Provisional Legislative Council
PLC Paper No. CB(1) 1063
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)
Bills Committee on
Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (Amendment) Bill 1998
Minutes of meeting held on Tuesday, 24 February 1998 at 2:30 pm in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building
Members present :
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU, JP (Chairman)
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Members absent :
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong
Hon Henry WU
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Public officers attending :
Clerk in attendance :
- Mr Kevin HO
- Deputy Secretary for Transport
- Mr Martin Glass
- Deputy Secretary for the Treasury
- Mrs Agnes Allcock
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
- Ms Jenny YIP
- Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury
- Mr Esmond LEE
- Principal Assistant Secretary (Lands)
- Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau
- Mr W B Maddaford
- Senior Assistant Law Draftsman
- Mr LAW Kam-sang
- Deputy Secretary General
Staff in attendance :
- Miss Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Miss Mary SO
- Senior Assistant Secretary (3)3
I. Election of Chairman
Mrs Miriam LAU was elected Chairman of the Bills Committee.
II. Letter from a group of Mei Foo residents concerning an objection to the construction of a West Rail station in the Lai Chi Kok Park
2. As the handling of objections was outside the remit of the Bills Committee, coupled with the fact that there were provisions in the Railways Ordinance to deal with objections arising from the construction of railways, members considered it not appropriate for the Bills Committee to engage in the deliberations of the objection raised by the Mei Foo residents. Members further agreed to refer the matter to the Transport Bureau for follow-up and inform the complainants of the situation.
III. Meeting with the Administration
Commencement date of the Bill
3. The Administration informed the Bills Committee that it intended to move a Committee stage amendment to delete clause 1(2) which read "This Ordinance shall come into operation on a date to be appointed by the Secretary for Transport by notice in the Gazette.". The Administration explained that the commencement notice, which was subsidiary legislation, was subject to the Councils scrutiny under section 34 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance. As the Council would unlikely have meetings after 8 April 1998, and in order to put the Bill into operation once it was enacted by the Council so as to enable Government to inject equity into Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) at the earliest possible time, the above-mentioned clause should be deleted so that the Ordinance would come into operation once it was gazetted. Members accepted the Administrations explanation.
Definition of "railway premises"
4. Members noted that carparks constructed for the purposes of or in connection with the railways were included in the definition of railway premises, and asked why shopping malls built above KCRC stations were not. The Administration explained that, unlike the carparks which were an important component of the railway transport interchange, shopping malls were not an integral part of the railway system. As such, incorporating commercial premises at railway stations which were not integral to the operation of the railway system would be at variance with the objects of the KCRC Ordinance. Exception to this would be the kiosks in the stations. Since stations were included in the definition of railway premises, kiosks located therein would be regulated by the KCRC Ordinance. Notwithstanding this, there was adequate legislation to enable the effective management of the shopping malls by KCRC. As to the reason for defining carparks as railway premises, the Administration said that they had all along been aware of the need to define carparks as railway premises so as to give KCRC the statutory power to make regulations for the effective operation and management of the carparks, and had taken the opportunity for amending the KCRC Ordinance accordingly.
Land no longer required by KCRC
5. Notwithstanding the proposed provision in new section 7B(1)(a) and (b) of clause 5 which would provide the Director of Lands with the power to divest land which was no longer required by KCRC for operational purposes, members considered it necessary to require KCRC to notify the Director of Lands on its initiative of any land that was no longer required for operational purposes and suggested that the Bill be suitably revised. The Administration agreed to consider members suggestion.
6. Members were of the view that the drafting of both the Chinese and English versions of new section 7B(2)(b) in clause 5 of the Bill, which read
and "remove all buildings and structures and thereafter reinstate the land, to its former condition or otherwise, to the satisfaction of the Director." respectively, was unsatisfactory. The Administration agreed to amend section 7B(2)(b) of clause 5 to improve the drafting.
7. Noting that the new section 14A of clause 6 stipulated that "Any moneys of the Corporation available for investment may be invested by it in such forms of investment as the Financial Secretary may in writing approve.", a member enquired whether there were any guidelines governing the investment activities of KCRC. The Administration replied that, although there were no guidelines governing the investment activities of KCRC, the existing investment guidelines of the Mass Transit Railway Corporation and the Airport Authority could serve as useful reference for KCRC, and agreed to provide such guidelines for members information. As regards the investment portfolio of KCRC, the Administration advised that such information was published in the annual report of KCRC.
8. Subject to the Committee stage amendments (CSAs) proposed above, members supported the resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Bill on 25 March 1998. The Administration advised that the CSAs should be available before 2 March 1998. The Chairman said that the Clerk would circulate the CSAs to members for consideration upon receipt of the CSAs from the Administration, and should members agree with the CSAs, a report of the Bills Committee would be presented to the House Committee on 6 March 1998.
9. The meeting ended at 4:00 pm.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
4 March 1998