms against the President and members.
63. Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung said that he had no objection to referring the matter to the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters. He made the following points-
- Regarding the incident at the sitting on 13 November 1996, the President had made his rulings under SO 31(4) and SO 34(2). He was of the view that the President had been inconsistent in the application of these Standing Orders.
- The President did not give him an opportunity to explain before making the ruling, whereas according to Erskine Mays Parliamentary Practice, where a Member used expressions considered to be unparliamentary, the Member should be allowed to explain the meaning of the expressions.
- At present, there was no mechanism for an aggrieved Member to appeal against the Presidents ruling. Mr LEUNG suggested that the Subcommittee should make reference to the practices and procedures of overseas parliaments.
- He questioned whether invoking SO 34(2) was the most appropriate way to deal with the incident on 13 November 1996. He further suggested that the Subcommittee should consider whether a review of Standing Orders was necessary.
64. Mrs Selina CHOW said that the Subcommittee should only discuss general procedural matters such as the point made in (c) above. However, she considered it inappropriate for the Subcommittee to discuss individual cases. She was of the view that neither the House Committee nor the Subcommittee would be in a position to arbitrate any dispute arising from the Presidents rulings. Dr YEUNG Sum, Miss Margaret NG and Mr IP Kwok-him concurred with her view.
65. Mr Bruce LIU said that he was in support of the Presidents ruling which was made in accordance with Standing Orders. He agreed that points (b) and (c) raised by Mr LEUNG should be discussed by the Subcommittee.
66. Mr Eric LI said that some of the remarks made by Mr LEUNG earlier at the meeting were merely assumptions which he could not agree to. Should members agree that the matter be referred to the Subcommittee, he suggested that Mr LEUNG should put up specific proposals for the Subcommittee to consider.
67. Mr Martin LEE said that it was not appropriate for Members to criticize the President. Notwithstanding that there was bound to be difference in opinion within the Council, Members should have respect for the position and authority of the President who was empowered to ensure the observance of all rules for preserving order in the proceedings of the Council. He did not consider it necessary to amend Standing Orders as suggested by Mr LEUNG. He also suggested that the President be consulted on whether the matter should be discussed by the Subcommittee.
68. Mr LEE Cheuk-yan said that points (b), (c) and (d) could be discussed by the Subcommittee. He pointed out that reference to Mr LEUNGs case during discussion of point (d) appeared to be unavoidable as it was so far the only case involving SO 34(2). He felt that the circumstances under which SO 34(1) and (2) could be invoked were unclear.
69. The Chairman said that if a Member who was ruled to have used offensive and insulting language refused to retract his remarks, the President would be left with no choice but to invoke SO 34(2). Mrs Selina CHOW reiterated her view that individual cases should not be discussed and that the President had explained very clearly the basis of his ruling at the sitting on 13 November 1996.
70. Mr LEE Wing-tat said that he hoped the President would give an explanation on his ruling on this case for Members future guidance. In response to his question on practices in overseas parliaments, the Deputy Secretary General said that according to the practice in the UK House of Commons, no member was allowed to reflect on the Speakers conduct and rulings. The practice was accepted by all 651 members of the House. A member who was asked to retract any expression that had been ruled to be unparliamentary would do so immediately without protest and would normally offer an apology. As regards appeal against the Speakers ruling, a member could move a substantive motion along the lines that "This House regrets the action of the Speaker on (date) over (the incident)". Such a motion was debatable, and according to his knowledge, none had been passed so far.
Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung
71. The Chairman concluded the discussion by asking Mr LEUNG to submit specific proposals to the Subcommittee for consideration.
72. The meeting ended 4.15 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
27 November 1996
Last Updated on 16 August 1999