Provisional Legislative Council
PLC Paper No. CB(2) 34/97-98
Ref : PLC/HC/4
House Committee of the Provisional Legislative Council
Minutes of the meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber at 2:30 pm on Friday, 11 July 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
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Members absent :
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, JP
Hon YUEN Mo
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying, JP
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon LO Suk-ching
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
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 LEE Yu-sang    ||Senior Assistant Legal Adviser|
|Ms Pauline NG    ||Assistant Secretary General 1|
|Mr Ray CHAN    ||Assistant Secretary General 3|
|Ms Bernice WONG    ||Assistant Legal Adviser 1|
|Miss Anita HO    ||Assistant Legal Adviser 2|
|Miss Connie FUNG    ||Assistant Legal Adviser 3|
|Mr Arthur CHEUNG    ||Assistant Legal Adviser 5|
|Ms LEUNG Siu-kum    ||Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)|
|Ms Kathleen LAU    ||Chief Public Information Officer|
|Mrs Betty LEUNG    ||Chief Assistant Secretary (2)3|
|Mrs Percy MA    ||Chief Assistant Secretary (2)5|
|Mrs Eleanor CHOW    || Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8|
I.Confirmation of the minutes of the 11th meeting held on 4 July 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 15/97-98)
1.The minutes were confirmed, subject to the following amendment to the Member's name on the attendance list -
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration
2.The Chairman advised members that he and the Deputy Chairman would meet the Chief Secretary for Administration after each House Committee meeting, normally on the Monday following.
III.Business arising from previous Council meetings
- Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 9 July 1997 (gazetted on 1 and 4 July 1997)
(PLC Paper No. LS 1/97-98)
3.The Legal Adviser briefly explained that under section 34 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1), subsidiary legislation which did not require the approval of the Council had to be tabled in Council at the first meeting following gazettal. Members could introduce amendment at a Council meeting held not later than 28 days after the meeting at which the subsidiary legislation was tabled. The 28-day period could be extended to the next Council meeting by way of a resolution.
4.The Legal Adviser said that all items of subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 9 July 1997, except one, were Commencement Notices. Mr Ronald ARCULLI suggested and members agreed that a subcommittee be set up to study the two items of subsidiary legislation made under the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Miss CHAN Yuen-han and Mr Kennedy WONG.
- Legal Service Division's report on bills referred to the House Committee in accordance with Rule 54(4)
- United Nations Sanctions Bill
(PLC Paper No. LS 4/97-98)
5.The Legal Adviser briefly explained the purpose of the Bill and drew members' attention to paragraph 8 of the report concerning penalties for breaching regulations relating to United Nations sanctions made by the Chief Executive. He said that the Secretary for Trade and Industry had explained in her speech when introducing the Bill into the Council why it was necessary for early passage of the Bill. In response to the Legal Service Division, the Administration would move Committee Stage amendments (CSAs) to the Chinese version of the Bill (amendments tabled at the meeting). He added that the Bill and the CSAs were in order.
6.Mr James TIEN said that United Nations sanctions were previously implemented in Hong Kong through Orders in Council issued by the United Kingdom Government. In order not to prolong the legal vacuum, the business sector supported the Bill and considered it unnecessary to form a Bills Committee.
|7.Members agreed to recommend to the President that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed at the next Council meeting on 16 July 1997.||ASG3|
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passports Bill
8.The Legal Adviser said that the Bill provided for the issue, amendment and cancellation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport. He drew members' attention to a few points. Firstly, the Administration had proposed that the Bill, if enacted, should take retrospective effect from 1 July 1997. Secondly, the Bill made no provision for an appeal channel. Thirdly, the Bill empowered the Director of Immigration to cancel a passport under certain circumstances. However, there was no penal provision for obtaining a passport by means of false or misleading information under the Bill, although section 42 of the Immigration Ordinance would be applicable to such offences. The Legal Adviser added that the he was still waiting for the Administration's response on his comments on the drafting aspect of the Bill and would issue a written report to members before the resumption of the Second Reading debate of the Bill.
9.In view of the Legal Adviser's comments, Mr Ronald ARCULLI suggested and members agreed that a Bills Committee be set up to study the Bill in detail. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee : Mr Edward HO, Mrs Elsie TU, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr Andrew WONG, Mr Kennedy WONG, Mr LAU Kong-wah, Mrs Miriam LAU, Dr TANG Siu-tong and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok.
|10.Mr Eric LI said that the Administration should advise members on the exact number of bills to be introduced into the Council which, if enacted, would take retrospective effect from 1 July 1997. The Chairman agreed to raise the matter with the Chief Secretary for Administration. ||Chairman|
- Chinese Nationality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill
11.The Legal Adviser explained that the Chinese Nationality Law had begun to apply to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) since 1 July 1997 under the Promulgation of National Laws 1997. The Bill sought to provide implementation details of Chinese nationality-related applications such as naturalisation, penalty for submission of false or misleading information or documents, circumstances under which an appeal could be made, fees and charges, etc. He added that apart from the offence provision, the Bill, if enacted, would take retrospective effect from 1 July 1997.
|12.In response to members, the Legal Adviser said that it was not possible for the HKSAR to amend the Chinese Nationality Laws, but it would be within the scope of the Bill for the Council to consider amendments to the implementation details stipulated in the Bill. Members agreed in principle that a Bills Committee was not necessary, subject to a written report by the Legal Service Division that the Bill was in order.||LSD|
13.The Chairman advised that in the event that the Second Reading debate on the Bill would be resumed on 23 July 1997 as proposed by the Administration, the deadline for giving notice of CSAs, if any, to the Bill was 14 July 1997.
- Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Bill 1997
(PLC Paper No. LS 6/97-98 tabled at the meeting)
14.Members noted that the Bill sought to suspend the operation of the legislative changes effected by the seven Ordinances passed by the former Legislative Council before the handover.
15.The Chairman said that at the special House Committee meeting on 9 July 1997, members agreed in principle to set up a Bills Committee which should commence work after the Bill was introduced into the Council and referred to this meeting. So far, 16 members had indicated that they would join the Bills Committee. The Chairman added that the first meeting of the Bills Committee would be held immediately after the House Committee meeting.
16.In response to members' query as to whether the seven Ordinances could be dealt with separately, the Legal Adviser said that each clause covered a particular Ordinance and they could be dealt with separately in Committee Stage of the Bill.
17.The Chairman said that the Administration had recommended that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 16 July 1997. He suggested that subject to the work progress of the Bills Committee, a special House Committee meeting should be held at 5:00 pm on the following Tuesday, 15 July 1997, for the Bills Committee to report its deliberations to members. Members agreed. The Chairman added that should the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 16 July 1997, it would be necessary to seek the President's permission to waive the requisite notice for resumption of Second Reading debate and for moving CSAs under Rules 54(5) and 57(2) respectively.
IV.Further business for the Council meeting on 16 July 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 14/97-98)
18.12 questions (six oral and six written) had been scheduled.
- Government Motion
Resolution under section 29 of the Public Finance Ordinance (Cap. 2) - to be moved by the Secretary for the Treasury
(PLC Paper No. LS 2/97-98)
19.The Legal Adviser explained that under section 35 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1), subsidiary legislation which required the approval of the Council had to be submitted to the Council by way of a resolution. Members could by resolution amend the whole or part of the subsidiary legislation provided that the amendments did not have charging effect.
20.Referring members to the paper, the Legal Adviser said that the resolution sought the Council's approval to set up a fund to receive, hold and invest assets of the HKSAR Government Land Fund which had been transferred to the HKSAR Government upon its establishment on 1 July 1997. The legal and drafting aspects of the resolution were in order.
21.Dr LAW Cheung-kwok said that the Administration had not briefed Members on the policy aspects of the Land Fund. He suggested and members agreed that a Subcommittee be formed to study the resolution. The following members agreed to join : Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Mr NG Leung-sing, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok.
|22.The Chairman said that the Administration should be requested to defer moving the resolution to a later Council meeting. ||Clerk|
- Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
23.The Chairman said that members had agreed under item III (b)(i) above that the Second Reading debate on the United Nations Sanctions Bill be resumed.
- Motion on“Resolving the problems left by the previous Government which affect the livelihood of the populace”
- Motion on“Reduction of rates percentage charge”
24.Members noted that the above motions would be moved by Miss CHAN Yuen-han and Mr NGAN Kam-chuen respectively.
25.The Chairman advised members that the President had decided that the Miss CHAN's motion should be held ahead of Mr NGAN's.
26.In response to Mr James TIEN's concern about the procedure for arranging the order of business at Council meetings, the Secretary General said that in accordance with Rule 19(1) of the Rules of Procedure, the agenda of a Council meeting was decided by the President.
V.Business for the Council meeting on 23 July 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 15/97-98)
27.The Chairman said that 11 questions (six oral and five written) had been received by the Secretariat. The deadline for giving notice of questions was 14 July 1997.
- Bill - 1st and 2nd Readings
Electoral Affairs Commission Bill
28.The Chairman said that the Bill would be introduced into the Council on 23 July 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 8 August 1997.
- Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
29.No notice had been received.
- Motion on “Reduction of taxes”
30.In response to members, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, mover of the above motion, clarified that the scope of the debate was not confined to reduction of profits and salaries taxes; other revenue measures proposed by Members could also be included.
- Motion on “Review of education”
31.Referring to the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr David CHU, Mr Edward HO pointed out that the Chinese translation had not reflected accurately the meaning of the English version. The Chairman said that individual members who had comments on the wording of a motion should discuss with the mover of the motion. Assistant Secretary General 3 informed members that the subject and wording of a motion in both languages would be cleared by the Member concerned before circulation to members.
32.The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 16 July 1997 and that the normal speaking time should apply.
VI.Any other business
- House Committee meeting on 18 July 1997
33.The Chairman said that there was a need to hold a House Committee meeting on the following Friday, 18 July 1997 for the Bills Committee and Subcommittees formed at this meeting to report their deliberations, if necessary; and for members to nominate and elect Members for appointment to the Public Accounts Committee. In addition, he would like the Secretariat to prepare a list of the public bodies, advisory boards and committees the composition of which included members nominated or elected by the Provisional Legislative Council. Members agreed.
- Finance Committee meeting on 25 July 1997
34.Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Chairman of the Finance Committee, informed members that subject to the agreement of the Administration, the Finance Committee meeting originally scheduled for 25 July 1997 would be advanced to the morning of 23 July 1997.
- Formation of Panels
35.The Chairman said that the membership of Panels should be finalized by 23 July 1997. Assistant Secretary General 1 supplemented that the election of chairmen and deputy chairmen for all Panels would be held on 22 July 1997 from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm. A circular had been issued advising members of the arrangement.
36.In response to Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mrs Selina CHOW, Convenor of the Working Group on Rules of Procedure, said that under Rule 22(f) of the House Rules, a member who wished to nominate an absent member for an office should state that the absent member's acceptance of the nomination had been obtained.
37.The meeting ended at 3:40 pm.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
16 July 1997