Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. 201/96-97

Ref : PLC/HC/4

House Committee of the Provisional Legislative Council

Minutes of the meeting
held at the Main Hall, Huaxia Art Centre, Shenzhen
on Saturday, 3 May 1997 at 10:10 a.m.

Members present:

Dr the Honourable LEONG Che-hung (Chairman)
The Honourable IP Kwok-him (Deputy Chairman)
The Honourable WONG Siu-yee
The Honourable TIEN Pei-chun, James
The Honourable HO Sai-chu
The Honourable HO Sing-tin, Edward
Dr the Honourable HO Chung-tai
The Honourable NG Leung-sing
Prof the Honourable NG Ching-fai
The Honourable LI Ka-cheung, Eric
The Honourable LI Kwok-po, David
The Honourable LEE Kai-ming
The Honourable LEE Peng-fei, Allen
The Honourable Mrs TU, Elsie
The Honourable Mrs CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, Selina
The Honourable Mrs LAM, Peggy
The Honourable WU, Henry
The Honourable NGAI Shiu-kit
The Honourable TANG Ying-yen, Henry
The Honourable ARCULLI, Ronald
The Honourable YUEN Mo
The Honourable CHEUNG Hon-chung
The Honourable Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
The Honourable LEUNG Chun-ying
The Honourable Mrs LEUNG LAU Yau-fan, Sophie
The Honourable MOK Ying-fan
The Honourable CHAN Choi-hi
The Honourable CHAN Yuen-han
The Honourable CHAN Wing-chan
The Honourable CHAN Kam-lam
The Honourable TSANG Yok-sing
The Honourable CHENG Kai-nam The Honourable FUNG Kin-kee, Frederick
The Honourable WONG Wang-fat, Andrew
Dr the Honourable WONG Yu-hong, Philip
The Honourable WONG Ying-ho, Kennedy
The Honourable YOUNG, Howard
The Honourable YEUNG Chun-kam
The Honourable YEUNG Yiu-chung
The Honourable CHIM Pui-chung
The Honourable LIU Sing-lee, Bruce
The Honourable LAU Kong-wah
The Honourable Mrs LAU Kin-yee, Miriam
The Honourable CHOY Kan-pui
The Honourable CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr the Honourable TANG Siu-tong
The Honourable FOK Tsun-ting, Timothy
The Honourable KAN Fook-yee
The Honourable NGAN Kam-chuen
The Honourable LO Suk-ching
Dr the Honourable LAW Cheung-kwok
The Honourable TAM Yiu-chung

Members absent:

The Honourable CHU Yu-lin, David
The Honourable MA Fung-kwok
The Honourable HUI Yin-fat
The Honourable LAU Wong-fat
The Honourable LAU Hon-chuen, Ambrose
The Honourable CHENG Ming-fun, Paul
The Honourable TAM Wai-chu, Maria

Clerk in attendance:

Ms Pauline NG      Clerk to the House Committee

Staff in attendance:

Mr Arthur CHEUNG      Legal Adviser
Miss Salumi CHAN      Committee Clerk 2

I. Confirmation of minutes of the 2nd meeting on 26 April 1997
(PLC Paper No. 164/96-97)
     The minutes were confirmed.
II. Matters arising
     (a) Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the President and the Secretary for Policy Co-ordination of the Chief Executive's Office
         2. The Chairman reported that he and the Deputy Chairman would meet with the President and with the Secretary for Policy Co-ordination of the Chief Executive's Office separately on a weekly basis. He welcomed members to suggest any matters which they considered should be brought up with the President or the Secretary as appropriate.
     (b) Consultation paper on the provision of secretariat support to the
     Provisional Legislative Council on and after 1 July 1997
    (PLC Paper No. 145/96-97 issued on 24.4.97)
         3. Referring to the consultation paper which had already been issued to Members for comments, Mr IP Kwok-him, the Convenor of the Working Group on Administrative Matters, advised that he would present a report on the above subject on behalf of the Working Group to the Council on 17 May 1997. He would also move a motion at that Council meeting for the adoption of the report and to urge the Chief Executive's Office to introduce the necessary legislation to implement the proposals set out in paragraphs 8 and 9 of the report.
     (c) The transitional budget for 1997-98
         4. The Chairman invited Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Chairman of the Finance Committee, to explain the logistical arrangements for the examination of the Budget for 1997-98 referred to the Finance Committee by resolution at the Council meeting on 3 May 1997. Mr ARCULLI advised members that an orientation briefing on the procedure would be held after the House Committee meeting. Written questions on the Estimates should reach the Secretariat on or before 13 May 1997. In order that 24 and 25 May could be reserved for meetings of the full Council, House Committee and probably Bills Committees, Mr ARCULLI suggested that the Finance Committee meeting to examine the Budget might be held on Monday, 26 May 1997, starting from 9:30 a.m. Mr FUNG Kin-kee objected to scheduling meetings on days other than weekends as the meetings might clash with meetings of the Legislative Council (LegCo). He did not consider it appropriate to deprive Members of their rights to attend meetings.
         5. Some members however were of the view that since the purpose of the Finance Committee meeting was to ask questions on the Estimates and those Members who were also LegCo Members had already had the chance to do so, it was appropriate to consider if the Finance Committee meeting could be held on other days so that Saturdays and Sundays could be used to deliberate on subjects which all Members would be interested in, e.g. Bills. These members also pointed out that there were not too many weekends between now and late-June and a lot of business would have to be dealt with by the Provisional Legislative Council during this period. The Chairman also drew to members' attention that members could reserve 26 May for the Finance Committee meeting, and decide on 17 May, after reviewing the work of the Council, whether it was practicable to advance the meeting to 24 or 25 May.
         6. Mrs Selina CHOW moved a motion to ask Members to reserve 26 May 1997, starting from 9:30 a.m., for the Finance Committee meeting. Mr FUNG Kin-kee moved to amend the motion so that the meeting would start at 6:00 p.m. Mr FUNG's amendment was negatived by four votes in favour of and 17 against. The House Committee then endorsed Mrs CHOW's motion, with 31 votes in favour of and one against.
         7. In response to a question on how much time would be taken to debate on the motion, Mr ARCULLI suggested that Members might consider indicating in advance if they wished to speak on the motion at the resumption of the debate. This arrangement however would not disallow any Members who had not so indicated to speak at the time of the debate.
III. Business arising from previous Council meetings
     (a) Bills referred to the House Committee in accordance with Rule 54(4)
     National Flag and National Emblem Bill
     Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Bill
         8. The Chairman advised that the Legal Adviser would present a report on the Bills at the next meeting on 10 May 1997. Members would then decide if a Bills Committee should be formed.
IV. Business for the Council meeting on 10 May 1997
     (a) Bills
         9. Members noted that no notice had so far been received on the first and second readings of bills at the Council meeting on 10 May 1997. The Secretary of Justice had given notice to resume the second reading debate on the Holidays (1997 and 1998) Bill and to move Committee Stage Amendments. Mr MOK Ying-fan had also given notice to move amendments to the Bill, but a ruling from the President was still being sought.
     (b) Motion Debate on "Consultation Document on Civil Liberties and Social Order"
         10. The Chairman asked members to note that Mrs Elsie TU and Mr CHAN Choi-hi had given notices respectively to amend Mr Bruce LIU's motion. The proposed amendments, which were tabled for members' advance information, were being cleared with the President. Mrs Selina CHOW would also be moving an amendment to Mrs TU's amendment and her proposed amendment to amendment was also tabled.
         11. The Chairman reminded members that the deadline for moving any amendments to Mr Bruce LIU's motion was 3 May 1997.
V. Business for the Council meeting on 17 May 1997
     (a) Bills
         12. Members noted that no notice had been received on the first and second readings of bills and resumption of debate on the second reading of bills at the Council meeting on 17 May 1997.
     (b) Motions
         13. Members noted that Mr FUNG Kin-kee had given notice on 1 May to move a motion on "Increasing the Standard Rates under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme". As the agenda for the meeting had already been issued when the notice was received, the item was not included in the agenda. Nevertheless, with the Chairman's agreement, Mr FUNG's motion which had not yet been cleared with the President was tabled for members' information.
         14. Some members raised the question of whether it was appropriate for the Council to debate before 1 July 1997 on matters which were not absolutely necessary for the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Some other members however considered that the Rules of Procedure had already provided Members with the right to move motions and it was for Members to exercise their own judgment if the motions they wished to move should take place in this Council before 1 July 1997.
         15. As to whether there should be any limit to the number of debates that were to take place at each Council meeting, Mrs Selina CHOW said that the matter would be considered by the Working Group on Rules of Procedure which was currently drawing up the House Rules for the Council.
         16. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for moving amendment to Mr FUNG Kin-kee's motion was 10 May 1997.
         17. There being no other business, the meeting ended at 11:05 a.m.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
5 May 1997