SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, just as Mr Andrew WONG pointed out, when the former Legislative Council examined the electoral bill in 1994, the Attorney General had already pointed out that this proposal might breach the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance because it would indirectly deprive some voters of their right to vote in the direct elections of geographical constituencies.

For this reason, we object to this amendment.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Frederick FUNG, do you wish to reply?

MR FREDERICK FUNG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, it is so late now but several Members have still spoken on my amendment. So, whether they agree with me or not, I have to thank them.

First of all, I want to reply to Mr Ronald ARCULLI's query. Members must not be misled by him. He is not in this Chamber right now. Perhaps, it is getting too late now, and he has therefore failed to read carefully how I have worded my amendment. Will Members please look at clause 51(1A), which reads: "A person registered as an elector is disqualified from voting at an election if the person has voted more than once at an election". This differs in meaning from Mr Ronald ARCULLI's claim that a person will have trouble voting again in 2000 if he has voted in 1998. Under clause 51(1A), a person is disqualified from voting only if he votes more than once at one single election. This certainly does not mean that if one has voted at an election, he is to be disqualified from voting at subsequent elections. Rather, disqualification will arise only if a person has voted more than once at one single election. So, it should not be argued that one cannot vote in 2000 after he has voted in 1998. Hence, I think that Mr Ronald ARCULLI is actually trying to hide the truth. He is a lawyer, and so, I consider his action inexcusable.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Ronald ARCULLI, do you wish to seek an elucidation from Mr Frederick?

MR RONALD ARCULLI(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I would like to ask Mr Frederick FUNG to clarify whether Hong Kong is practising bilingual legislation. If both languages are used, who is supposed to decide which version is authentic? If he cares to do so, I would ask him to read both the English and Chinese versions.

MR FREDERICK FUNG(in Cantonese): I have read the Chinese version only. For the English version ...... I think that the Chinese version should prevail because I wrote it myself, and then asked someone to translate it into English for me. So there may be inaccuracy in the translated version. Would Mr Ronald ARCULLI please also read the Chinese version?

As there may have been some misunderstanding, I will not blame him. I hope that I can allay Mr Ronald ARCULLI's worries and that he would support my amendments.

Regarding the point on elections on an equal and universal basis brought up by Mr Andrew WONG, I have already said that under the present electoral system, it is impossible for us to achieve both of these two objectives in the Legislative Council Election. For example, in order to be fair, it is most desirable that everyone is given one bowl of rice. But, the present situation is that the majority of the people can have only one third of a bowl of rice, while a minority of 180 000 people can have two and a half bowls. Yet, some people still insist that the majority of 6.3 million people should continue to eat one third of a bowl of rice each for the sake of making the election genuinely universal. But what is the actual purpose of such insistence? It is to ensure or make it possible that some can continue to eat two and a half bowls of rice. Looking at this insistence from another angle, we will see that when some people are allowed to eat two and half bowls of rice, six million other people, who have only one third of a bowl to eat, are in fact deprived of their rights.

Therefore, I think that the existing electoral system is in breach of the Bill of Rights no matter how we look at it. The reason is that for as long as there are three types of elections returning Members to the Legislative Council, we cannot possibly comply with the Bill of Rights, whether or not we retain the current practice of allowing one person to vote once or twice, or whether or not we adopt my proposal of allowing one elector to vote once at an election only. This point has in fact been stated in a court judgement in 1996 to which I referred earlier. That being the case, I have to ask: universality and equality, which one is more important? The Government considers universality important, but I insist that equality is important, and it may be even more important than universality. That is why I have proposed this amendment.

Even if this amendment is passed today, I will not worry that it will be challenged by the court. When functional constituency elections were challenged by someone in 1996 on the ground that they were in breach of the Bill of Rights, the judge ruled that since such elections were prescribed in the Letters Patent and the Royal Instructions, and since these constitutional documents should be superior to the laws of Hong Kong, the appellant should lose his case. In other words, since the Basic Law provides for three types of elections, then even if a judicial challenge is instigated on account of universality in future, and if the same logic applies, the court will have a precedent to follow. It may probably rule that the Basic Law is the constitution of Hong Kong; hence, it is superior to the laws of Hong Kong and cannot be challenged.

With these remarks, I would like to call on everyone to support my amendment, which stipulates that one person shall vote only once at an election.

Thank you, Madam Chairman.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendments moved by Mr Frederick FUNG be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(Members responded)

Mr Frederick FUNG rose to claim a division.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The Committee shall now proceed to a division. The division bell will ring for one minute.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members, the question now put is: That the amendments moved by Mr Frederick FUNG, which propose one person should vote only once at an election. Will Members please proceed to vote.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): If there are no queries, the result will now be displayed.

Dr Raymond HO, Mrs Elsie TU, Mr MOK Ying-fan, Mr Frederick FUNG, Mr Bruce LIU and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok voted for the amendments.

Mr WONG Siu-yee, Mr James TIEN, Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Mr NG Leung-sing, Mr Eric LI, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mrs Selina CHOW, Mrs Peggy LAM, Mr Henry WU, Mr NGAI Shiu-kit, Mr Henry TANG, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr YUEN Mo, Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung, Dr TSO WONG Man-yin, Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr TSANG Yok-sing, Mr CHENG Kai-nam, Mr Andrew WONG, Dr Philip WONG, Mr Howard YEUNG, Dr Charles YEUNG, Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr CHIM Pui-chung, Mrs Miriam LAU, Mr Ambrose LAU, Mr CHOY Kan-pui, Mr CHENG Yiu-tong, Dr TANG Siu-tong, Mr Timothy FOK, Mr KAN Fook-yee, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen, Mr LO Suk-ching, Mr TAM Yiu-chung and Miss CHOY So-yuk voted against the amendments.

Mr MA Fung-kwok and Mr CHAN Choi-hi abstained.

THE CHAIRMAN announced that there were six Members in favour of the amendments, 40 against and two abstaining. She therefore declared that the amendments were negatived.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that subclauses (1), (4) and (5) of clause 46 and subclauses (1) and (3) of clause 51 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Most of these amendments are technical in nature but the amendments to clause 51 reflect the regulation which I referred to earlier on: to be eligible to vote at Legislative Council elections, a member of the Election Committee must be a registered voter for a geographical constituency.

Proposed amendments

Clause 46 (see Annex III)

Clause 57 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendments moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Andrew WONG, as the amendment to clause 29 that you moved earlier has been negatived, and your amendment to clause 51 is related to it, do you wish to withdraw this amendment?

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I just want to say that I cannot move the amendment now because my proposed amendment to clause 29 has been negatived, and the relevant provision contained in clause 51 is the same as that contained in clause 29 only that they appear in different places. Therefore, even if you permit, I will not move the amendment.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that subclause (5) of clause 51 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Clause 51 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN (in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clauses 46 and 51 as amended.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clause 24.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that subclauses (2) and (6) of clause 24 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Clause 24 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clause 24 as amended.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clause 59.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Both the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs and Mr Bruce LIU have separately given notices to propose amendments to subclause (3) of 59.

I propose that the amendments proposed separately by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs and Mr Bruce LIU be debated together in a joint debate.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The Committee will now proceed to a joint debate. I will first call upon the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs to move his amendment. Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that subclause (3) of clause 59 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

The original intent of this relevant clause of the Legislative Council Bill is to specify that the grounds for lodging an election petition should cover matters relating to nomination proceedings and the decisions of the Returning Officer or any Assistant Returning Officer, but not the registration of electors prior to nomination proceedings.The aim of this amendment is to give this intent more clarity.

The amendment of Mr Bruce LIU will produce effects which are exactly opposite to the Government's policy intent. Therefore we object to Mr LIU's amendment.

Clause 32 of the Bill has already provided for an appeal mechanism for the registration of voters so as to ensure the definitive authority of the final register. Hence, we should not mix up this mechanism and the lodging of election petitions.

The Government now proposes that under clause 59, there shall be a valid ground for lodging an election petition if a corrupt or illegal practice was engaged in by or in respect of someone at or in connection with an election; or corrupt or illegal practices were generally prevalent at or in connection with an election. This arrangement has been proven effective and viable by the experience of past elections, and it is also acceptable to the public. Therefore, we consider the Government's proposal reasonable.

Proposed amendment

Clause 59 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I will call upon Mr Bruce LIU to speak on the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs as well as his own amendment, but will not ask Mr LIU to move his amendment unless the amendment of the Secretary for Constitutional Affair has been negatived.

MR BRUCE LIU(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, my amendment seeks to include the registration of electors in the definition of elections as set out in clause 59(3) of the Legislative Council Bill. In other words, in this section, as far as the election petition is concerned, "election" includes the registration of electors, nomination proceedings and all other steps taken to enable the election to be held.

If my amendment is passed, when an aggrieved party questions the validity of an election by means of election petitions, he has to base on the grounds of material irregularity occurred in relation to the election. The Government has just said that election petitions should not cover matters relating to the registration of electors, but I disagree. I think that three questions have to be dealt with.

First, when does an election actually start? The amended version of the Government now is that at the very most, it should start from the nomination process, and come to an end when the Returning Officer comes up with a decision. So, nomination should be the earliest possible stage which an election petition can cover. Formally speaking, we can of course state clearly that an election will start from nomination, but how about the real situation? Does an election start from nomination? Some disagree, saying that the first Legislative Council election has already started today or even before that.

Let us take a look at the real world. For example, when should a candidate be considered to have started to incur election expenses? As we understand it, not the time when one registers as a candidate and starts printing publicity materials. Rather, we have good reasons to believe that all publicity expenses incurred before candidature registration for the purpose of electioneering should be counted as election expenditure. If the total expenditure exceeds a certain limit, even if the candidate is returned, he shall be disqualified because he has breached the regulation against corrupt practices at an election. The timeframe for investigation into irregularities at an election does not use candidature registration as the starting point

The second question. Some people argue that if the registration of voters is also included in the definition of "election" for the purpose of lodging election petitions, many unnecessary litigation would arise because whenever there are any problems in the registration of voters, great confusion would be created. I feel that we should not worry about this. Anyone wishing to lodge an election petition has to go through certain technical procedures before he can do so. Particularly, under clause 59, no one can lightly lodge any election petitions in relation to the registration of voters; as it is provided, in clause 59(1)(a)(iv), that an election petition may only be lodged on grounds of material irregularity occurred in relation to the registration of electors. To meet this criterion, it requires more than an ordinary problem in the registration of electors; rather, some material irregularity occurred in relation to the election. In addition, one has to pay for his own expenses to lodge an election petition and hence no one would lightly lodge an election petition.

The third question. The Government has just said that any complaints about the registration of electors can be lodged by means of the appeal mechanism set out in clause 32. Nevertheless, an elector would normally lodge a complaint when he himself is disqualified from being registered as an elector. Few would lodge complaints in relation to the irregularities occurred in the registration of electors of the whole election, or especially in relation to the result of a particular election or irregularities occurred in the registration of electors and election results. Therefore, the appeal mechanism set out in clause 32 has little to do with the election petition.

Therefore, if we are to make our elections fairer, the Government should add one more mechanism to allow those who meet the requirements of clause 60 to lodge election petitions in case of material irregularities in relation to the registration of electors. Only then would it become a perfect mechanism for lodging complaints.

Madam Chairman, I so submit.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members may now debate the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs as well as the proposed amendment by Mr Bruce LIU. Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, do you wish to reply?

(The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs indicated that he did not wish to reply)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Andrew WONG.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, the Honourable Bruce LIU has brought up quite a significant point to which the Government should respond.

The main problem is that if problems connected with constituencies arise in the process of elector registration, election petitions, as specified in this Bill, cannot possibly deal with them. For this reason, I raised a point at a meeting of the Bills Committee that the existing provision of "material irregularity occurred in relation to the election" may not be adequate, because "election" has been so defined to exclude elector registration. Hence, if problems arise in the course of elector registration, what should be done?

This is why I think that Mr Bruce LIU's amendment is really well-intentioned. I think that the Government has not paid any due attention to the views of the Bills Committee, because instead of making any corrections, it has clung to its own position as the only correct answer. I hope that the Government should at least have the decency of responding to Mr LIU's amendment. I did not intent to speak at first, but the lack of any response from the Government has prompted me to speak because I find it wrong of it not to respond. I hope that the Government will respond to the amendment.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I do not think that there is any need for me to give a reply because we do not see any problems with this particular area. All the possibilities of litigation, to the best of our knowledge and understanding, are already covered in clauses 32 and 59. Nevertheless, Mr Andrew WONG and Mr Bruce LIU are worried that some very serious problems may arise as regards the registration of electors. But I do not know what serious problems they have in mind. Perhaps they can explain what these problems are. As far as we understand it, the present Bill has already covered all the problems concerning these two aspects, and we can offer sufficient justification.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment to subclause (3) of clause 59 moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it.

Mr Bruce LIU rose to claim a division.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Bruce LIU has claimed a division. The division bell will ring for one minute.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members, the question now put is: That the amendment to subclause (3) of clause 59 moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs in relation to the definition of election including the nomination proceedings and the decisions of the Returning Officer or any Assistant Returning Officers.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): If there are no queries, the result will now be displayed.

Mr WONG Siu-yee, Mr James TIEN, Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Dr Raymond HO, Mr NG Leung-sing, Prof NG Ching-fai, Mr Eric LI, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mrs Elsie TU, Mrs Selina CHOW, Mrs Peggy LAM, Mr Henry WU, Mr NGAI Shiu-kit, Mr Henry TANG, Mr YUEN Mo, Mr MA Fung-kwok, Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung, Dr TSO WONG Man-yin, Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr TSANG Yok-sing, Mr CHENG Kai-nam, Mr Howard YEUNG, Dr Charles YEUNG, Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mrs Miriam LAU, Mr Ambrose LAU, Mr CHOY Kan-pui, Mr CHENG Yiu-tong, Dr TANG Siu-tong, Mr Timothy FOK, Mr KAN Fook-yee, Mr TAM Yiu-chung and Miss CHOY So-yuk voted for the amendment.

Mr MOK Ying-fan, Mr CHAN Choi-hi, Mr Frederick FUNG, Mr Andrew WONG, Mr Bruce LIU, Mr LO Suk-ching and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok voted against the amendment.

THE CHAIRMAN announced that there were 38 Members in favour of the amendment and seven against. She therefore declared that the amendment was carried.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Bruce LIU, as the amendment to subclause (3) of clause 59 proposed by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs has been agreed, you may not move your amendment to the same subclause as it is inconsistent with the decision already taken.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clause 59 as amended.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clauses 62, 67, 70, 73, 80 and 81.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): I move that the clauses specified be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendments

Clause 62 (see Annex III)

Clause 67 (see Annex III)

Clause 70 (see Annex III)

Clause 73 (see Annex III)

Clause 80 (refer Annex III)

Clause 81 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendments moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clauses 62, 67, 70, 73, 80 and 81 as amended.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Council will now deal with the unfinished business of schedule 2. Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): I move that item 16 of table 1 of part 1 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHAN Kam-lam.

MR CHAN KAM-LAM(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that table 2 and table 3 of part 1 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

The main purpose of the amendment is to move the sports, performing arts, culture and publication subsector from the third sector to the professional sector. According to the decision of the Preparatory Committee, the third sector of the Election Committee should consist of people from the social services, labour and religious fields. The Secretary has once said in the Bills Committee that sports, performing arts, culture and publication are all of the nature of social services and therefore should fall inside the Third Sector. But, the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) considers that most of the people in these fields have to undergo special training, and some in the sports field must even have professional qualifications. Therefore, we think that it is more appropriate to put them in the professional sector. Some individuals in these fields may of course oppose the DAB's amendment and we totally sympathize with their sentiments because the number of Election Committee members allocated to this subsector should be 40, but once they are re-classified under the professional sector, it may only have 18 representatives. But, the DAB has decided to put forward this amendment because are want to focus on the nature of this subsector to see whether it should belong to the professional sector or social service sector. We do not focus so much on the number of Election Committee members. Therefore, even though the amendment may reduce the number of this subsector's Election Committee members, we consider that it can properly recognize the professional status of sports, performing arts, culture and publication. So I hope that Honourable colleagues will support my amendment.

In addition, because my amendment suggests putting the sports, performing arts, culture and publication subsector under the second sector, the number of the Election Committee members representing the other subsectors in this Sector will also have to be reduced from 20 to 18 or 19.

Moreover, Madam Chairman, I have to amend table 3 too because after the subsector of sports, performing arts, culture and publication of the third sector has been re-classified under the professional sector, the 40 seats that they originally occupy will be left vacant and I suggest turning them over to the labour sector. The main reason for the DAB to move this amendment is that the labour sector have three seats in the functional constituencies; if the principle of allocating members to the industrial, commercial and financial subsectors in the first sector of the Election Committee is to be applied, that is, if, the functional constituencies of Commercial (first) and Commercial (second), as well as Industrial (first) and Industrial (second) are to be copied, then the labour subsector in the Third Sector should also be represented as three functional constituencies. However, as we do not wish to alter the representativeness of the other subsectors in the third sector, including the agriculture and fisheries, social welfare and religious subsectors, we only propose to turn over the seats vacated by the sports, performing arts, culture and publication subsector to the labour sector. I hope that my colleagues will support my amendment on increasing the number of the labour sector's representatives on the Election Committee, so that the distribution of Election Committee members will conform with the original idea.

Madam Chairman, I so submit.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Timothy FOK.

MR TIMOTHY FOK(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, Mr CHAN Kam-lam has proposed to move the sports, performing arts, culture and publications subsector from the third sector to the second sector. The people of the sports field have complained that they have not been told the reason so far. In addition, they also view that the proposed transfer will drastically reduce the number of seats allocated to the sports, performing arts, culture and publication subsector, thus further affecting the representiveness of the four groups which make up this subsector. For these reasons, I cannot support this arrangement.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr MA Fung-kwok.

MR MA FUNG-KWOK(in Cantonese): The amendment moved by the DAB has led to strong reverberations in the sports, performing arts, culture and publication fields. Actually, it has long been the hope of these four fields that a separate subsector can be set up for each of them, hence separate seats. However, in view of the competing claims from many other bodies, and out of a respect for the relevant decision of the Preparatory Committee, they have very much reluctantly accepted the arrangement of grouping them in one subsector for the first Legislative Council election.

Actually, each of the four groups plays a different but very important role, and each of them serve the community in a different capacity. In order to fight for representation, these four fields have been arguing with the Government over various issues since as early as 1992. The Government has always considered that since these four fields are not professional in nature, they should not be regarded as such in the delineation of functional constituencies, and excused itself in excluding them from the professional sector. Of course, we agree that our work do serve the community. We originally wanted to fight for the Government's recognition of our professional status. But regrettably, the Government has not acceded to our demand. So, when the Government now proposes to put us in the Third Sector as one single subsector, we have to accept the proposal, though very much reluctantly. Recognizing that seats are scarce, we have finally decided to accept the limited number of seats allocated to us, though we would very much like to have more seats and thus more representatives to give full expression to our opinions.

Having made our position clear, let me now point out that we do appreciate the rationale behind the DAB's amendment, that is, that the labour sector should be given more seats. But we have to understand that the arrangement proposed in the amendment is not the most desirable way to achieve the DAB's intented purpose, for we in these four fields are also faced with the same problem of not having sufficient seats. So, it will be very unfair if we seek to increase the number of seats for the labour sector at the expense of another sector which also plays an important role in the community. Since the sports, performing arts, culture and publication fields have very strong objections, there is no way that I can support this amendment.

Thank you, Madam Chairman.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr James TIEN.

MR JAMES TIEN(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, two Members have just expressed their views on the allocation of seats for the subsector of culture and sports. Mrs CHAN Kam-lam has advanced the view that too few seats are allocated to the labour sector, and so, the number of seats for the labour sector should be increased from 40 to 80. For the 800-member Election Committee, 40 or 80 seats does not seem to occupy a very large proportion. But Mr CHAN Kam-lam should not forget that Members siding with the labour camp altogether will make up a fairly large proportion in the first Legislative Council. The DAB often supports the labour sector in voting. And I believe many members of the Democratic Party will be returned to the Legislative Council in the 1998 Election and they often support the labour sector in voting also. And then, there is also the Frontier. With these three parties as well as Members from the labour sector, I think that labour interests will be adequately represented.

Thank you, Madam Chairman.

CHAIRMAN:Mr Ronald ARCULLI.

MR RONALD ARCULLI:Madam Chairman, poor Mr CHAN Kam-lam would have us believe that he is actually doing Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publishing a favour by promoting them from Sector Three to Sector Two. I suppose if numerical count-down makes any difference next time, they might find themselves in Sector One.

But it is a little transparent as to what the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) is trying to do. By promoting the Sports sector up to the second sector it does a number of things. It reduces the representatives of the Professional sector by each category by one or two; and it increases the Labour content, as it were, by 40, that is doubling it.

We have not heard from him, other than the fact that he says that, "well, if we split Labour into Labour One, Labour Two, Labour Three, like the Commercial sector, then we should get more representatives." Why has not he done so? Because if my mathematics is right, by kicking Sports upstairs, splitting Labour into three, in the third Sector they would be able to get about 100 votes, 100 representatives.

The real reason, I believe, is that you cannot split Labour into three. Look at the Labour Functional Constituency definition. It simply says: "trade unions registered under the Trade Union Ordinance of which all the voting members are employees." How do you split something like this into three sectors? So, do not be misled by that.

If, in fact, they do not kick the Sports sector up and they retain the Sports sector within the third sector, then the second string to his bow would be still to take 20 votes away from the Sports sector and give it to the Labour sector. Again, this is a very arbitrary figure.

Other than the fourth sector, which has its division of representatives because of the Preparatory Committee decision that there should be ex officio members, namely National People's Congress members and Members of the Provisional Legislature, the remainder has had to be divided, as it were, over the other bodies mentioned in that sector. Other than that, the Government has been consistent in equal distribution.

We earlier heard Mr MA Fung-kwok wanting to divide the votes into four sub-sectors within the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publishing and there was objection to that and that was voted down. And indeed even at the Bills Committee when I asked that question, the response by the Administration is that the whole purpose of the Election Committee is to actually have representatives coming in from the particular functional group or constituency, including the ones who do not have their own seats.

So, we cannot and we should not arbitrarily take votes away from a given sector simply because we have the view that it is not enough. If I were to stand here and say that the Real Estate and Construction Sector contributes to 25% of the GDP in Hong Kong, and that in that particular sector we should have 25% of the vote, I am sure I would be thrown out of this Chamber, and quite rightly, quite rightly so. So, why are we doing this? Why are we being asked to support this?

I said earlier during the Second Reading debate that we should have fair and open elections. I believe this attempt is a blatant attempt to garner control of a large section of the Election Committee, and if that happened, it does not matter what voting system you have. What we have been debating, what we have been trying to avoid, what we have been persuading each other, would go by the board.

So, I hope, when Members consider this, that they will not support either the removal of the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publishing Sector from the third sector to the second, nor support taking away their 40 representatives and give it to the Labour sector. And if that failed, I would also ask Members to vote against the fall-back, if I could put it that way, of poor old Mr CHAN Kam-lam where he takes away 20 votes from the Sports sector.

Thank you.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Howard YOUNG.

MR HOWARD YOUNG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, last might, when we debated the amendment moved by Mr CHAN Kam-lam on behalf of the DAB, I already pointed out that this amendment had led to reverberations in the community because many people looked upon it as a blow to the field of social work. This is indeed very unfortunate, but since the amendment has already been passed, we have no alternative but to accept it. In recent days, public opinions have cast doubts on the amendments moved by some particular sectors or political parties, dismissing them as attempts at "vote rigging" or "gerrymandering". The earlier amendment which has been passed is at best barely justifiable from a technical point of view. But, I am afraid that if we also pass this amendment now under consideration, people would not criticize us for "secret gerry-mandering" only; they would certainly criticize us for "robbery under broad daylight" as well. I am really worried that people would criticize us in this way. As described by Mr Ronald ARCULLI just now, this amendment is an attempt to kick out one subsector, and snatch what it has. If the Provisional Legislative Council endorses such a blatant misdeed today, I am worried, really worried that many more bitter criticisms will be drawn against us.

The classification of sports and culture as professions as rationalized by Mr CHAN sounds like a very lofty goal. No doubt, we have many elite athletes in Hong Kong, such as those trained up by the Hong Kong Sports Institute. They may have to pass some examinations too, and they are certainly elites. However, we must remember that the sports field also includes many bodies which are made up of nearly amateur masses. As I understand it, a profession is so named because an intending practitioner is required to obtain the relevant qualification by examination beforehand. Let me take some of the professions grouped under the existing functional constituencies as examples. These professions include, accountancy, education and so on, which all require an intending practitioner to obtain the relevant qualification beforehand. But, for the sports field, I do not think that it has reached such a stage of rigid requirement. I know very well that we are discussing the professional sectors in the Election Committee. However, since we are after all still discussing professions, we should adhere to some uniform standards of definition.

But, will the labour field then suffer any unfair treatment? The answer to this question can be found in Mr James TIEN's comments on the 40 seats allocated to the labour sector. The figure pointed out by Mr Ronald ARCULLI is right. If we follow Mr CHAN's argument, and agree that the labour field should split into three subsectors, then the matter will be very simple: after removing sports, performing arts, culture and publication from the Third Sector, there will be six subsectors in this Sector, with the labour field occupying three or half, of them. This will mean that the labour field should have 100 seats. How come they have come up with the figure of 80? That is illogical. I think that no matter what the argument is, the direction of the amendment must be correct. Since even the packaging of this proposed amendment is so poor, we can expect to hear even more criticisms from the public. Hence, I object to this amendment.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr TSANG Yok-sing.

MR TSANG YOK-SING(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, throughout this debate which has lasted for so many hours, the only reason which many Members have used to oppose the amendments seems to be that the DAB is suspected of "gerrymandering" and "vote rigging". Some Members have also mentioned the "packaging" of our amendments. But, why have they referred to "packaging"? To me, justifications and reasons are already the best "packaging".

When the Bills Committee examined this Bill, it did discuss whether sports, culture, performing arts and publication should belong to the second sector of the Election Committee, (that is the Professional Sector), and whether it should belong to the third sector. According to the Basic Law, the third sector should consist of labour, social services and religion. When the government representative pointed out that since arts and culture also served the community, they should be regarded as social services and grouped under the third sector, the whole meeting burst into laughter. Where these fileds should be placed is in fact a very controversial issue. So, we should not argue that moving them from the third sector to the second sector is to kick them out or to "snatch their seats".

Under the Bill put forward by the Government, the principle of equal seat allocation is applied to the subsectors of all other sectors. Then, how many subsectors are there altogether in the third sector? According to the Basic Law, there should be three, namely, the labour, social services and religious subsectors. How come, then, the labour, social services and religious subsectors, which make up one of the three main sectors, only occupy one fifth rather than one third, of the seats of the whole Election Committee? Mr Ronald ARCULLI has said that the labour subsector cannot be divided because it is all composed of trade unions, and we just cannot forcibly break them up into three parts. Actually the figures are very simple. We see that for the functional constituencies, the commercial functional constituency is split into two and the industrial functional constituency is also split into two. So, the labour subsector can also be split into three. If we say that it is unfair to allocate more seats to the labour subsector because it is in the third sector, then first of all we have to ask whether it is unfair to categorize this sector in this way. It is not totally correct to say that since the labour subsector can be split into three, it should be put in the Third Sector and be counted as three subsectors, because the religious sector was not supposed to be a subsector in this sector in the first place. We all know that the so-called 17 plus 15 formula did not include the religious sector. That being the case, should we treat the religious subsector as just one other subsector, or should we regard it as one of the three parts of the third sector? Therefore, no matter how we do our calculations, there would not be a straight forward formula which can achieve even distribution.

Mr CHAN Kam-lam's amendment proposes the simplest way to deal with the problem. If the sports, performing arts, culture and publication subsector is moved to the second sector, then 40 seats will be left vacant. If these seats are given to the labour subsector, on the one hand, it is fairer to this sector which should have accounted for a heavier proportion; and, on the other hand, there is no need to introduce any changes to the religious subsector and the agriculture and fisheries subsector. Mr Howard YEUNG said that there have been heated discussions in the community, but let me point out that these discussions have been centered on the point that the commercial sector is given too much representation on the Election Committee. The fact is that no matter how many more seats are given to the labour field, it cannot possibly outnumber the industrial and commercial subsectors in the 800-strong Election Committee. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHENG Kai-nam.

MR CHENG KAI-NAM(in Cantonese): Thank you, Madam Chairman. When we examined this Bill at the Bills Committee, we pointed out firmly and clearly the reasons why we have proposed this amendment. Our position is based on one principle: the groupings of sectors and subsectors should precede the apportioning of seats. This is a principle to which, I believe, neither the Secretary nor my colleagues who have participated in the examination of this Bill would disagree. The only thing is that having accepted this very principle, the Government decided at the meeting to place the four groups including performing arts under the sector of social services. I can recall that the whole meeting burst into laughter and I remarked that we Members should also be grouped under the sector of social services too.

We do understand that our friends in the performing arts, publication, sports and culture subsector will have to make a choice between being grouped under the professional sector and having 40 seats on the Election Committee. Obviously, if they choose to be grouped under the professional sector, they will certainly have to make do with having fewer seats amidst the competing claims from other professional sectors. And, if they want more seats, they will have to admit that theirs are not professional occupations, and can just be regarded as social services.

Mr MA Fung-kwok has said that he understands very well the motive of the DAB. In fact, we are also well aware of the situation of the performing arts sector. If Members have not forgotten, they will recall what I said at a meeting of the Bills Committee. I said that as a matter of principle we should first determine the groupings of sectors and subsectors first, and then apportion the number of seats. But, for the convenience of calculation, the Government has placed four occupations groups in the third sector. Since there are comparatively more seats in the third sector, these 4 groups can of course receive a more generous allotment. At that particular Bills Committee meeting, I remarked that if our friends in the performing arts, sports, culture and publication subsector were content with being assigned to the third sector in order to get more seats I would have nothing to say ...... Well, since they have not insisted on that, we cannot insist on anything for them either.

Thank you, Madam Chairman.

CHAIRMAN:Mr Ronald ARCULLI.

MR RONALD ARCULLI:Madam Chairman, I cannot remember that as a member of the Bills Committee I actually agreed to this proposal. I find a highly misleading comment coming from Mr CHENG Kai-nam. That is Number One. Number Two, if we decide ......

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHENG Kai-nam, are you seeking an elucidation?

MR CHENG KAI-NAM(in Cantonese): I have never said that Honourable colleagues in the Bills Committee had agreed to this amendment of ours. I just said at the meeting that it was our principle that groupings of sectors and subsectors should precede the allocation of seats. I remember that all people present at the meeting, including government representative, did not raise any objection to this principle.

MR RONALD ARCULLI:As usual, he reversed what he said, unless I am hearing things or my Cantonese is not as good as I think it is. When he was referring to there being no dissent...... I would not give way.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHENG Kai-nam, under the Rules of Procedure, if you are seeking elucidation, you must wait until the Member concerned has finished speaking unless he is willing to give way. But it would be different if you are raising a point of order.

MR CHENG KAI-NAM(in Cantonese): It is a point of order.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Please speak.

MR CHENG KAI-NAM(in Cantonese): Since all meetings are recorded in writing, he cannot arbitrarily say that I have altered the record.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): This is an elucidation rather than a point of order. If you want to elucidate, you should wait until Mr Ronald ARCULLI has finished speaking.

MR RONALD ARCULLI:When the Honourable Member was referring to there being no dissent, he was talking about DAB's present amendments. Subsequent to that, he mentioned that there was discussion on the proposal that the Government should have firstly sorted out where to put the different sectors, whether it is the first, second, third, the different groups, and then allocate numbers. Even if that were to be done, there is still no explanation as to why arbitrarily Labour should get seats double the other sectors' within the third sector. There is no proposal to put an amendment that the remaining four each have 50 representatives. And the only explanation that they can come up with, which they say is reason, is logic, is that Labour has three seats.

Well, do not use arguments like "we can split Labour into three sectors: Labour First, Labour Second, Labour Third." If you think you can, do it, justify it. The more I hear of the reasons, or so-called reasons advanced tonight, the more disappointed I am, and I think I reiterate what I say, if this amendment goes through the Liberal Party ─ it is not a threat, it is simply our position that we want fair and open elections ─ if this goes through we will vote against the Bill at Third Reading.

Thank you.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHENG Kai-nam, you can make you elucidation now.

MR CHENG KAI-NAM(in Cantonese): Just now, Mr Ronald ARCULLI asked us to explain how the labour subsector can be subdivided into three groups. As far as I am aware, this should be the first time that the idea of subdividing the labour subsector has ever been mentioned unless it was raised during those Bills Committee meetings from which I was absent. Therefore, it is impossible for me to have mentioned this idea in my previous remarks.

As for the reasons why we consider that the labour sector should be allocated more seats, since Mr CHAN Kam-lam has already offered an explanation, I do not wish to repeat the points here.

As I had already made the clarification I wanted to make when the Chairman ruled that I was not supposed to speak, I will not repeat my point now either.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members, I understand that some Members are still waiting to speak. It is 3.35 am in the morning now. Everyone is somewhat tired. It is therefore not at all surprising that some might have misunderstood other Members' points. Mrs Selina CHOW.

MRS SELINA CHOW(in Cantonese): Having listened to the speeches of the Members belonging to the DAB, I am somewhat puzzled. That may be because their logic is different from mine. I dare not say that their logic is definitely wrong, but the more I listen to them, the more I am baffled.

The DAB says that culture, performing arts, sports and so on should belong to the second sector because the third sector is for social services and they do not come under the category of social services. However, the DAB has forgotten that they have actually expanded the scope of the social service sector to cover almost everything. Members may still recall what I have said. I said that the list of those organizations which submitted the joint petition included the Hong Kong Badminton Association, Hong Kong Football Association and all kinds of different sports associations. So, we can see that when the DAB wants to expand the social service sector, they would bring in sports associations. But, when they now want to include sports associations in the professional sector, they say that they do not belong to the social service sector. It seems that they think they can do whatever they like to suit their purpose.

Earlier I heard Mr TSANG Yok-sing say that we criticized the DAB for this and that; in other words, he was implying that we had "wrongly accused" the DAB. I think that on two matters, facts speak louder than words. First, the DAB is undemocratic. Earlier, the two Members who have considerable representativeness in culture, arts and sports, Mr MA Fung-kwok and Mr Timothy FOK, have already made it clear to Members that the four fields all oppose to the present act of the DAB, and they do not think that they should belong to the professional sector. I believe that the general public would not consider them professionals either. Therefore, they should not put be in the second sector. The DAB has taken no heed of this view. It is undemocratic. Moreover, the DAB is the only political party in this Council which wants to increase the number of labour representatives on the Election Committee and in this respect, it is even more active than the Federation of Trade Unions. Remember, Honourable Members: the labour party in this Council is in fact the DAB!

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr TSANG Yok-sing.

MR TSANG YOK-SING(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, as regards the list of organizations mentioned by the Member who has just spoken, we have already explained very clearly in the debate that we do not advocate the inclusion of all these organizations in the social welfare sector. Let me clarify that this list has not been compiled by the DAB. Let me also say that it is wrong for the Member who has just spoken to criticize the DAB for being even more active than the Federation of Trade Unions. We did hear Mr Timothy FOK and Mr MA Fung-kwok say that they do not want to be listed in the second sector, but I have definitely not heard Mr MA Fung-kwok say that the people in the performing arts field are not professionals. I think Mr MA Fung-kwok might as well clarify this point.

The rationale behind our argument throughout the whole debate is actually very straightforward. First, we think that it is more appropriate to put sports, culture, performing arts and publication in the Second Sector than to put it in the third sector of the Election Committee. Second, we should appropriately increase the number of labour representatives on the Election Committee. For the purpose of successfully achieving these two ends all at the same time, the Mr CHAN Kam-lam's proposed amendment, we believe, does represent a more satisfactory approach. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mrs Selina CHOW.

MRS SELINA CHOW(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, although the Honourable TSANG Yok-sing did not mention my name, he did refer twice to "the Member who has just spoken", and that was me. I hope that he would refrain from being too tactful. If he wants to refer to me, just do so directly.

I would like to clarify one point. He said just now that the organizations on the list all belong to the social service sector, and that nothing but community services is their only function. But, the point is that of all those organizations which are included in the joint petition list, with the exception of sports societies, many are indeed social and recreational clubs. I just want to point out that the DAB can sometimes be very lose with definitions, but at other times, it can be very strict, depending on how it wants to suit the so-called logic and reasoning of its arguments.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr MA Fung-Kwok.

MR MA FUNG-KWOK(in Cantonese): Thank you, Madam Chairman, let me make a very simple clarification. Those engaged in the performing arts field who have been fighting for the setting up of their own functional constituency have always regarded themselves as professionals. We, in particular those working in the film-making industry, have always considered ourselves to be highly professional, and so have those in the culture field. The question remains that we interpret professions differently from the Government, and the standards which we apply to define professions are thus different from those used by the Government in setting up and delineating functional constituencies. But this is simply a difference in interpretation, and certainly does not mean that we are not professionals.

The performing arts field is proud that people in the field have been able to serve the community through their work and efforts, and we do really think that no matter which sector we are in, the social service sector or the professional sector, our contribution will remain essentially the same. The current question is that the third sector is divided into four subsectors. Based on the computation formulae applied to professions and other sectors, there should be 80 seats for us because each constituency is entitled to 80 seats. But owing to the shortage of seats, the Government has allocated only 40 seats to this particular subsector of ours which comprises four occupation groups. Out of our recognition of this objective constraint, we are willing to make do with the reality.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHENG Kai-nam.

MR CHENG KAI-NAM(in Cantonese): I would like to give a very brief reply only. I do not want to quibble over the details of the problem any more. For the list of subsectors, we voiced our opinions at the first meeting of the Bills Committee already. We have never considered the idea of grouping performing arts under the social service sector. This was proposed by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Michael SUEN, at a meeting of the Bills Committee, and his proposal was met with roars of laughter from Honourable colleagues who were present at that time. I think we do not have to quarrel about this again.

When the Bill was first publicized, we did not hear any strong and immediate reactions from our friends in the performing arts field. When the Bill was examined at the first meeting of the Bills Committee, we simply had the gut feeling that this particular subsector should be placed under the second sector, not the third sector. Of course, we knew that once this subsector was grouped under the second sector, the number of seats allocated to each of its subsectors would inevitably become smaller. Since those persons engaged in performing arts are comparatively less well-organized, it is only natural that they wanted more time for analysis and discussions after learning of our proposal. In the end, they decided not to accept our proposal. I think that the essence of democracy is that we should be willing to accept the fact that others may not take our suggestions. We do not want to put labels on others, and we have not said what should follow what opinions. We have simply made our recommendations according to our principles. Members are free to make their own choices, and we are willing to accept the results. As I have just said, the performing arts field are actually faced with a choice between more seats and self-recognition as professionals. In the end, they choose to have more seats. On this, I have no comment.

Thank you, Madam Chairman.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr IP Kwok-him.

MR IP KWOK-HIM(in Cantonese): Thank you, Madam Chairman. We do not want to rule out the efforts and contribution made by the performing arts and culture fields in the work of serving our society. But we are also aware of the professionalism of these fields. That is why the DAB wants to consider the idea of removing the sports, performing arts, culture and publication subsector from the third sector and group it under the second sector of professionals. Of course, we are aware that there will be seats to be filled once this subsector is transferred from the third sector to the second. That is precisely why we have prepared this amendment. The Liberal Party is against the proposal of allocating the seats to the labour sector. I can appreciate their standpoint.

Thank you, Madam Chairman.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I am aware that some other Members also wish to speak. I will give you chances to speak, but please be brief. Mr Ronald ARCULLI.

MR RONALD ARCULLI(in Cantonese): Thank you, Madam Chairman.

So far, our colleagues from the DAB have not explained why they will propose to take away 20 votes from the 40 votes assigned to the sports sector if the amendment under consideration is not carried. As far as I can remember, there seems to be another amendment.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): That amendment no longer exists and this is the only amendment.

MR RONALD ARCULLI(in Cantonese): But, why did they have such an idea in the first place? Although the said amendment no longer exists, why did they have such an idea? Why is that they have not proposed to allocate the seats to all the sectors? (Laughter).

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr NGAI Shiu-kit.

MR NGAI SHIU-KIT(in Cantonese): Normally, debates would make the truth more apparent. But, in our case now, debates have made the truth more obscure, for we are no longer conducting any rational discussions on the issue in question. Instead, we have simply been arguing for the sake of argument, exchanging challenges and defences. Everyone begins by saying, "I will be brief" or "let me make a short response". But, in the end, such a short response runs on for 15 minutes.

It is already 4 am in the morning. I am not saying that I am getting impatient. I just feel that it is not worthwhile. I am personally against all the amendments to be moved by Mr CHAN Kam-lam. Therefore, I think that we should simply join hands to vote against his amendments. What is the point of further arguing against his amendments? Since we have all put our case clearly, there is no need for us to have any further arguments. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHENG Kai-nam.

MR CHENG KAI-NAM(In Cantonese): I totally agree with Mr NGAI Shiu-kit that we should not argue any further. We had better let Members cast their votes now.

CHAIRMAN(In Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(In Cantonese): Madam Chairman, the Administration is against Mr CHAN Kam-lam's amendment to the second and third sectors of the Election Committee. Mr CHAN Kam-lam proposes to transfer the 40-seat sports, performing arts, culture and publication subsector from the third sector to the second, and to allocate the seats vacated to the labour subsector. We are against this amendment because the second sector of the Election Committee is a professional sector and should only comprise professionals. Under the existing definition of the professional sector, this sector should be made up of professionals with well-established and recognized qualifications (including statutory qualifications). It is obvious that the sports, performing arts, culture and publication subsector cannot meet these requirements, and therefore, cannot be grouped under the professional sector. However, the amendment by Mr CHAN Kam-lam in essence admits that this subsector can meet these requirements. This is against the principle which is generally used to define the professional sector and is not in accordance with the principles adopted in delineating the electorate of the sports, performing arts, culture and publishing subsector. Therefore, we are of the opinion that this subsector should remain in the third sector as proposed by the Bill. For the above reasons, the Administration opposes the amendment by Mr CHAN Kam-lam and would like to call upon Members to vote against this proposal.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHAN Kam-lam.

MR CHAN KAM -LAM(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, as I pointed out during the Second Reading, the electoral arrangements for the Election Committee and the functional constituencies are plagued with problems. For the allocation of seats, the Administration has adopted a relatively simple method of equal allocation. This approach is in itself erroneous because it does not take account of the representativeness of each functional constituency in society, nor does it take account of the original proportion of representation in the functional constituencies. The problem now under discussion is very much the result of such fallacies.

Quite a lot of Members, when they look at the amendments moved by their colleagues, like to use terms such "gerrymandering" and "vote rigging " to obscure the facts or the problem of fairness. These types of verbal attacks and comments are very unfair.

Members of the industrial and commercial sectors, for example, are very nervous about any increase, however slight, in the number of seats for the labor sector. We do not intend to bring in excessive representation for the labour sector in this Council; our only hope is to achieve a more reasonable and even distribution of representation. As we all notice, there are already 200 seats for indsutries and commerce in the first sector. That being case, even if the number of seats for the labour sector is increased to 80 as I have proposed, there is still a great difference between these two sectors in terms of seat allocation.

Mrs Selina CHOW has repeatedly referred to a joint peition, as if the list of organizations submitting this petition is the list of organizations which the DAB would like to include in the social welfare subsector. Her repreated references to such a list are altogether misleading. As I pointed out during the Second Reading debate, the organizations included in such a list, or such a joint peition list, may not necessarily be eligible to become electors. I hope Members will not mix things up again when they are discussing these issues, lest they may stray farther and farther away from the core issue.

Madam President, it is most regrettable that the Administration has not taken the suggestions of Members into consideration, thus forcing me to move this amendment. Although both Mr MA Fung-kwok and Mr Timothy FOK are opposed to this amendment, I still respect their opinions and hope that they will arrive at their own voting decisions later on.

Thank you.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by Mr CHAN Kam-lam be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The Committee will now proceed to a division. The division bell will ring for one minute.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members, the question now put is on Mr CHAN Kam-lam's amendment. Will Members please proceed to vote.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): If there are no queries, the result will be now displayed.

Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr TSANG Yok-sing, Mr CHENG Kai-nam, Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr LAU Kong-wah, Mr CHENG Yiu-tong and Mr NGAN Kam-chuen voted for the amendment.

Mr James TIEN, Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Dr Raymond HO, Mr NG Leung-sing, Mr NG Ching-fai, Mr Eric LI, Mr Allen LEE, Mrs Elsie TU, Mrs Selina CHOW, Mrs Peggy LAM, Mr Henry WU, Mr NGAI Shiu-kit, Mr Henry TANG, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr MA Fung-kwok, Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin, Mr LEONG Che-hung, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr MOK Ying-fan, Mr CHAN Choi-hi, Mr Frederick FUNG, Mr Andrew WONG, Mr Howard YOUNG, Dr Charles YEUNG, Mr Bruce LEE, Mrs Miriam LAU, Mr Ambrose LAU, Mr CHOY Kan-pui, Mr TANG Siu-tong, Mr Timothy FOK, Mr KAN Fook-yee, Mr LO Suk-ching, Dr LAW Cheung-kwok, Mr TAM Yiu-chung and Miss CHOY So-yuk voted against the amendment.

Mr YUEN Mo abstained.

THE CHAIRMAN announced that there were 11 Members in favour of the amendment, 36 against and one abstaining. She therefore declared that the amendment was negatived.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr Bruce LIU and Mr Andrew WONG have separately given notices to move amendments to table 4.

I propose to hold a joint debate on all the amendments moved by the Members.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The Committee will now hold a joint debate. I will first call upon Mr CHAN Kam-lam to move his amendment. Mr CHAN Kam-lam.

MR CHAN KAM-LAM(in Cantonese): Madam President, I move that table 4 be amended as set out in the paper circulated to Members.

This amendment seeks to combine the two District Boards subsectors under item 5 and 6 of table 4. So far, no distinction has been made between New Territories district boards and urban district boards in respect of the services provided by the 18 District Boards to the public of Hong Kong. We therefore feel that it is not necessary to divide the District Boards into two subsectors in table 4 for the Election Committee. I hope that Members would support this amendment.

Thank you.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now call upon Mr Bruce LIU to speak on Mr CHAN Kam-lam's amendment and his own amendment. After Mr Bruce LIU has spoken, I will call upon Mr Andrew WONG to speak on the amendments. However, no amendment by either Mr Bruce LIU or Mr Andrew WONG is to be moved at this stage. Mr Bruce LIU.

MR BRUCE LIU(in Cantonese): Madam President, District Boards (DBs) constitute an integral part in the district administration of Hong Kong. Under the Bill submitted by the Administration, DBs are allocated a total of 42 seats: 21 seats for urban DBs and 21 seats for New Territories DBs. My amendment seeks to allocate these 42 seats among all the 18 DBs on the basis of their membership sizes; DBs with more than 30 members are to be allocated three seats each, while those with fewer than 30 members are to be allocated two seats each.

My proposed allocation arrangement is based on two considerations. First, this arrangement can ensure that each district board is able to select its representatives on its own, with the effect that the 42 district board representatives on the Election Committee can truly and evenly represent all the 18 DBs. Furthermore, unlike the arrangement under which a centralized election is conducted among members of all the 18 DBs, my proposed arrangement can ensure that no one single district board can get an unproportionally large share, or even a majority, while others fail to have any representatives at all. My proposed arrangement involves some human control, and can thus make sure that each district board will be able to have its representatives.

Second, we have to consider whether my proposed arrangement will degenerate into a mechanical and mere "slicing of the cake", thus fostering the undesirable trend of "regionalism" among the DBs. My view is that since the existing 18 DBs are demarcated by districts, there should not be any possibility of "regionalism". In fact, before 1 July 1997, the members of a district board were allowed to elect from among themselves a representative to sit on the Urban Council or the Regional Urban Council, and this was really a way of returning members to the two Municipal Councils by indirect elections. Although the electoral system for the Election Committee now under discussion is somewhat different, it still carries an element of indirect election. The previous arrangement of the Administration was to allow each district board to have one indirectly elected seat. I believe that no one will say that this has anything to do with "regionalism" because the Administration was simply trying to ensure equal representation among all DBs by allowing them to indirectly elect nine Urban Council Members of the urban area.

I am just offering a choice for the consideration of Members. As to whether it is more favourable to allocate the seats equally or to conduct a centralized election, I am of the opinion that my proposed arrangement is more favourable. I hope that Members will support my motion.

Thank you.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Andrew WONG.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, my original purpose in proposing this amendment is to reform the functional constituency elections, and through this reform, I hope to bar Members of the two Municipal Councils from having their own constituencies, thus preventing them from constituting a part of the Election Committee. But this amendment can also stand alone as a separate proposal in its own right. Let me explain why. The subsector mentioned under item 5 of the fourth sector in table 4 is specified as the "Provisional District Boards for the Districts in the Urban Council Area". But, this is not a very good specification, because we should instead refer to all regional organizations and district organizations in general. This means to say that when we refer to the Urban Council Area, there is no reason to exclude the Urban Council itself, which is also a regional organization. That is why I propose to change it to read "District Organizations for Districts in the Urban Council Area" because this will include not just the DBs, but also the Urban Council itself. The same principle should apply to the New Territories, where the Regional Council or the Provisional Regional Council should also be regarded as a regional organization in the Regional Council Area. I have left the number of seats allocated to these two subsectors intact because it is only reasonable to do so. Besides, the Basic Law also states that district organizations should refer to both the Urban Council and DBs. So, it will be very unreasonable if we deprive the Urban Council of its right to vote. This is the reason why I have made this proposal. Members can support it if they like. But, I will not insist if they do not because I have already explained that this amendment will make sense only in the case when my proposal on reforming the functional constituencies is passed; otherwise, it will only lead to the situation under which neither of the two Municipal Councils can elect any Legislative Members. When this happens, it will be wrong and misleading to refer to the two Municipal Councils as functional constituencies. Let me reiterate that I will not hold on to this proposal. If Members like, they can support it; otherwise, they do not have to do so.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, do you wish to speak?

(The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs indicated that he did not wish to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHAN Kam-lam, do you wish to reply?

(Mr CHAN Kam-lam indicated that he did not wish to reply)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Before I put Mr CHAN Kam-lam's amendment to Committee for a vote, I would remind Members once again that if Mr CHAN Kam-lam's amendment is agreed, that will by implication mean that the amendments proposed by the other two Members are not approved. If Mr CHAN Kam-lam's amendment is negatived, I will call upon Mr Bruce LIU to move his amendment. If Mr Bruce LIU's amendment is passed, that will by implication mean that Mr WONG's amendment is not approved.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by Mr CHAN Kam-lam be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The Committee will now proceed to a division. The division bell will ring for one minute.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members, the question now put is: That the amendment moved by Mr CHAN Kam-lam be approved. Will Members please proceed to vote?

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): If there are no queries, the result will now be displayed.

Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr TSANG Yok-sing, Mr CHENG Kai-nam, Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr LAU Kong-wah, Mr CHENG Yiu-tong and Mr NGAN Kam-chuen voted for the amendment.

Mr WONG Siu-yee, Mr James TIEN, Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Dr Raymond HO, Mr NG Leung-sing, Mr Eric LI, Mr Allen LEE, Mrs Elsie TU, Mrs Selina CHOW, Mrs Peggy LAM, Mr Henry WU, Mr NGAI Shiu-kit, Mr Henry TANG, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Dr TSO WONG Man-yin, Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr MOK Ying-fan, Mr CHAN Choi-hi, Mr Frederick FUNG, Mr Andrew WONG, Mr Howard YOUNG, Dr Charles YEUNG, Mr Bruce LIU, Mrs Miriam LAU, Mr Ambrose LAU, Mr CHOY Kan-pui, Dr TANG Siu-tong, Mr Timothy FOK, Mr LO Suk-ching, Dr LAW Cheung-kwok, Mr TAM Yiu-chung and Miss CHOY So-yuk voted against the amendment.

Mr YUEN Mo, Mr MA Fung-kwok and Mr KAN Fook-yee abstained.

THE CHAIRMAN announced that there were 10 Members in favour of the amendment, 34 against and three abstaining. She therefore declared that the amendment was negatived.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr CHAN Kam-lam, as your amendment to table 4 has been negatived, you may not move amendments to section 1(6) and (7), the addition of section 1(8A) to part 1 of schedule 2 and amendments to section 8(4) and (9) of part 3 of schedule 2, as it is inconsistent with the decision already taken.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Bruce LIU.

MR BRUCE LIU(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that table 4 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by Mr Bruce LIU be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(Members responded)

Mr Bruce LIU rose to claim a division.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The Committee will now proceed to a division. The division bell will ring for one minute.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members, the question now put is on the amendment moved by Mr Bruce LIU. Please proceed to vote.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The result will now be displayed.

Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mrs Peggy LAM, Mr MA Fung-kwok, Mr MOK Ying-fan, Mr Frederick FUNG, Mr Bruce LIU, Mr LO Suk-ching and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok voted for the amendment.

Mr WONG Siu-yee, Mr James TIEN, Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Dr Raymond HO, Mr NG LEUNG-sing, Mr Eric LI, Mr Allen LEE, Mrs Elsie TU, Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Henry WU, Mr NGAI Shiu-kit, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Dr TSO WONG Man-yin, Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr CHAN Wing-CHAN, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr TSANG Yok-sing, Mr CHENG Kai-nam, Mr Andrew WONG, Mr Howard YOUNG, Dr Charles YEUNG, Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr LAU Kong-wah, Mrs Miriam LAU, Mr Ambrose LAU, Mr CHOY Kan-pui, Mr CHENG Yiu-tong, Dr TANG Siu-tong, Mr Timothy FOK, Mr KAN Fook-yee, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen, Mr TAM Yiu-chung and Miss CHOY So-yuk voted against the amendment.

Mr Henry TANG, Mr YUEN Mo and Mr CHAN Choi-hi abstained.

THE CHAIRMAN announced that there were eight members in favour of the amendment, 36 against and three abstaining. She therefore declared that the amendment was negatived.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Bruce LIU, as your amendment has been negatived, you may not move the related amendments. Mr Andrew WONG.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that table 4 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members. The main purpose of this amendment is to add the two Municipal Councils to item 5 and item 6 so as to achieve better logic.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by Mr Andrew WONG be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no".

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in cantonese): I think the "noes" have it.

Mr Andrew WONG rose to claim a division.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The Committee will now proceed to a division. The division bell will ring for one minute.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members, the question now put is on the amendment of Mr Andrew WONG. Will Members please proceed to vote?

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The result will now be displayed.

Dr Raymond HO, Mr Eric LI, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mr MA Fung-kwok, Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mr MOK Ying-fan, Mr CHAN Choi-hi, Mr Frederick FUNG, Mr Andrew WONG, Mr Bruce LIU and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok voted for the amendment.

Mr WONG Siu-yee, Mr James TIEN, Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Mr Allen LEE, Mrs Selina CHOW, Mrs Peggy LAM, Mr Henry WU, Mr NGAI Shiu-kit, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Dr TSO WONG Man-yin, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr TSANG Yok-sing, Mr CHENG Kai-nam, Mr Howard YOUNG, Dr Charles YEUNG, Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr LAU Kong-wah, Mrs Miriam LAU, Mr Ambrose LAU, Mr CHOY Kan-pui, Mr CHENG Yiu-tong, Dr TANG Siu-tong, Mr Timothy FOK, Mr KAN Fook-yee, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen, Mr LO Suk-ching, Mr TAM Yiu-chung and Miss CHOY So-yuk voted against the amendment.

Mr NG Leung-sing, Mrs Elsie TU, Mr Henry TANG and Mr YUEN Mo abstained.

THE CHAIRMAN announced that there were 11 Members in favour of the amendment, 32 against and four abstaining. She therefore declared that the amendment was negatived.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, you may move amendments to section 1(6) and (7) and the addition of section 1(8A) to part 1 of schedule 2.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that section 1(6) and (7) be amended and new section 1(8A) be added to part 1 of schedule 2 as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that sections 2(2), 3(7), 5 and 6 in part 2 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that section 5(b), (c) and (e) in part 2 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Andrew WONG.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I do not quite understand those arrangements.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Andrew WONG, clause 37 has been negatived.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): Clause 29 has been negatived. Has clause 37 also been negatived?

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Yes.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): Then, I cannot move the amendment.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I will leave the decision to you. If you wish to withdraw the amendment, you are free to do so.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I do not agree with you. I think the Committee has already made a decision. Of course, you may say that the case now is different, because schedule 2 is not about the general eligibility requirements of electors. Even if the Chairman rules that I may still move the amendment, I still do not intend to do so.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I rule that you may move the amendment, but it is fine if you do not wish to do so.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): Yes, I do not wish to move the amendment.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that section 14(c) in part 3 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, you should move amendments to section 5(b),(c) and (e) in part 2 of schedule 2.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I have already moved those amendments.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members, I would like to adjourn the Council for two minutes to discuss a point of order.

4.22 am

Meeting suspended.

4.44 am

Council then resumed.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members, thank you for your indulgence. Now we shall return to page 93 of the script. Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that new section 1(7A) and 1(7B) be added to part 1 of schedule 2, and that section 4(2) in part 2 of schedule 2, and section 13(2) in part 3 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that section 14(c) in part 3 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Andrew WONG, we shall now deal with section 14(c) in part 3 of schedule 2. You have given notice to move amendment to this section. As a matter of procedure, I should call upon to move the amendment, but as your amendment to clause 37(1) has already been negatived, you may as well want to withdraw your amendment. Mr Andrew WONG.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): I have just indicated that I am not going to move this amendment.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): You were talking about another amendment, not this one.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): I am not going to move any amendments which are related to clause 37 because the Committee has already made a decision. If I move any further amendments and Members do pass them somehow accidentally, then it would cause unnecessary troubles.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): That means you will withdraw all amendments related to clause 37(1).

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

THE SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that clause 14(c) in part 3 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move the amendments to item 16 of table 1, sections 7, 8(4), 8(9), 8(13), 9(2), 9(4), 9(5), 9(6), 15(1), 16, 18(1), 18(2), 18(4), 20(2), 20(3), 22(1), 22(2), 22(3), 24, 26, 29(1), 30(2), 30(3), the addition of section 30(4), the amendment to section 32(4) in part 3 of schedule 2 and the amendment to sections 1(2), 1(3) and 1(4) and the addition of section 1(3A) of schedule 3 as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendments

Schedule 2 ( see Annex III)

Schedule 3 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendments moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved?

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now call upon the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs to move his amendment to section 14 in part 3 of schedule 2.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that section 14(e) in part 3 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment to section 14(e) in part 3 of schedule 2 moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Andrew WONG, you have given notice to amend section 23(1)(b), (c) and (d) in part 3 of schedule 2, but as your amendment to clause 29(1) has already been negatived by the Committee, do you still wish to move the amendment?

MR ANDREW WONG( in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, my amendment to clauses 23(1) (b), (c) and (d) is entirely the same as my amendment to clause 29. Since the previous amendment has already been negatived, it will be pointless for me to move the amendment now in question. I hope the Chairman will rule that I should not move any more amendments which are related to disqualification of voters and candidates. As clauses 29 and 37 have already been negatived, it will be pointless to move these amendments. I do not want to cause any confusion.

Thank you, Madam Chairman.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Andrew WONG, according to the procedures, I do not have the power to rule that you should not move these amendments. However, I understand that you think you should not move the amendments because for you, this has already become meaningless. I accept your decision and thank you for saving us some time. I now call upon the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs to move his amendment.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that section 23(1) in part 3 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendments moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMANm(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr MA Fung-kwok.

MR MA FUNG-KWOK(in Cantonese): Thank you, Madam Chairman. I move the amendment to section 1(7)(b) and the addition of section 1(10) in part 1 of schedule 2, and the amendment to section 7(1) and the addition of sections 7(2) and 8(1A) in part 3 of schedule 2 as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Madam Chairman, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government has followed the arrangements of the functional constituencies in its planning for the election of the Election Committee. Four different occupational groups, namely, sports, performing arts, culture and publication are combined into one subsector and a total of 40 seats are allocated to this subsector. The Basic Law stipulates that 10 Legislative Council Members shall be returned by a Election Committee to be made up of 800 members selected from different sectors and professions. It is hoped that in this way the Election Committee can fully represent the views and wishes of all the people of Hong Kong. In order to reflect the spirit of equal participation, people from all sectors of society should have the opportunity to participate in the election of the Election Committee.

Every Hong Kong citizen will come into contact with the sports, performing arts, cultural and publication professions in their everyday lives. These four fields have all played a different but important role in society. In fact, many of the distinguished and famous members of society are now engaged in different activities of these four fields. They are very well known, popular and highly respected, and have also made great contribution in building up Hong Kong and enriching the spiritual lives of the public.

As the election of the Election Committee should place great emphasis on wide participation and representativeness, the representatives of different sectors should have the opportunity to participate in the election, and provisions should be made in the electoral law for their participation. In the grouping of the various subsectors, there are cases where a subsector has to be made up of more than one occupational groups. But the situation is particularly complicated in respect of the sports, performing arts, culture and publication subsector. In other subsectors facing a similar problem, the occupational groups involved are usually two in number, and they are closely related. Therefore, they can more or less understand each other and have some knowledge of all the occupational groups, and communication is therefore possible. That is why these representatives will generally be able to reflect the views of the whole subsector more easily. However, in comparison with other composite subsectors, the sports, performing arts, culture and publication subsector will face a greater problem of communication as far as the election of representatives is concerned. Actually, the decision on grouping sports, performing arts, culture and publication under one subsector was made only a few months ago.

Sports, performing arts, culture and publication are in fact four separate fields. There may be certain relations between these individual fields, but each field has its own characteristics and peculiar operation. Even for performing arts and culture, which are generally considered to be more related in nature, their basic principles and practical operations are still obviously very different. Performing arts is a strongly commercial industry, while the culture field emphasizes artistic creation and pursuit. Though both fields are concerned about the freedom of creation, freedom of expression and the respect for and protection of intellectual property, performing arts is more concerned about professional ecology, market competition, market disciplines as well as the opening up of overseas markets and so on. On the other hand, the culture field is more concerned about how to increase, use and allocate the resources of society. Other occupational groups in this subsector have even fewer characteristics in common.

As there are great discrepancies in the number of eligible voters in the fields of sports, performing arts, culture and publication (according to the Administration's estimate, the number of votes for the group with the greatest number of voters is 1 000, while the group with the smallest number of voters has only 400 votes. This means that the group with the greatest number of votes comprises 39% of the total number of votes while the group with the smallest number of votes got only 16%), partiality and imbalances will occur in the course of voting representatives. In the most extreme case, some of the occupational groups may even fail to elect their representatives. In order to ensure that these four occupational groups with equally important functions and roles can voice their opinions and adequately reflect the problems which they are facing, and in order to ensure their proper place in the Election Committee which places great emphasis on wide participation, I propose that the number of members for this subsector should be equally allocated among the four fields concerned. This arrangement will have a positive effect on enhancing the representativeness and legitimacy of the election of the Election Committee and the election of the first term of the Legislative Council. This proposed amendment is also in line with the method for the election of the first Legislative Council. It also reflects the principles of democracy, fairness, openness and balance. In view of the above reasons, I hope that Members will support my amendment. Thank you, Madam Chairman.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak? Mr Timothy FOK.

MR TIMOTHY FOK(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, applying the principle of equal allocation to the groups constituting the subsector of sports, performing arts, culture and publication regardless of the sizes of their respective electorate will, I am afraid, fail to effectively reflect the representativeness of each of these four groups. For this reason, I will vote against Mr MA Fung-kwok's amendment, but will support the original provisions of the Bill put forward by the Administration. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Frederick FUNG.

MR FREDERICK FUNG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, when Bruce LIU of the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood was discussing the method for allocating the seats of the Election Committee, he expressed the hope that such seats could be allocated equally among all district boards. The principle underlying the amendment now moved by Mr MA Fung-kwok is identical to that underlying our proposal on the allocation of Election Committee seats to district boards. Performing arts, sports, culture and publication are basically four completely different subsectors. Therefore even if they have to be combined into one subsector, they should be regarded as four different "households", and each of them should thus have an equal share. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Howard YOUNG.

MR HOWARD YOUNG(in Cantonese): The Liberal Party appreciates the rationale and intention behind the amendment moved by Mr MA Fung-kwok, and, in fact, we did also ask the Administration during the consultation period whether it would consider the possibility of further breaking down some of the subsectors. That said, we must still point out that although Mr MA Fung-kwok's amendment is indeed justified and logical to a certain extent, his justification and logic can at best apply to one subsector only, and cannot apply to the rest of the subsectors covered in the Bill. The problem of allocation is in fact found in many other subsectors as well, such as the architectural, surveying and planning subsector, the real estate and construction subsector and the medical subsector of medical practitioners and dentists. Should we apply the principle of equal allocation, or the principle of proportional allocation, within each of these subsectors? I am afraid that it will not be possible for us to work out an answer in good time for the first Legislative Council, though we do not rule out the possibility that someone may come up with some better ideas in the future. We cannot support the amendment this time.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Andrew WONG.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I wish to respond briefly to Mr Howard YOUNG's remarks. We are now talking about schedule 2, which is on the constitution of the Election Committee, not the elections of the functional constituencies. If the people of the sports, culture and performing arts fields agree to the principle of equal allocation, I think we should not stop them. If the principle of equal allocation is not applied, then it is inevitable that there will be more members for some groups and fewer for the others. If they find it acceptable to divide 40 seats among the four groups, with 10 members for each group, why should we stand in their way? I hope that Members will consider this point. Mr Howard YOUNG's opinion may be exaggerated. If he is talking about the election of the functional constituencies, then what he said may be more relevant, but we are now talking about the constitution of the Election Committee.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr Howard YOUNG.

MR HOWARD YOUNG(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I know very well that we are discussing the constitution of the Election Committee. I have just given a few examples to illustrate my point. For example, the medical subsector is made up of medical practitioners and dentists and it will have 20 members on the Election Committee. So, if the principle of equal allocation is to be applied, there should be 10 members for each group in this subsector. In fact, the principle involved is always the same, because with the exception of the Urban Council and Regional Council, all other functional constituencies are represented as various subsectors on the Election Committee, and the same principle will thus apply. However, I feel that we should not apply the principle of equal allocation to just one subsector and ignore the rest, the reason being that other subsectors may make similar requests.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, do you wish to speak?

(The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs indicated that he did not wish to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr MA Fung-kwok, do you wish to respond?

MR MA FUNG-KWOK(in Cantonese): Mr Timothy FOK has just said that it would be more appropriate to allocate seats to these four groups according to their respective electorate sizes, but I beg to differ, albeit only slightly.

In fact, the existing sizes of electorate are basically fixed on the basis of government proposals, but different sectors actually have different views on the method of allocation. However, I do not intend to dwell on this in detail because this will not help us make a decision.

I hope Members will support the amendment on allowing 10 representatives from each of the four subsectors to sit on the Election Committee because I think this is a more reasonable arrangement. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by Mr MA Fung-kwok be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"'?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(Members responded)

Mr MA Fung-kwok rose to claim a division.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Mr MA Fung-kwok has claimed a division. The division bell will ring for one minute.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The question now put is on Mr MA Fung-kwok's amendment. Will Members please proceed to vote.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): If there are no queries, the result will now be displayed.

Mr NG Ching-fai, Mr Eric LI, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mrs Elsie TU, Mr Henry WU, Mr NGAI Shiu-kit, Mr MA Fung-kwok, Mr MOK Ying-fan, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr TSANG Yok-sing, Mr CHENG Kai-nam, Mr Frederick FUNG, Mr Andrew WONG, Mr Charles YEUNG, Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr Bruce LIU, Dr LAU Kong-wah, Mr Ambrose LAU, Mr CHENG Yiu-tong, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen, Mr LO Suk-ching, Mr LAW Cheung-kwok and Miss CHOY So-yuk voted for the amendment.

Mr James TIEN, Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Mr Allen LEE, Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Henry TANG, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr YUEN Mo, Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr Howard YOUNG, Mrs Miriam LAU, Mr Timothy FOK, Mr KAN Fook-yee and Mr TAM Yiu-chung voted against the amendment.

Mr HO Chung-tai, Mr NG Leung-sing, Mrs Peggy LAM, Mr HUI Yin-fat and Mr CHAN Choi-hi abstained.

THE CHAIRMAN announced that there were 25 Members in favour of the amendment, 15 against and five abstaining. She therefore declared that the amendment was carried.

CHAIRMAN (in Cantonese): Members, I am sorry that there needs be a delay again because we have to discuss a point of order. The meeting will be suspended for five minutes.

5.07 am

Meeting suspended.

5.12 am

Council then resumed.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that section 5(a) in part 2 of schedule 2 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 2 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Members, this is purely a technical amendment. Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Schedules 2 and 3 as amended.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK (in Cantonese): Clause 3.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that clause 3(1) and (2) be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Clause 3 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clause 3 as amended.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clause 82.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That clause 82 stand part of the Bill.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, since the Rules of Procedure stipulate that any schedule shall be considered after all the clauses and any proposed new clauses of a bill have been disposed of, may I seek your consent to move under Rule 89 of the Rules of Procedure that Rules 58(5) and (7) of the Rules of Procedure be suspended in order that my proposed new clause 9A can be considered ahead of the other clauses of the Bill.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): In order to deal with the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs' request, I order that Council shall now resume.

Council then resumed.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, you have my consent.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam President, I move that Rules 58(5) and (7) of the Rules of Procedure be suspended in order to enable the Committee of the whole Council to consider schedule 4 ahead of the other clauses of the Bill.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now propose the question to you and that is: That Rules 58(5) and (7) of the Rules of Procedure be suspended in order to enable the Committee of the whole Council to consider schedule 4 ahead of the other clauses of the Bill.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you as stated.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "aye" have it.

Council went into Committee.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Schedule 4.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam President, I move that item 1 of part 1 of schedule 4 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 4 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that item 12 of part 2 of schedule 4 be amended as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 4 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move that new part 1A be added to part 1 of schedule 4 as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 4 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move the amendment to section 1(5) and 1(6), the amendment to items 8, 9 and the addition of items 12A, 12B, 12C and 14 in part 2 and the addition of part 3 of schedule 4 as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Schedule 4 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Schedule 4 as amended.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clause 83.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam Chairman, I move the addition of subclauses (1A) and (3) to clause 83 as set out in the paper circularized to Members.

Proposed amendment

Clause 83 (see Annex III)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the amendment moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs be approved.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CLERK(in Cantonese): Clause 83 as amended.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

CHAIRMAN(in Cantonese): Council will now resume.

Third Reading of Bill

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Third Reading of the Bill. Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam President, the

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BILL

has passed through Committee with amendments. I move the Third Reading of the Bill.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now purpose the question to you and that is: That the

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BILL

be read the Third time and do pass.

According to Rule 63 (1) of the Rules of Procedure, the Council shall proceed to a debate on the Third Reading of the Bill, but the debate shall be confined to the question. Mr Eric LI.

MR ERIC LI(in Cantonese): Madam President, let me just give a brief statement on my position.

With the exception of those clauses as amended by Mr CHAN Kam-lam, I do not have any objection to all the other clauses of the Bill, and I am prepared to accept them. My objection to Mr CHAN's amendment is not entirely related to a question of principle; I do not object to the amendment of Mr CHAN Kam-lam in principle. Generally, I will accept the result of voting even if I lose. However, this time I am very worried about what will happen after this "catch-all" or "neither-fish-nor-fowl" subsector has come into being, because even the Administration has admitted that at this stage, it cannot think of any good ways of re-delineation, eligibility vetting and voter registration. That being the case, the amendment passed is indeed very difficult to implement or even not feasible at all. Since I do not subscribe to its underlying principles, nor can I even imagine how it can be implemented, I, as a responsible legislator, do find it extremely difficult to vote in favour of it. That is why I have finally decided to vote against this question. I wish to put my reasons on record.

Thank you, Madam President.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Mr Ronald ARCULLI.

MR RONALD ARCULLI(in Cantonese): Changes to the social welfare functional constituency have been introduced to include voters who are not from the social welfare sector. The Liberal Party is extremely disappointed about such a situation because the Liberal Party feels that this is incorrect in principle. This is wrong.

Secondly, we feel that there may be difficulties in its implementation and a lot of disputes and problems may also arise.

For these reasons, the Liberal Party will abstain from voting.

Thank you, Madam President.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Mr Frederick FUNG.

MR FREDERICK FUNG(in Cantonese): Members from the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood originally wanted to vote against the Second Reading of the Bill, mainly because of its impact on the definition of the social welfare sector. We view that social welfare is in itself a recognized profession, for which the ultimate goal should be "one-person, one-vote" for all registered social workers. This amendment, however, leads to development in the opposite direction, dealing a blow not only to "one-person, one-vote" but also, most importantly, to the professional status of the social workers. As far as I understand it, this is the greatest concern, greatest worry and greatest dissatisfaction felt by the social workers. This is also the main reason which will lead us to vote against the Bill's Third Reading.

I would also like to clarify one more point. In the course of examining the various proposed amendments, we sometimes do have different views on a number of provisions, and sometimes we may even object to some provisions. But, very often we would still vote in favour of the question when it comes to the Third Reading. However, this time, we are not prepared to vote for the question, nor will we abstain from voting. We are going to vote against this because of this important reason.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Mr HUI Yin-fat.

MR HUI YIN-FAT(in Cantonese): The social welfare sector is very dissatisfied with this amendment, and we fail to see how the resultant problems can be resolved. Therefore, on behalf of the social welfare sector, I object to the Bill.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Mr Andrew WONG.

MR ANDREW WONG(in Cantonese): All the related arguments show that functional constituency elections are indeed plagued with many problems. Of course, at this stage, I should not make any more comments and discuss this issue again. However, as regards the specific contents of the Bill, since Mr CHAN Kam-lam's amendment has been passed, I must say that I cannot accept such a Bill. What is more, since Miss CHOY So-yuk's amendment has also been passed, I find it even harder to accept the Bill.

I have already made it very clear that I do not support the existing method of constituting the functional sectors and subsectors. But, since this Council and the Preparatory Committee have decided to maintain the status quo and rule out a comprehensive reform, I would have to say that the Administration's scheme is already the best possible alternative under the circumstances. If alterations are made to this scheme, queries may well arise. I think that the more we discuss this issue, the more complicated it will become. Let us all stop arguing any further. Maybe, this will be better.

Under the circumstances, I do not wish to associate myself with this Bill. Therefore I cannot support the Third Reading of this Bill. At first, I said that I might even consider not to support the Second Reading of this Bill, but subsequently I did not raise any objections, nor did I claim a division. But for the Third Reading, I really feel that I cannot render my support. Therefore, I hope that the President will appreciate my standpoint. I also hope that Honourable colleagues can appreciate my standpoint as well.

PRESIDENTCantonese): Mr LEONG Che-hung.

MR LEONG CHE-HUNG(in Cantonese): Madam President, for the same reason, one which the Administration has explained to us clearly and one which I also share, that is, if changes are introduced to the social welfare functional constituency, there will be problems in implementation, I shall vote against the Bill.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Mr CHAN Kam-lam.

MR CHAN KAM-LAM(in Cantonese): I am disappointed with some of my Honourable colleagues' stances on this issue. If Members wish to vote against the Third Reading of a Bill just because they are unhappy with one or two of the amendments proposed. If there are 10 amendments, and they cannot satisfy all Members, a Bill will eventually come to nothing at the end. In the past, we always criticized the Administration for withdrawing a Bill when Members voted in favour of or against some amendments against its will. Are not some Members behaving in a similar manner? Is this not a kind of bad-loser attitude?

I think that some Members are making a big fuss about the question of the social welfare constituency. But is this the focus of the Legislative Council Bill? I hope that in considering the issue, Members would not place their own interests above the whole Bill. In fact, the Administration has already informed us that time is running short and we shall not have time to submit a new Bill to this Council. It is also impossible to guarantee that each and every one of the provisions in the Bill can satisfy with everyone's requirement.

I hope that Members would reconsider the matter carefully. If this Bill is negatived at the Third Reading, I am not sure what the Administration will do. Of course, I hope that the Administration will not tell us later that it is going to withdraw this Bill because the amendment on the social welfare constituency is passed. I definitely do not want to see this happen.

What is more, during the Third Reading, Honourable colleagues should not repeat the Administration's reasons for objection and base their own objections on them. Since we have all heard about the Administration's reasons for objection in the course of scrutinizing the whole Bill, I think Members should not repeat them.

Thank you, Madam President.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Mrs Sophie LEUNG.

MRS SOPHIE LEUNG(in Cantonese): Madam President, I will accept the amendment relating to the textiles subsector today. This is because the amendment has passed through Second Reading, and I will respect Members' support for 30 seats. The only thing I want to reiterate is my hope that all those have cast their votes would try to get to know this subsector as much as possible; the Secretary for Trade and Industry is also obligated to offer an explanation because the addition is just a unilateral arrangement. As for the difficulties which may arise in the course of implementation, I maintain that the Administration should be responsible for working out the necessary solutions.

Besides, I share the opinions of some colleagues on the social welfare subsector. Since the difficulties are so immense, I shall also vote against the Bill.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.

SECRETARY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS(in Cantonese): Madam President, thank you for allowing me to make a few remarks.

This Council has spent over 18 hours in this Chamber on debating each part of the Bill in detail. On the whole, Members' deliberation has been both careful and detailed. I would like to thank everyone for their co-operation and efforts in providing us with a legal base for the first Legislative Council Election to be held in May next year.

However, in relation to one of the functional constituencies, I have already stated clearly in the debate that if the Bill passes Third Reading, Mr CHAN Kam-lam's amendment will become a legal provision which restricts how we are going to define the electorate of the social welfare functional constituency. I have made it clear that this would cause the Administration a lot of difficulties. Right now, I am still not sure whether we will be able to come up with another plan to define the electorate in any clear manner. Members must understand that once a law has been laid down by the legislature, it will be impossible for the executive to tamper with it by way of executive measures.

Some Members have pointed out that this is the Administration's problem. If Members really adopt such an attitude and pass such a piece of legislation, I will have no alternative but to accept it. However, I cannot tell what will happen in the end. We have to consider this issue carefully back in the office. I can only say that we would try our best to work in accordance with the proposal. If we really cannot implement such a proposal in the future, the Administration would seriously consider the idea of consulting this Council at the earliest possible time so as to identify a solution to this problem.

I know that many Members of this Council have very strong views about this issue. I very much respect their opinions and in fact, I also share their views. However, I also respect the proceedings of the Council. All the problems have been raised and debated before this Council, and motions have been carried by voting. Therefore, if the Bill does pass the Third Reading later on, we still hope that a feasible plan could be worked out, even though the Administration do have reservations.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you and that is: That the

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BILL

be read the Third Time and do pass.

Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(Members responded)

Mr Frederick FUNG rose to claim a division.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Mr Frederick FUNG has claimed a division. The division bell will ring for three minutes.

PRESIDENT:Will Members please proceed to vote.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): If there are no queries, the result will now be displayed

Mrs Sophie LEUNG indicated that she had pressed the wrong button.

MR ERIC LI(in Cantonese): Madam President, although the result has already been displayed, but since the President has not yet announced the result, could we take a verbal record or use another method for taking a record, and change the display indicator on the computer before announcing the result?

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Would everyone please hold on for a second and wait until the computer records are printed. Then Mrs Sophie LEUNG could tell us which way she has intended to vote and I shall amend the computer records accordingly.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Mrs Sophie LEUNG, would you please tell us what your vote is?

MRS SOPHIE LEUNG(in Cantonese): I abstain.

Mr WONG Siu-yee, Dr Raymond HO, Mr NG Ching-fai, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mrs Elsie TU, Mr Henry WU, Mr NGAI Shiu-kit, Mr Henry TANG, Dr Charles YUEN, Mr MA Fung-kwok, Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr TSANG Yok-sing, Mr CHENG Kai-nam, Dr Charles YEUNG, Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung, Mr IP Kwok-him, Mr LAU Kong-wah, Mr Ambrose LAU, Mr CHOY Kan-pui, Mr CHENG Yiu-tong, Mr Timothy FOK, Mr KAN Fook-yee, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen, Mr LO Suk-ching, Mr TAM Tiu-chung and Miss CHOY So-yuk voted for the motion.

Mr Eric LI, Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mr MOK Ying-fan, Mr HUI Yin-fat, Mr CHAN Choi-hi, Mr Frederick FUNG, Mr Andrew WONG, Mr Bruce LIU and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok voted against the motion.

Mr James TIEN, Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Mr NG Leung-sing, Mr Allen LEE, Mrs Selina CHOW, Mrs Peggy LAM, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr Howard YOUNG and Mrs Miriam LAU abstained.

THE PRESIDENT announced that there were 29 Members in favour of the motion, nine against and 11 abstaining. She therefore declared that the motion was carried.

CLERK:LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BILL.

MOTIONS

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Motion made under the Births and Deaths (Registration) Ordinance. Secretary for Security.

BIRTHS AND DEATHS (REGISTRATION) ORDINANCE

SECRETARY FOR SECURITY:Madam President, I move the first motion which has been printed on the Agenda. This motion proposes increases in the fees specified in the Births and Deaths (Registration) Ordinance for the registration of births and deaths and related matters. Notices of this and the following motions were first submitted to this Council for moving at the sitting on 27 August 1997. I subsequently withdrew these notices to better synchronize the timing of the introduction of these motions with that for other related fees revision proposals, which have since been tabled before this Council in the form of subsidiary legislation on 10 September for negative procedures. Moving of the two motions has, therefore, been postponed to today.

A recent review of the fees and charges conducted by the Immigration Department indicates that there are four areas in the services delivered by the Department for which there is under-recovery of costs. These are: Registration of Persons Services where the average shortfall is about 6%; Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages, where the average shortfall is about 13%; Issue of Visas, where the average shortfall is about 14%; and Issue of Non-Passport Travel Documents, where the average shortfall is about 8%.

It is the Government's policy that fees and charges should, in general, be set at levels sufficient to recover the full cost of providing the services to which they relate. Over the past years, we have been seeking to recover the full cost of Immigration Department services by phases. Most of the fees covered in this exercise were last revised in July 1996. For the current revision exercise we propose to revise the fees by 7% to 17% to achieve full cost recovery. Details of all the fees increases have been tabled in this Council on 10 September 1997.

We had originally intended to go through the necessary legislative procedures to implement the latest fees revision in July 1997. Due to the heavy agenda of the Provisional Legislative Council during the period immediately following the transition, the fee revision exercise was slightly postponed. However, we do not propose to further defer this exercise because fees and charges are important sources of revenue, representing about 10% of General Revenue.

We have prepared our annual estimates assuming the additional revenue to be generated by the fees increases. It is thus essential to give effect to these increases in order to avoid shortfall. If the fee revisions for the Immigration Department are not implemented, the annual revenue foregone is estimated to be about $71.3 million. The revision next year could then entail an even larger percentage increase, which would make it less acceptable to the public.

The current and the subsequent motions are concerned with fees for the Registration of Births and Deaths. In order to soften the impact of fee increases, the last revision exercise sought to recover only 89% of the cost of these services. We propose to revise the fees this time by 15%. As the actual increases in dollar terms range from $10 to $90 only, the revision should have little impact on the general public. If approved, the new fees will be implemented on 31 October this year.

Thank you, Madam President.

The Secretary for Security moved the following motion:

    "That with effect from 31 October 1997 the Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance be amended ─

  1. in section 9 (2), by repealing "$120" and substituting "$140";
  2. in section 9 (3), by repealing "$590" and substituting "$680";
  3. in section 13 (2A), by repealing "$120" and substituting "$140";
  4. in section 13 (3), by repealing "$370" and substituting "$425";
  5. in section 22 (1), by repealing "$120" and "$590" and substituting "$140" and "$680" respectively;
  6. in section 22 (2), by repealing "$120" and "$240" and substituting "$140" and "$275" respectively;
  7. in section 23, by repealing "$60" and substituting "$70";
  8. in section 27 (1) (c), by repealing "$370" and substituting "$425"."


PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now propose the question to you and that is: That the motion moved by the Secretary for Security to amend the Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance, as set out on the Agenda, be approved.

Council shall now proceed to a debate. Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you as stated. Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Motion made under the Legitimacy Ordinance. Secretary for Security.

LEGITIMACY ORDINANCE

SECRETARY FOR SECURITY: Madam President, I move the second motion which has been printed on the Agenda. It seeks to increase the fees specified in the Schedule to the Legitimacy Ordinance. I have already explained the background to this motion in my speech moving the previous motion.

The Legitimacy Ordinance provides for the re-registration of the birth of legitimated persons. Fees collected relate to the re-registration of births and the issue of certified copies of entries of the birth of legitimated persons. The fees were last revised to recover only 89% of the cost in July 1996. It is now proposed to achieve full cost recovery by revising the fees from $295 to $340 for re-registration of births and from $120 to $140 for a certified copy of an entry of the birth in the Register of Births.

Thank you, Madam President. The Secretary for Security moved the following motion:

    "That with effect from 31 October 1997 the Schedule to the Legitimacy Ordinance be amended:

  1. in paragraph 5, by repealing "$295" and substituting "$340";
  2. in paragraph 6(1), by repealing "$120" and substituting "$140"."

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now propose the question to you and that is: That the motion moved by the Secretary for Security, to amend the Legitimacy Ordinance as set out on the Agenda, be approved.

Council shall now proceed to a debate. Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you as stated. Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Motion made under the Buildings Ordinance. Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands.

BUILDINGS ORDINANCE

SECRETARY FOR PLANNING, ENVIRONMENT AND LANDS(in Cantonese): Madam President, I move the motion standing in my name on the Agenda.

First of all, I would like to thank the President for agreeing to waive Rule 29 of the Rules of Procedure, thereby allowing me to move this motion.

As a result of the public concern over the safety in construction sites and the standard of safety inspections carried out by professionals and building contractors in the course of building and demolition works, the Buildings (Amendment) Ordinance 1996 was enacted on 18 July 1996. The Ordinance provides, inter alia, that a works supervision plan has to be lodged by an Authorized Person with the Building Authority, failing which consent will not be given for the commencement of the building or road works concerned. The Ordinance also stipulates that the authorities concerned have to prepare a Technical Memorandum which should set out in detail the information to be contained in a works supervision plan.

For the purpose of drafting the Technical Memorandum, the Director of Buildings has commissioned the services of a consultant and also appointed a supervision team to provide guidance on the work of the consultant. In addition to senior officers of the Housing Department, the supervision team consists of 13 representatives from the construction sector and related professional bodies. The supervision team is responsible for ensuring that all the requirements in the Technical Memorandum are appropriate, necessary and practicable. Eight meetings have been convened by the supervision team since March 1997 to discuss the contents of the Technical Memorandum. Since the completion of the first draft of the Technical Memorandum, the Buildings Department has been actively seeking the views of Authorized Persons, the Registered Structural Engineers Committee and the Building Subcommittee of the Lands and Building Advisory Committee. Members of the two Committees include representatives from the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Construction Association. During the period from May to July 1997, the two Committees have altogether held four joint meetings to discuss the various principles and details of the Technical Memorandum. The main parts of the Technical Memorandum, including Table 1 on the minimum requirements for different classes of supervision, were passed by the two Committees at the meeting held on 18 July 1997.

All members of the Lands and Building Advisory Committee have also been consulted by the Director of Buildings when this Technical Memorandum was being drafted. Members of the Lands and Building Advisory Committee include the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Construction Association and other related professional bodies. Details of the Technical Memorandum were discussed at the meetings held in May and August of this year. Eventually, the Technical Memorandum submitted by the Government was passed by the Lands and Building Committee at its meeting held in August. The approved Technical Memorandum was immediately gazetted on 29 August 1997 and tabled before the Provisional Legislative Council on 3 September 1997.

A Subcommittee was subsequently formed under the House Committee of the Provisional Legislative Council to scrutinize the Technical Memorandum. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Edward HO, the chairman of this Subcommittee and other Members for their work in scrutinizing the Technical Memorandum. The Subcommittee has received submissions from the Hong Kong Construction Association of Hong Kong, the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong and related professional bodies in respect of the Technical Memorandum. Their views are generally in line with their feedbacks to the Government during the consultation period. We have already discussed and dealt with their concerns at the four joint meetings of the two Committees and the generay meeting of the Lands and Building Advisorty Committee held on 4 August 1997, and these Committees finally agreed to approve the gazetted Technical Memorandum. We reported the responses of the Administration to the concerns of these associations and bodies to the Subcommittee of the Provisional Legislative Council. I wish to thank the Subcommittee for endorsing our responses.

The Government shares the concern of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers. We are also of the view that the minimum requirements on site inspection as set out in Table 1 of the Technical Memorandum may not be adequate at critical stages of construction works. It has been the intention of the Government to lay down the requirements for additional site inspections and other conditions during critical stages of construction works in the Code of Practice of the supervision plan.

In order to allay the worries of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, we have agreed to add a note in Table 1 of the Technical Memorandum to state the relevant arrangements. This is also the purpose of my motion today. The wording of the motion has also been endorsed by the Subcommittee and the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers.

Madam President, I beg to move.

The Secretary for Planning and Environment and Lands moved the following motion:

    "That the Technical Memorandum for Supervision Plans, published in Special Supplement No.5 to the Gazette on 29 August 1997 and laid on the table of the Provisional Legislative Council on 3 September 1997, be amended in Part III, in Table 1 -?

  1. by renumbering Note 2 as Note 3; and
  2. by adding -


"2. For frequency levels 1 to 4, more frequent site inspection up to full time may be required at critical stages; refer to the Code of Practice for guidance."

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now propose the question to you and that is "That the Technical Memorandum for Supervision Plans, published in Special Supplement No. 5 to the Gazette on 29 August 1997 and laid on the table of the Provisional Council on 3 September 1997, be amended in Part III, in Table 1 as set out on the Agenda. Mr Edward HO.

MR EDWARD HO(in Cantonese): Madam President, as the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Technical Memorandum For Supervision Plans, I would like to make a few remarks on behalf of the Subcommittee.

The Subcommittee welcomes the Government's move to prepare the Technical Memorandum For Supervision Plans, so that the Buildings (Amendment) Ordinance 1996 enacted by the former Legislative Council can be implemented to enhance the safety management of building works and road works. The Subcommittee has met with five professional bodies of the construction industry to seek their views on the Technical Memorandum, and noted that the professional bodies of the construction industry are generally in favour of the implementation of supervision plans. But, the Subcommittee is also aware that these professional bodies do doubt whether there would be enough technically competent persons to take up the extra supervision responsibilities. The Subcommittee is in favour of the Administration's solution to the shortage problem of technical personnel, T1 grade technical personnel in particular, by allowing serving site supervisory staff with five years of experience but without the required academic qualification as set out in the Technical Memorandum to carry out the duties of T1 grade supervisors within the first two years of the supervision plans' implementation. They would also be allowed to continue to work as T1 grade supervisors for the next three years if they have completed the construction site safety course upon the expiry of the two years limit. The Subcommittee considers this arrangement to be an acceptable temporary solution for alleviating the manpower shortage problem; but, in the long run the Government should work closely with the various training institutions, such as the Vocational Training Council, the Construction Industry Training Authority and the local tertiary institutions, to offer training courses for site supervisors, so that they can be assisted to acquire the minimum academic qualifications as set out in the Technical Memorandum. Although the Government plans to implement the system of supervision plans by stages, the Subcommittee is generally of the opinion that it should review the implementation of the system from time to time, with particular emphasis on manpower so as to prevent any imbalance between manpower supply and demand. The Administration has undertaken to review the supervision plans system from time to time.

Another issue of concern to the Subcommittee is the minimum requirement for different grades of supervision as set out in Table 1 of the Technical Memorandum. As the requirements specified in the Technical Memorandum are far lower than the standards currently applied to certain types of works with a high degree of complexity, some professional bodies of the construction industry are worried that those in the trade may mistakenly take these requirements as the minimum requirement and that they would be sufficient at all times. The Administration has already clarified that Table 1 of the Technical Memorandum has only spelt out the minimum requirements for standard site safety supervision, and the Code of Practice of supervision plans will lay down the supervision requirements for the critical stages of building works and road works. But the Subcommittee is still in support of the recommendations of the professional bodies of the construction industry, and has come to the view that it is necessary to add a note to Table 1 of the Technical Memorandum, to specify that more frequent inspections may be required during the critical stages of construction works. The motion just moved by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands reflects the consensus of the Subcommittee, professional bodies and the Administration.

Finally, the Subcommittee is happy to note that the Administration has agreed to run the supervision plans system on a trial basis before actual implementation. The Administration will also study the results of the pilot scheme before laying down the final details of the scheme so as to ensure that the scheme is really practicable.

With these remarks, I support the motion.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Does any other Member wish to speak? Dr Raymond HO.

DR RAYMOND HO(in Cantonese): Madam President, since the Technical Memorandum will produce very far reaching practical effects, and particularly since we have convened two emergency meetings within such a short time to tackle the related issues, I have decided to say a few words on the motion.

Apart from setting out a construction site safety management structure, the Technical Memorandum For Supervision Plans issued by the Administration under section 30A of the Buildings Ordinance also specifies the various details that have to be included in a supervision plan. All these requirements are intended to enhance the safety on private construction sites and reduce the incidence of accidents. However, the Memorandum was met with very strong reactions from the engineering sector during the consultation period, and 40 experienced engineers even lodged a joint petition against the proposed Technical Memorandum. In regard to the minimum safety supervision standards for general construction sites as set out in Part III, Table 1 of the Technical Memorandum submitted by the Administration to this Council on 3 September 1997, they view that it is far lower than the existing standards. Although the number of site inspections set out in Table 1 of the Technical Memorandum is only the minimum number of site inspections, the engineering field fears that this minimum number may as well be wrongly interpreted as already sufficient to ensure safety. It has, therefore, caused great concern among the engineering sector. The opinions of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers were heard by the Subcommittee on the Technical Memorandum For Supervision Plans. In order to solve the problem before the meeting of the House Committee was convened on the next day, another emergency meeting between the Building Department and the Institution of Engineers was held on the same day at my suggestion. By reaching an agreement before the House Committee's meeting, the motion on passing the Technical Memorandum was eventually retained. Upon further discussions, the Administration agreed to make an amendment by adding Note 2 in Table 1 of the Technical Memorandum so as to dispel the worries of the Institution. I am very pleased with this amendment.

Site safety and quality of private construction works have always been one of the concerns of society. I have particularly mentioned at the second meeting of the Subcommittee that besides certain critical stages of the construction works, the current practice adopted by the Government in major construction works, such as full-time site inspections by professional and technical personnel, should also be applied in the case of construction works of a complex nature. At the meeting, I requested the Buildings Department to include this requirement in the Code of Practice and the Department undertook to act in accordance with my request. The Subcommittee has also requested the Building Department to submit the Code of Practice for our scrutiny upon its completion. The amended Technical Memorandum will play an important role in implementing the requirements of the supervision plans and reducing accidents at construction sites.

With these remarks, Madam President, made in view of public concern and the interests of construction workers, I support the Administration's resolution. Thank you.

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, do you wish to reply?

(The Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands indicated that he did not wish to reply)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you as stated. Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

MEMBERS' MOTION

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Member's Motion made under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance. Dr LEONG Che-hung.

INTERPRETATION AND GENERAL CLAUSES ORDINANCE

DR LEONG CHE-HUNG: Madam President, I move the motion standing in my name on the Agenda. The eight items of subsidiary legislation seek to increase various fees so as to achieve full cost recovery. At the House Committee meeting held on 12 September 1997, Members agreed to form a Subcommittee to study these eight pieces of subsidiary legislation. To allow the Subcommittee sufficient time to consider these subsidiary legislation, Members agreed at the same meeting that the expiry date for making amendments to these subsidiary legislation be extended to 15 October 1997.

Madam President, I beg to move.

Dr LEONG Che-hung moved the following motion:

    "That in relation to the:

  1. Securities and Futures Commission (Fees) (Amendment) Rules 1997, published as Legal Notice No.430 of 1997;
  2. Immigration (Amendment) Regulation 1997, published as Legal Notice no.432 of 1997;
  3. Registration of Persons (Amendment) Regulation 1997 published as Legal Notice No.433 of 1997;
  4. Marriage Reform (Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 1997, published as Legal Notice No.434 of 1997;
  5. Births Registration (Special Registers) Ordinance (Amendment of Fifth Schedule) Order 1997, published as Legal Notice No.435 of 1997;
  6. Deaths Registration (Special Registers) Ordinance (Amendment of Fourth Schedule) Order 1997, published as Legal Notice No.436 of 1997;
  7. Marriage Ordinance (Amendment of Second Schedule) Order 1997, published as Legal Notice No. 437 of 1997; and
  8. Trade Marks (Amendment) Rules 1997, published as Legal Notice No.438 of 1997,


which were laid on the table of the Provisional Legislative Council on 10 September 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 meeting of 15 October 1997."

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now propose the question to you and that is: That the motion moved by Dr LEONG Che-hung to extend under section 34(4) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance the period for amending subsidiary legislation which was laid on the table of the Provisional Legislative Council on 10 September 1997 to the meeting of 15 October 1997 as set out on the Agenda, be approved.

Council shall now proceed to a debate. Does any Member wish to speak?

(No Member indicated to speak)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I now put the question to you as stated. Will those in favour please say "aye"?

(Members responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): Those against please say "no"?

(No Member responded)

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): I think the "ayes" have it. The "ayes" have it.

NEXT SITTING

PRESIDENT(in Cantonese): In accordance with the Rules of Procedure, I now adjourn the Council until 2.30 pm on Wednesday, 8 October 1997.

Adjourned accordingly at two minutes past Six o'clock on 28 September 1997.

Annex I

WRITTEN ANSWER

Written answer by the Secretary for Health and Welfare to Mrs Peggy LAM's supplementary question to Question 3

The information requested is as follows:

Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (PCSSA) Scheme:

Contractual Arrangement between

Social Welfare Department and Hong Kong Red Cross

Duration of the Contract

The contract between Social Welfare Department (SWD) and Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) runs for two years starting from 1 April 1997.

Services provided by HKRC

The HKRC provides the following services with regard to elderly CSSA recipients who have retired to live in Guangdong:

  1. conducts 5% spot checks, by means of home visits, on the recipients for the purpose of verifying their financial and material particulars which might affect their CSSA entitlement and/or continual eligibility to CSSA;
  2. conducts an annual postal review of all recipients and, where necessary, conducts interviews and/or visits to further verify the recipient's financial and other conditions;
  3. provides escort service to those recipients who have a genuine need to return to Hong Kong but cannot make the necessary arrangement themselves;
  4. visits, investigates and assists those recipients who reportedly have become mentally unfit to proceed with the application for CSSA on their own;
  5. conducts investigation into suspected fraud cases; and
  6. handles enquiries from the recipients residing in Guangdong.


The HKRC makes regular reports to SWD and the Department monitors closely the work of the HKRC to ensure that it fulfils its contractual obligations and adheres to the procedural guidelines and standards laid down by the Department in its dealings with elderly PCSSA recipients.

Payment Arrangement

The SWD pays for the service of the HKRC pursuant to the following fee schedule, based on the number of the number of cases involving elderly receiving CSSA in Guangdong, to cover the costs of accommodation, office equipment, staff, administrative and programme expenses:

Case range
0-2 500>2 501-5 000 5 001-7 500
Amount of payment for the year 1997-98$1.80M$2.15M $2.39M
Amount of payment for the year 1998-99$1.63M$2.15M $2.66M

Payments are made to the HKRC by instalments on a quarterly basis, starting from April 1997.

Annex II

WRITTEN ANSWER

Written answer by the Secretary for Financial Services to Mr NG Leung-sing's supplementary question to Question 6

As at the end of September, the total amount of bank notes issued by the three note-issuing banks was HK$84 billion. However, we do not have a precise figure for the amount of Hong Kong Dollars circulating outside Hong Kong and can therefore only make a rough estimation. As the Guangdong Province has the closest financial affinity with Hong Kong, we assume that the Hong Kong Dollar circulating outside Hong Kong would be mainly circulated in Southern China and Macau, and is used as a medium for transaction and stored for value. Based on the gross domestic product of the Guangdong Province and assessed in accordance with statistical modes, the amount of Hong Kong Dollars circulating outside Hong Kong at present is in the region of HK$19 billion, amounting to about 22% of the total amount of bank notes issued.

Annex III

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL BILL

COMMITTEE STAGE

Amendments to be moved by the Secretary for Const itutional Affairs

Clause Amendment Proposed
3(1) (a) In the definition of "elector", by deleting "subsequently".
(b) In the definition of "ex-officio member", by deleting "1(7)" and substituting "1(7A)".
4 (a) In subclause (3), by deleting "order" and substituting "notice".
(b) In subclause (6), by deleting "on the date on which" and substituting "immediately after".
(c) By adding -

"(7) The consideration of any Bill or other business of the Legislative Council is to lapse on the dissolution of that Council.".

New By adding -

"9A. First meeting of first term of office of Legislative Council

    (1) The Chief Executive must, by notice published in the Gazette, specify a date and time for holding the first meeting of the first term of office of the Legislative Council.
ClauseAmendment Proposed
(2) The date and time specified in the notice must be within 14 days after the first term of office of the Legislative Council begins.
(3) The first item of business at the first meeting, after the taking of the Legislative Council Oath by Members, must be the election of a Member to preside at that meeting for the purpose of electing the President.
(4) The presiding Member must be elected under subsection (3) by the Members present at the first meeting from amongst themselves. The Clerk to the Legislative Council must preside at that meeting for the purpose of electing the presiding Member.
(5) The President must, after his election at the first meeting, preside at that meeting.".
10(1) By deleting "that begins immediately after" and substituting "next following".