Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(2)1322
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB2/BC/3/97

Bills Committee on
Legislative Council Bill

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday, 15 September 1997 at 8:30 am in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP (Chairman)
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon IP Kwok-him
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP

Members Absent :

Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Henry WU
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon CHOY So-yuk

Public Officers Attending :

Mr NG Sek-hon
Deputy Secretary for Constitutional Affairs

Mr Patrick HO Chung-kei
Principal Assistant Secretary for Constitutional Affairs 5

Miss Shirley YUNG
Principal Assistant Secretary for Constitutional Affairs 4

Mr James O'Neil
Principal Government Counsel

Ms Phyllis KO
Senior Assistant Law Draftsman (Acting) Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Percy MA
Clerk to Bills Committee

Staff in Attendance :

Mr Jimmy MA
Legal Adviser

Mr Stephen LAM
Assistant Legal Adviser 4

Miss Salumi CHAN
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 1

Meeting with the Administration

The Chairman referred members to the following documents tabled at the meeting -

  1. a summary of further/new submissions from organizations to the Bills Committee prepared by the Secretariat (subsequently issued vide PLC Paper No. CB(2)310). Members noted that, as requested by the Bills Committee on 6 September 1997, the Chairman of the Institution of Textile and Apparel had written to confirm that Mr LO Ming-tak represented the Institution in making the submission and presenting view to the Bills Committee;

  2. a submission dated 12 September 1997 from a youth organization (subsequently issued vide PLC Paper No. CB(2)311(01)); and

  3. a set of Committee stage amendments (English version) proposed by the Administration (CAB Paper No. 6) (subsequently issued vide PLC Paper No. CB(2)313(02)).

Proposed Committee stage amendments (CSAs) by the Administration
(PLC Paper No. CB(2)313(02))

2. Deputy Secretary for Constitutional Affairs (DS(CA)) said that the paper contained the full set of CSAs proposed by the Administration, some of which had already been discussed by the Bills Committee at previous meetings. Principal Assistant Secretary (Constitutional Affairs)5 (PAS(CA)5) then took members through the proposed new or revised amendments which were denoted by asterisks. Members' comments and the Administration's responses are summarized below.

Clause 6 - Dates for holding second and subsequent general elections

3. PAS(CA)5 said that the purpose of the new subclause (4) was to make known to the public the date of prorogation of the Council to terminate its operation.

Clause 11 - Acceptance of office as a Member

4. In response to the Chairman, PAS(CA)5 agreed that the phrase "given to" in proposed clause 11(2A) should be replaced by "received by" to be consistent with an amendment proposed to clause 12(3)(a). The Administration would propose a revised CSA accordingly. Adm

Clause 30 - Electoral registers

5. PAS(CA)5 advised that in response to the Bills Committee, the Administration would introduce a CSA to clause 30(4)(a) to the effect that the Electoral Registration Officer would only strike out the names of those persons whom he/she was satisfied on reasonable grounds as being no longer eligible to have their names included in the provisional register.

Clause 32 - Right of appeal against decisions of Electoral Registration Officer

6. PAS(CA)5 said that in response to comments made by the Bills Committee, the Administration would propose a CSA to clause 32(4) to allow representation by any other person, in addition to a legal practitioner, at a hearing of an appeal.

Clause 59 - Election petition

7. PAS(CA)5 said that it was the view of the Administration that voter registration should not be part of the election process for the purpose of challenging the results of election by way of election petition. The proposed CSA to clause 59(3) would make clear that the term "election" did not include voter registration.

Clause 70 - Member determined not to have been duly elected

8. PAS(CA)5 said that clause 70(1) was re-drafted to spell out clearly that when the court determined that a person who was originally declared to have been elected as a Member at an election was not duly elected, that person's office as a Member became vacant from the date of determination. A by-election could be held after the Clerk to the Legislative Council declared by notice published in the Gazette the existence of a vacancy in the membership of the Council (clauses 33 and 34 refer). In response to Mrs Miriam LAU's comments, PAS(CA)5 agreed to consider recasting the relevant clauses to improve their clarity. Adm

Item 8, Part 3, Schedule 1 - Legal functional constituency

9. PAS(CA)5 said that in response to the Bills Committee, the Administration would propose a CSA to include, as electors in the Legal functional constituency, the Legal Adviser of the LegCo Secretariat and his assistants who were in the full time employment of the Legislative Council Commission and were barristers or solicitors as defined in the Legal Practitioners Ordinance.

Item 6, Table 5, Part 1, Schedule 2 - Catering subsector

10. DS(CA) said that constituents of the Catering Subsector included companies engaged in catering which were holders of food business licences under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance. To ensure that all holders of food business licences including those operated as sole proprietors or partners were included, the reference to "companies engaged in catering" was proposed to be deleted.

11. In response to Legal Adviser, PAS(CA)4 advised that all holders of liquor licences were also holders of food business licences. In response to the Chairman, the Administration agreed to confirm this point and would revert to the Bills Committee if necessary. Adm

Section 2, Part 2, Schedule 2 - Composition of the religious subsector

12. PAS(CA)5 said that having regard to comments made by Legal Adviser, section 2(2) was re-drafted in order to be consistent with other similar provisions in the Bill.

13. In response to Legal Adviser on the phrase " the Chief Executive in Council may by order/notice published in the Gazette", the Administration explained that under the Bill, the term "order" was used to refer to subsidiary legislation, whereas the term "notice" was used mainly in relation to specification of dates in the Gazette e.g. commencement dates of terms of office of LegCo.

Clause 83 and Schedule 4 - Consequential amendments of other Ordinances

14. Members noted the consequential amendments proposed to the Independent Commission Against Corruption Ordinance and the Federation of Hong Kong Industries Ordinance.

Other clauses

15. Members noted the new/revised CSAs proposed to be made to clauses 4, 10, 22, 24, 37, 42, 49, 50 and 73. PAS(CA)5 pointed out that these amendments were either technical in nature or aimed at improving the drafting aspect of the Bill.

Outstanding issues

16. In response to members, PAS(CA)5 advised that -

  1. The Administration would propose amendments to provide a suitable framework to facilitate the conduct of the first meeting of the first term of office of LegCo. The wording of the amendment would be available at the next meeting;

  2. The Administration would not move CSAs to incorporate in clause 13 the disqualification criteria for candidature as set out in clause 37. The reasons had been explained in detail to the Bills Committee at previous meetings; and

  3. As regards the question of a Member changing his/her nationality or the fact as to whether he/she had a right of abode in a foreign country after being elected, the Administration noted members' views expressed at previous meetings and would advise the Bills Committee of its position at the next meeting.

Amendments to be proposed by the Bills Committee

17. The Chairman asked members to consider whether the CSAs proposed by Dr Raymond HO and Mr Howard YOUNG which were non-controversial should be moved in the name of the Bills Committee.

Information Technology functional constituency (FC)

18. Dr Raymond HO explained briefly the background to his proposed amendment. He said that the effect of the CSA was to add Fellows, Members and Graduate Members of the Information Technology (IT) Division of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) who did not belong to any other disciplines of the HKIE but were entitled to vote at general meetings of the Division, as electors for the Information Technology FC (item 28 of Schedule 1). This would give the information technology professionals of the HKIE a choice to vote in the FC which represented them.

19. Mr Ronald ARCULLI was concerned about the criteria adopted for expanding the electorate for functional constituencies. Mrs Sophie LEUNG pointed out that Dr HO's proposal was different from that made by the IT Division. Moreover, the inclusion of the phrase "who did not belong to any other disciplines of the HKIE" in the proposed CSA was not consistent with the drafting of other similar provisions in the Bill and would cause confusion.

20. Dr HO said that of the 17 Fellows, 84 Members and 769 Graduate Members of the IT Division, only three Fellows and six Members belonged to other disciplines of the HKIE. The reason to exclude them was to restrict the number of information technology professionals of the IT Division who could have a choice to vote in the Information Technology FC to the minimum. The proposed CSA was acceptable to the IT Division and the Administration.

21. After discussion and noting that only 9 members of the IT Division belonged to disciplines other than the IT Division, members agreed that the CSA should be reworded as "Fellows, Members and Graduate Members of the Information Technology Division of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers who are entitled to vote at general meetings of the Division". It was also agreed that the CSA would be moved by the Bills Committee. The Administration had no objection to the revised CSA. LA

22. In response to Mr Ronald ARCULLI, DS(CA) confirmed that the one-year rule would not apply to individual electors in professional functional constituencies whose eligibility was defined with reference to statutory or commonly recognised professional qualifications. In further response to the Legal Adviser, PAS(CA)4 confirmed that CSAs would be introduced to clause 23(6) to exempt various Members of the Hong Kong Association for Computer Education Ltd., Hong Kong Society of Medical Informatics Ltd., Hong Kong Telemedicine Association and Information Technology Division of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers - electors proposed to be added to the Information Technology FC. LA

Tourism functional constituency (FC)

23. Mr Howard YOUNG said that the purpose of his proposed CSA was to include members of the Hong Kong Hotels Association and members of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, constituents of the Hotel Subsector of the Election Committee, as electors for the Tourism FC (item 17 of Schedule 1). While the proposed amendment would give due recognition to the hotel industry, it would not significantly change the electorate base of the Tourism FC because all hotels were currently eligible to vote in the FC as travel industry members of the Hong Kong Tourist Association.

24. DS(CA) said that the Administration had no objection to the proposed CSA. However, it was necessary to introduce consequential amendments to bring the restrictions on registration in the Tourism FC and the Tourism/Hotel Subsectors of the Election Committee in line with the arrangement adopted for the Education FC and the Higher Education/Education Subsectors of the Election Committee. LA

25. Members agreed that the CSAs would be moved by the Bills Committee.

Submissions from organizations
(PLC Paper No. CB(2)310)

26. Referring to the further submission from the Hong Kong Institution of Textile and Apparel, Dr Charles YEUNG asked whether the Administration would consider including members of the Institution as electors for the FC. DS(CA) said that the Administration had yet to come to a position on members' proposals relating to the electorate for the FC. It would let members have its response at the next meeting. Adm

27. Referring to the additional submissions from transport organizations, Mrs Miriam LAU asked whether the Administration would consider including those associations which comprised predominantly corporate members or transport companies with business registration certificates as electors for the Transport FC. DS(CA) said that that if each corporate member were to be given one vote, the disproportionately large membership size of some associations might result in those associations dominating the electoral process and upset the balance of representation. The Administration remained of the view that the existing electorate delineation of the FC was a fair one and would not propose any change.

Date of next meeting

28. The Chairman requested the Administration to let members have its responses to all outstanding issues and the finalized CSAs at the meeting to be held at 10: 30 am on the following day.

29. The meeting ended at 10:30 am.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
25 March 1998