Revised version
OP 96/97-30(1)
(Issued at 11:00 am on 5.5.97)

The Legislative Council
Order Paper
Wednesday 7 May 1997 at 2:30 pm




I. Papers

Subsidiary Legislation

L.N. NO.

1. Auxiliary Forces Pay and Allowances (Pensions) Regulation

184/97

2. Ferry Services (The "Star" Ferry Company, Limited) (Determination of Fares) (Amendment) (No.2) Order 1997

185/97

3. Tramway Ordinance (Alteration of Fares) (Amendment) Notice 1997

186/97

4. Electrical Products (Safety) Regulation

187/97

5. Television (Royalty and Licence Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 1997

188/97

6. Housing Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule) Order 1997

189/97

7. Noise Control Ordinance (Exemption from Section 6(1) and (2) (Chek Lap Kok Airport)) Order

190/97

8. Emergency Powers (Extension and Amendment Incorporation) Ordinance (Expiry of Regulations) Order 1997

191/97

9. Official Languages (Alteration of Text Under Section 4D) (No.13) Order 1997

192/97

10. Official Languages (Alteration of Text Under Section 4D) (No.14) Order 1997

193/97

11. Rabies Regulation (Replacement of Schedule 1) Notice 1997

194/97

12. Travel Agents Ordinance (Specification of Fund Levy) Notice

195/97

13. Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Ordinance (19 of 1997) (Commencement) Notice 1997

196/97

14. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (Pension Benefits Ordinance) Order

(C) 103/97

15. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (The Helena May Incorporation Ordinance) Order

(C) 104/97

16. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (Society of Boys' Centres Incorporation Ordinance) Order

(C) 105/97

17. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (St. Joseph's College Incorporation Ordinance) Order

(C) 106/97

18. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (St. Stephen's College Incorporation Ordinance) Order

(C) 107/97

19. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children Incorporation Ordinance) Order

(C)108/97

20. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (Hong Kong Society for the Blind Incorporation Ordinance) Order

(C) 109/97

21. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (Society for the Relief of Disabled Children Incorporation Ordinance) Order

(C) 110/97

22. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (St. John's College Ordinance) Order

(C) 111/97

23. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (St. Paul's College Council Incorporation Ordinance) Order

(C) 112/97

24. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (Public Health (Animals and Birds) Ordinance) Order

(C) 113/97

25. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (The Hong Kong and China Gas Company (Transfer of Incorporation) Ordinance) Order

(C) 114/97

26. Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text) (Public Bus Services Ordinance) Order

(C) 115/97

II. Questions

1. Mrs Miriam LAU to ask : (Translation)

In view of the occurrence of two accidents involving the collision of catamarans on 15 April this year, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the total number of accidents in the past three years involving catamarans steered by masters from mainland China;
  2. given the difference between the qualification requirements of mainland catamaran masters and the criteria for the certification of local catamaran masters, whether the Marine Department has issued guidelines to shipping companies operating routes between the territory and the mainland requiring the mainland catamaran masters to comply with the guidelines; if so, what the details are; and
  3. how the Government will strengthen the co-ordination of the marine traffic between the territory and the mainland, as well as enhance the local and mainland catamaran masters' awareness of marine safety in the territory's waters, in view of the increasingly heavy marine traffic flow between the two places?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Services

2. Miss Christine LOH to ask :

According to the strategic environmental assessment of the Territorial Development Strategy Review published in December 1995, it is predicted that by the year 2011, the air pollution levels in the Harbour Area and Tuen Muen will be worse than the minimum health levels set by the Government and will have a serious impact on the health of the people living in those areas. The above assessment also predicts that the air quality will deteriorate even if the Government adopts the proposed environmental mitigation measures such as implementing the diesel-to-gas scheme, imposing stringent emission standards and tightening inspections on vehicles. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council of the reasons for pursuing the Territorial Development Strategy despite the findings of the above strategic environmental assessment?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

3. Dr YEUNG Sum to ask : (Translation)

In early April this year, the Chief Executive (Designate)’s Office published a consultation document on "Civil Liberties and Social Order" which contains proposals to amend the Public Order Ordinance and the Societies Ordinance and impose further restrictions on the freedoms of procession and association of Hong Kong people. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. whether the existing practice that the Police has the discretion to accept a shorter notice of intention to hold a public procession than that prescribed by law is a more flexible arrangement than the requirement proposed in the consultation document that a notice of intention must be given not less than 48 hours prior to the procession;
  2. how many notices of intention to hold public processions in which shorter notice than that prescribed by law were received by the Police in each of the past three years; and
  3. whether the Police had encountered any difficulties in carrying out their duties in connection with these processions?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

4. Mr CHAN Wing-chan to ask : (Translation)

It is learnt that the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, in handling a labour dispute arising from the Winton Restaurant Group closing down one of its member restaurants, came to the view that the Group had deprived the affected employees of the statutory holidays to which they are entitled, thus breaching the Employment Ordinance. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

  1. the Labour Department has conducted any investigation into the case; if so, of the number of employees involved and the amount of compensation claimed; and what channels are available to the affected employees for lodging compensation claims;
  2. the Labour Department will institute prosecution against the Group; if not, why not;
  3. the Labour Department will take the initiative to carry out checks to ascertain if other restaurants of the Group have also breached the relevant provisions in the Employment Ordinance, so as to safeguard the rights of the employees concerned; if so, what the details are; and
  4. any survey has been conducted to find out if the breaching of the Employment Ordinance, particularly in regard to the provisions relating to employees' right to statutory holidays, is common among employers in the catering industry?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

5. Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung to ask : (Translation)

In view of the fact that in the 1994/95 school year, 25 primary schools in the territory had incurred electricity and maintenance expenses relating to the use of air-conditioners in excess of the amount of grant provided by the Education Department, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the details of such expenses exceeding the amount of grant in the above primary schools in the school year concerned; and whether the same situation has occurred in the 1996/97 school year; if so, what the details are;
  2. whether other aspects of the operation of the above schools have been affected as a result of the schools using their General Funds to meet the excess amounts;
  3. whether, apart from the above 25 primary schools, other schools will also incur electricity and maintenance expenses relating to the use of air-conditioners in excess of the amount of grant; and
  4. whether the Education Department will be able to complete the review on the rates of the grant before this summer, so as to ensure that the schools concerned will have sufficient funds to meet the necessary expenses?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

6. Mr K K FUNG to ask : (Translation)

At present, applicants on the General Waiting List may, when awaiting the allocation of public rental flats, request that their family members and next-of-kins be included in the list of family members on the application form. Apart from the income limits and other criteria, the eligibility of these families for the allocation of public rental flats depends on whether the majority of the family members satisfy the stipulated residency requirements. In other words, in order to be eligible for the allocation of public rental flats, over half of the family members in the household must either be Hong Kong permanent residents or have at least seven years' residence in Hong Kong. However, according to Article 24(3) in Chapter III of the Basic Law, after 30 June this year, the permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall include children of Chinese nationality born outside Hong Kong of Hong Kong permanent residents who are also Chinese citizens. In this connection, does the Government know of:

  1. the number of applicants on the General Waiting List who are currently not eligible for the allocation of public rental flats, but who will become so eligible after 30 June this year because they will be able to satisfy the requirement that over half of their family members must be Hong Kong permanent residents on account of the above stipulation in the Basic Law;
  2. the number of the applicants mentioned in the answer to (a) above who are due for the allocation of public rental flats on 1 July this year; and
  3. the measures that will be put in place by the Housing Authority to cope with the situation in (a) and (b) above?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing

* 7. Dr Philip WONG to ask : (Translation)

In regard to the demonstrations, processions and petitions which had taken place since the implementation of the Public Order (Amendment) Ordinance, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and the Societies (Amendment) Ordinance, will the Government inform this Council of:

  1. the total number of demonstrations, processions and petitions held in the territory during the following periods:
    1. from January 1989 to October 1992;
    2. from November 1992 to December 1995; and
  2. the activities mentioned in (a) above in which the participants were warned or prosecuted by the Police?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

* 8. Miss Christine LOH to ask :

According to the findings of the 1996 Population By-census and the Quarterly Reports on General Household Survey published by the Census and Statistics Department, the disparity in earnings between workers in the high income groups and workers in the low income groups has widened in recent years. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

  1. a breakdown of the industry groups in which the median monthly employment earnings had increased in the past five years, together with the respective percentages of increase;
  2. a breakdown of the industry groups in which the median monthly employment earnings had decreased in the past five years, together with the respective percentages of decrease; and
  3. the factors contributing to the widening of the disparity between the median monthly unemployment earnings in the industry groups in (a) and those in the industry groups in (b) above?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services

* 9. Mr LEE Cheuk-yan to ask : (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:

  1. the number of new arrivals from mainland China who were among the territory's employed population, together with the following data relating to these new arrivals:
    1. the number of these new arrivals among the economically active population;
    2. a breakdown of those in (i) above by industry and occupation; and
    3. the number of these new arrivals who were unemployed;

    in each of the past three years;

  2. given that a good command of the local language is of great importance in securing a job, whether the Government has conducted any survey to find out the number of economically active new arrivals who have language problems; if not, whether the Government will conduct such a survey; and
  3. of the proportion of the new arrivals with less than seven years' residence in the territory who were unemployed to the total unemployed population, in the past year?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*10. Mr LEE Kai-ming to ask : (Translation)

The Government forecasts that the number of Non-Emergency Ambulance Transfer Services (NEATS) trips will increase by 5-10% in 1997/98 as compared with the figure of 383 500 trips in 1996/97. In addition, it has set a target of shortening the waiting time to within 90 minutes in respect of 90% of the transfer services provided. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the additional resources required in 1997/98 in order to achieve the above target;
  2. given that the target crew number required for each NEATS trip is three members but currently only two crew members are deployed on a number of such trips, of the respective numbers of 3-member crew trips and 2-member crew trips in the past year; and
  3. whether the department concerned will be able to meet the target of deploying three crew members on all NEATS trips; if so, when such a target will be achieved; if not, why not?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

*11. Mr LAW Chi-kwong to ask :

Regarding the problem of vacant flats in public housing estates, does the Government know:

  1. of the following data in respect of vacant flats in public housing estates in each of the past four quarters-
    1. the total number of vacant flats;
    2. the number of vacant flats ready for occupation;
    3. a breakdown of the number of vacant flats not yet ready for occupation according to the categories of the reasons for such flats being not ready for occupation;
    4. the number of vacant flats allocated to applicants on the General Waiting List;
    5. a breakdown of the number of reserved vacant flats according to the categories of the purposes for reserving such flats;
    6. a breakdown of the respective numbers of vacant flats remaining vacant for periods of 12 to 23 months, 24 to 48 months and over 4 years according to the categories of the reasons for such flats remaining vacant;
  2. of the policy in allocating vacant flats to applicants on the General Waiting List; and
  3. whether the Government will consider allocating the vacant flats to applicants in the priority order as shown on the General Waiting List until the flats are accepted, so as to reduce the number of vacant flats as well as enable those applicants with a low priority on the General Waiting List to obtain a flat sooner; if not, why not?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing

*12. Mr CHOY Kan-pui to ask : (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council of:

  1. the number of operators currently engaged in the waste recycling trade and the state of business in the trade;
  2. its policies in relation to the waste recycling trade; and
  3. how it will ensure that the trade will operate in a way consistent with the objectives of the environmental protection campaign, so as to facilitate the recycling of waste and achieve a reduction in the amount of waste generated?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

*13. Miss CHAN Yuen-han to ask : (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:

  1. whether consideration will be given to the establishment of an authority which will be entrusted with the overall responsibility for all aspects of work relating to land development and the vetting of construction processes, so as to expedite the implementation of land development projects; if so, what the details; if not, why not;
  2. of the specific details of the Government's proposal to reduce the average length of time required for the drafting of outline zoning plans and the examination of objections to such plans, from the current 22 months to 9 months;
  3. of a breakdown of the average length of time required for each stage of the construction process (including the land production, planning, and completion of project stages) in respect of the following project categories:
    1. public housing,
    2. private buildings,
    3. Government buildings; and
  4. whether consideration will be given to speeding up the completion of the construction process in respect of the project categories in (c) above; if so, of the expected length of time that can be saved in the construction process of each project category?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

*14. Mr Eric LI to ask : (Translation)

In view of increased hazard for vessels arising from the busy marine traffic in the territory's waters, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the number of vessel owners/vessel masters prosecuted in the past year for the breach of relevant regulations involving their vessels, together with the highest penalty imposed on the offenders;
  2. whether the vessel masters frequently navigating outside the territory's waters are required to undergo special training, so as to enable them to become familiarised with the conditions, as well as the speed limits in different locations, of the territory's waters;
  3. of the frequency of inspections carried out on the safety devices of each passenger vessel on average; and
  4. of the number of cases in the past year involving passenger vessels failing to meet the safety requirements, and the measures adopted by the authorities concerned to ensure that the safety devices of passenger vessels are in compliance with the relevant safety regulations?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Services

*15. Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung to ask : (Translation)

A recent survey conducted by a labour organization indicates that among employees in fast food stores and supermarkets who are eligible for protection under the Employment Ordinance ("the Ordinance"), 40% of them are not able to enjoy statutory holidays and annual leave as provided in the Ordinance, and 60% are not able to enjoy paid sick leave. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. whether it has conducted a survey on service industries which are mainly staffed by part-time employees so as to ensure that employees eligible for protection under the Ordinance are able to enjoy their entitled benefits; if so, what the findings are; if not, whether it will consider conducting such a survey;
  2. whether it has organized any activities to promote labour legislation among employees in fast food stores, restaurants and supermarkets over the past three years; if so, what the details are; if not, why not, and whether it will consider organising such activities in future; and
  3. in the light of the above survey findings, what measures the Government will take to ensure that employees are able to enjoy the benefits provided in the Ordinance?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*16. Mr Howard YOUNG to ask :

Will the Government inform this Council of a breakdown of the proportion of the largest types of wide-bodied aircraft (i.e. Boeing 747 and Airbus 330) to the total commercial aircraft, that used the Kai Tak airport in each of the past three years, in terms of the following:

  1. the number of flight movements;
  2. the estimated passenger capacity; and
  3. the estimated cargo capacity?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Services

*17. Miss Emily LAU to ask :

Regarding the recent staff reshuffle in the Faculty of Law of the City University of Hong Kong and the public remarks by some staff members of the Faculty about the low academic standard of students in the Faculty, will the Government inform this Council whether it is aware of:

  1. the reasons for the recent staff reshuffle, and the steps taken by the Council of the City University of Hong Kong to address the staff problem in the Faculty of Law; and
  2. the findings of an investigation carried out by a committee of inquiry into allegations that the head of the Department of Law had tried to put pressure on a professor to raise the passing rate of students?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*18. Mr WONG Wai-yin to ask : (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the vehicle models which experienced performance problems over the past three years, and the number of vehicles involved;
  2. how the authority concerned came to know of the performance problems of such vehicles; and
  3. of the legislation currently in force to regulate the import of cars to ensure their safe performance, and the measures taken to strengthen the control in this regard?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport

*19. Dr YEUNG Sum to ask : (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council of:

  1. the current proportion of damaged smoke-lobby doors to the total number of smoke-lobby doors in each of the public housing estates in the territory;
  2. the frequency of inspections carried out on the smoke-lobby doors by the management staff of these estates on average; and
  3. the number of public housing estates with smoke-lobby doors fitted with door closers?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing

* For written reply.

III. Government Motions

Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance

Secretary for Health and Welfare :

That the Pharmacy and Poisons (Amendment) Regulation 1997, made by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board on 9 April 1997, be approved.

IV. Government Bills

Second Reading

Debate to resume

1. Places of Public

Entertainment (Amendment) Bill 1997

:

Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport

2. Buildings (Amendment) Bill 1997

:

Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

3. Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1997

:

Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

4. Merchant Shipping (Collision Damage Liability and Salvage) Bill

:

Secretary for Economic Services

Committee Stage and Third Reading

1. Places of Public Entertainment (Amendment) Bill 1997

:

Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport

2. Buildings (Amendment) Bill 1997

:

Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

3. Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1997

:

Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

4. Merchant Shipping (Collision Damage Liability and Salvage) Bill

:

Secretary for Economic Services

V. Members' Motions

1. Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance

Mr Ronald ARCULLI :

That in relation to the Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulation, published as Legal Notice No.127 of 1997 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 9 April 1997, the period referred to in section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap.1) for amending subsidiary legislation be extended under section 34(4) of that Ordinance to the sitting of 14 May 1997.

2. Welfare for the elderly

Mr CHAN Wing-chan : (Translation)

That, as the problem associated with the ageing population in Hong Kong is becoming more serious and as the problem of poverty among the elderly has aroused grave concern in the community, this Council urges the Government to immediately increase the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payment to the elderly, expeditiously formulate a comprehensive policy for the elderly and increase the allocation of resources, in order to meet their needs in areas such as finance, housing, medical care, residential care services, community support and settlement in the Mainland etc., so as to enable them to enjoy life in their old age.

Amendment to Mr CHAN Wing-chan's motion

Mr K K FUNG : (Translation)

To delete "immediately increase the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payment to the elderly,"; to delete "," after "residential care services", and substitute with "and"; to delete "and settlement in the Mainland"; and to add "; and also urges the Government to introduce the following measures to improve the welfare for the elderly by: (1) increasing the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) payment to one-third of the median personal income, which is approximately $2,900; (2) raising the asset limit of CSSA applicants to $100,000; (3) allowing elderly CSSA recipients, who have settled in places outside Guangdong province in the Mainland, to continue to receive standard CSSA payment; and (4) providing elderly CSSA recipients, who have settled in the Mainland, with the same free medical services which they used to enjoy in Hong Kong" after "to enjoy life in their old age".

Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Health and Welfare

3. Implementation of mother-tongue education

Mrs Selina CHOW : (Translation)

That this Council supports the Government’s adoption of measures under the Firm Guidance on Secondary Schools’ Medium of Instruction to expeditiously implement fully the policy of mother-tongue education which has already been put in place for nearly a decade, so that secondary school students will be able to learn more effectively in their everyday language; furthermore, in order to make up for the environment of mother-tongue education in which students may be less exposed to the English language, this Council urges the Government to strengthen the teaching of the English language in secondary schools so as to enhance the basic proficiency of local students in using English as the second language to complement their pursuit of further studies and future careers, thereby helping the territory to establish its advantageous position as a bilingual society and to maintain its competitiveness in the international business community.

Amendment to Mrs Selina CHOW's motion

Dr LAW Cheung-kwok : (Translation)

To add "in view of the generally low standard of Chinese and English among local students," after "That,"; to delete "supports the Government’s adoption of measures under the Firm Guidance on Secondary Schools’ Medium of Instruction" and substitute with "urges the Government"; to delete "so that secondary school" and substitute with "so as to enable"; to delete "will be able"; to delete "in their everyday language; furthermore, in order to make up for the environment of mother-tongue education in which students may be less exposed to the English language, this Council urges the Government to strengthen the teaching of the English language in secondary schools so as to enhance the basic proficiency of local students in using English as the second language to" and substitute with "; this Council also urges the Government to substantially increase the allocation of resources to improve teacher training and teaching facilities and enhance the proficiency of students to become biliterate and trilingual (Putonghua, Cantonese and English), which will"; to delete "future"; and to delete ", thereby helping the territory to establish its advantageous position as a bilingual society and to maintain its" and substitute with "and at the same time, strengthen the territory’s".

Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Education and Manpower


LAW Wing-lok


for Clerk to the Legislative Council


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