Provisional Legislative Council
PLC Paper No. CB(2) 400
Ref : PLC/HC/4
House Committee of the Provisional Legislative CouncilMembers present :
Minutes of the meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber at 2:30 pm on Friday, 3 October 1997
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP (Chairman)
Hon IP Kwok-him (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon YUEN Mo
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Hon LO Suk-ching
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Members absent :
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Clerk in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Clerk to the House Committee
Staff in attendance :
- Mr Ricky C C FUNG, JP
- Secretary General
- Mr Jimmy MA
- Legal Adviser
- Mr LAW Kam-sang, JP
- Deputy Secretary General
- Mr Arthur CHEUNG
- Senior Assistant Legal Adviser (Acting)
- Ms Pauline NG
- Assistant Secretary General 1
- Mr Ray CHAN
- Assistant Secretary General 3
- Ms Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Mrs Anna LO
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Ms Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Mr LAW Wing-lok
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2)5
- Mrs Betty LEUNG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (3)1
- Mrs Eleanor CHOW
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8
I.Confirmation of the minutes of the 19th meeting held on 19 September 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 346)
1.The minutes were confirmed.
(a) Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration
III.Business arising from previous Council meetings
- Attendance of the Chief Executive
2.The Chairman said that the Chief Secretary for Administration has informed him that the Chief Executive's Office was still considering whether the Chief Executive would attend meetings of the Council to answer Members' questions on a regular basis.
- Members' motions originally scheduled for the Council meeting on 27 September 1997
3.The Chairman said that Professor NG Ching-fai and Miss CHOY So-yuk had both withdrawn the notices of their respective motions scheduled for debate at the Council meeting on 27 September 1997. He added that Professor NG and Miss CHOY would have to apply for the allocation of debate slots in the normal way if they wished to proceed with their motion debates.
Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 27 September 1997 (gazetted on 19 and 26 September 1997)
(PLC Papers Nos. LS 27 & 28)
4.Referring to PLC Paper No. LS 27, the Legal Adviser said that three of the five items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 19 September 1997 were related to fee increases made under the relevant Building Regulations. The remaining two items involved Orders concerning public pleasure grounds and civic centres made under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance.
5.Mr James TIEN pointed out that the level of fee increase proposed in one item was around 10% which was higher than the rate of inflation. He also said that no information was given regarding the level of increase proposed in another item. He suggested and members agreed that a subcommittee be formed to study the three items of subsidiary legislation relating to fee increases. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO Sing-tin (as advised by Mr James TIEN), Dr Raymond HO Chung-tai, Mr Henry WU, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok.
|6.The Legal Adviser said that the four items of subsidiary legislation which were detailed in PLC Paper No. LS 28 involved commencement notices. He mentioned in particular the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance (Commencement) Notice 1997 which appointed 26 September 1997 as the day on which the bulk of the most provisions in the principal ordinance was were to come into operation. , including those provisions which were made to address the concerns of some Members of the former Legislative Council. The Chairman suggested and members agreed said that the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services wshould keep in monitor the implementation of the Ordinance at an appropriate time.||CAS(2)4
IV.Business for the Council meetings on 8 and 9 October 1997
(a) The Chief Executive's Policy Address
7.The Chairman said that the Council meeting on 8 October 1997 would be devoted to the Chief Executive's Policy Address and no other business would be scheduled for the meeting.
(b)Questions and Answers session on the Policy Address
8.The Chairman said that the Chief Executive would attend the Council meeting on 9 October 1997 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm to answer Members' questions on the Policy Address. Members who wished to ask questions at the meeting should raise their hands and wait to be called by the President. The Chairman added that the President would try to ensure that Members from different political parties as well as Members not affiliated to any political groups would be given equal opportunities to raise questions.
9.The Chairman reminded members to avoid asking multi-barrelled questions or giving a long introduction before asking a question. He added that supplementary questions should be short and to the point.
10.The Chairman further said that as 9 October 1997 would be Community Chest's Dress Casual Day, Members could "dress casual" when attending the Council meeting on that day, but they should not wear jeans or shorts and shirts without collars.
V.Business for the Council meeting on 15 October 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 209)
11.20 questions (6 oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
(b) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
12.The Chairman informed members that the Administration would introduce three Bills into the Council on 15 October 1997, viz. the Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997, the Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Bill 1997 and the Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997. The three Bills set out legislative proposals drawn up by the Administration arising from a review of five labour-related ordinances passed by the former Legislative Council on 26 June this year.
13.The Chairman further informed members that the Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997 sought to repeal the Employment (Amendment) (No. 4) Ordinance 1997 and the Employee's Rights to Representation, Consultation and Collective Bargaining Ordinance as well as amend the Trade Unions (Amendment) (No. 2) Ordinance 1997, the operation of which had been suspended. Given the imminent expiry of the suspension period of these three Ordinances i.e. on 31 October 1997, he asked members to consider whether a subcommittee should be formed to scrutinize the Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997 prior to its introduction into the Council on 15 October 1997 and the formation of a Bills Committee at the House Committee meeting on 17 October 1997.
14.As regards the Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Bill 1997 and the Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997 which sought to amend the Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Ordinance 1997 and the Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Ordinance 1997, the Chairman was of the view that the question of whether Bills Committees should be formed could be considered at the meeting on 17 October 1997 in the normal manner.
15.Mr CHAN Kam-lam said that the Panel on Manpower held a meeting on 30 September 1997 at which the Administration gave a briefing on the three Bills which would be introduced into the Council on 15 October 1997. The Panel was of the view that a Bills Committee would need to be formed but there were divided views among Panel members as to whether a subcommittee should be set up to study the Bills prior to their introduction into the Council.
16.Mr James TIEN suggested that two subcommittees be formed, one to study the legislative proposals relating to the repeal of two ordinances and the other to study the legislative proposals relating to amendments made to the other three ordinances. The Chairman and some members opined that priority should be given to scrutinizing the Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997 as it dealt with ordinances with a suspension period.
17.Miss CHAN Yuen-han expressed concern that the extension of the suspension period to be proposed by the Administration might not be long enough to allow members adequate time to complete scrutiny of the Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997. The Legal Adviser said that the Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Ordinance 1997 already provided that the Council could by resolution made from time to time extend the period of suspension.
18.After further discussion, members agreed that a subcommittee be formed to commence study of the Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997 as early as practicable. Members further agreed that the subcommittee should become the Bills Committee if the House Committee meeting on 17 October agreed that a Bills Committee should be formed. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mr WONG Siu-yee, Mr James TIEN, Mr HO Sai-chu, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr CHAN Kam-lam and Mr Kennedy WONG Ying-ho.
19.The Chairman said that subject to members' agreement, he would request the Administration to move a resolution at the Council meeting on 29 October 1997 to extend the period of suspension of operation of the three ordinances in question. Members agreed.
(c) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
20.No notice had been received.
Two resolutions under section 296 of the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32) and section 15(2) of the Registered Trustees Incorporation Ordinance (Cap. 306) - to be moved by Secretary for Financial Services
(PLC Paper No. LS 29)
21.The Legal Adviser introduced the paper and said that the two resolutions sought to increase fees payable to the Registrar of Companies as a result of increase in costs due to inflation. The legal aspect of the resolutions was in order.
22.Members agreed to support the two resolutions.
(e) Members' motions
(i) Motion on "Requests for reduction and review of medical blunders"
23.Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Hon MOK Ying-fan.
(ii) Motion on 'speeding up the pace of democratization in Hong Kong"
24.Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Hon CHAN Choi-hi.
25.The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the motions was 7 October 1997.
VI.Advance information on motions for the Council meeting on 22 and 23 October 1997
Debate on Motion of Thanks
26.The Chairman said that in accordance with past practice, he would move the above motion at the Council meeting scheduled for 22 and 23 October 1997. Members would speak on the motion at that meeting and the maximum speaking time for each Member would be 15 minutes. Members who wished to speak should raise their hands during the meeting and wait to be called to speak by the President. Members who wished to speak on a specific day should advise the Assistant Secretary General 3, Mr Ray CHAN, prior to the meeting.
27.The Chairman added there was no notice requirement for proposing amendments to the motion, but such amendments might only be moved in accordance with Rule 12(4) of the Rules of Procedure.
Report of the Subcommittee on subsidiary legislation relating to fee increases gazetted on 5 September 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 387)
28.Mr James TIEN, Chairman of the Subcommittee, reported on the deliberations of the Subcommittee as set out in the paper. He said that the Subcommittee studied in detail the eight items of subsidiary legislation relating to fee increases tabled at the Council meeting on 10 September 1997. The Subcommittee supported the six items relating to fee increases in respect of services provided by the Immigration Department as the proposed increases, which ranged from $10 to $50, would be acceptable to the public. Members agreed.
29.Mr TIEN said that the Subcommittee had reservations about supporting the fee proposals in the Securities and Futures Commission (Fees)(Amendment) Rules 1997 in view of the huge revenue from transaction levy received during the first eight months of this year. Members of the Subcommittee took note of the fact that the Securities and Futures Commission (Fees)(Amendment) Rules 1997, which were tabled on 10 September 1997, already took effect on 16 September 1997. In their view, such an arrangement would set an undesirable precedent as it deprived Members of the opportunity to study the subsidiary legislation in question before it came into operation.
30.The Subcommittee also did not support the fee increases proposed in the Trade Marks (Amendment) Rules 1997. The Subcommittee noted that the increase in cost in processing trade mark registrations during the period from 1995-96 to 1997-98 was about 6% whereas the proposed average increase amounted to 23%. The Subcommittee considered it inappropriate to increase fees at this point in time given that a comprehensive review of the Trade Marks Ordinance was under way which might result in a change of the fee structure.
31.Mr TIEN said that the Subcommittee therefore recommended that the Securities and Futures Commission (Fees) (Amendment) Rules 1997 and the Trade Marks (Fees) (Amendment) Rules 1997 should be repealed. He would move resolutions to repeal the two Amendment Rules at the Council meeting on 15 October 1997 on behalf of the Subcommittee.
VIII.Any other business
Briefings by Bureaux Secretaries on the Chief Executive's Policy Address
32.The Chairman said that the schedule of briefings for PLC Panels by Bureaux Secretaries, which had been issued to Members, was drawn up by the Administration in consultation with the Secretariat. He reminded members that these briefings would be held at formal Panel meetings and that a quorum would be required.
33.The meeting ended at 5:05 pm.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
15 October 1997