PLC Paper No. CB(2) 461
Ref : PLC/HC/4
House Committee of the Provisional Legislative Council
Minutes of the 21st meeting
Members present :
held at the Legislative Council Chamber
at 2:55 pm on Friday, 17 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 David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, 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 Allen LEE, JP
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, JP
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon YUEN Mo
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
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 Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Members absent :
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon LO Suk-ching
Clerk in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Clerk to the House Committee
Staff in attendance :
- Mr Ricky C C FUNG, JP
- Secretary General
- Mr LAW Kam-sang, JP
- Deputy Secretary General
- Mr LEE Yu-sang
- Legal Adviser (Acting)
- 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 Stephen LAM
- Assistant Legal Adviser 4
- Mr Arthur CHEUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 5
- Mrs Anna LO
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Ms Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Mrs Vivian KAM
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)5
- Mr LAW Wing-lok
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2)5
- Mr Matthew LOO
- Senior Assistant Secretary (1)7
- Mrs Eleanor CHOW
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8
I. Confirmation of the minutes of the 20th meeting held on
3 October 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 400)
1. The minutes were confirmed.
II. Matters arising
Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration
(a) Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997
2. The Chairman said that as requested by members, the Administration would move a resolution at the Council meeting on 29 October 1997 to extend the suspension period of the Employment (Amendment) (No. 4) Ordinance 1997, the Employees�Rights to Representation, Consultation and Collective Bargaining Ordinance and the Trade Unions (Amendment) (No. 2) Ordinance 1997 until 30 November 1997.
(b) Introduction of bills into Council
3. The Chairman said that he had again reminded the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS) to introduce as soon as possible those items of legislation intended to be dealt with by the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC), particularly the subsidiary legislation relating to the Mandatory Provident Fund System.
III. Business arising from previous Council meetings
(a) Legal Service Division reports on bills referred to the House Committee in accordance with Rule 54(4)
(i) Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997
(PLC Paper No. LS 35)
4. The Chairman said that the Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997 dealt with the three labour-related ordinances which had been suspended from operation under the Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Ordinance 1997 (126 of 1997).
5. The Chairman further said that at the meeting on 3 October 1997, members agreed that a subcommittee should be formed to commence scrutiny of the Bill prior to its introduction into the Council. Members also agreed that if the House Committee decided to form a Bills Committee, the Subcommittee should become the Bills Committee to continue scrutiny of the Bill.
6. In response to the Chairman, Mr CHAN Kam-lam said that the Subcommittee was of the view that the Bills Committee should be of the same membership as that of the Subcommittee to ensure continuity of work. He added that any interested members would be welcome to attend meetings of the Bills Committee as observers.
7. Members agreed that a Bills Committee comprising the same members as those of the Subcommittee be formed.
(ii) Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Bill 1997
(PLC Paper No. LS 31)
8. The Chairman said that the Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Bill 1997 sought to make 1 July and 1 October statutory holidays in place of the existing two loating�holidays under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57). It also sought to make 1 May a statutory holiday with effect from 1999, instead of 1998 as provided under the Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Ordinance 1997. The two proposals had been endorsed by the Labour Advisory Board.
9. Acting Legal Adviser said that the Bill did not introduce major policy changes and the number of statutory holidays would remain the same. The legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were in order.
10. Members agreed that the debate on Second Reading of the Bill be resumed.
(iii) Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997
(PLC Paper No. LS 34)
11. Referring members to the paper, Acting Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to repeal the scale of permanent incapacity implemented by the Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 and substitute it with a scale covering hearing loss of 40 dB to 90 dB and above. The Bill also sought to implement improvement measures which were a result of a comprehensive review of the Occupational Deafness (Compensation) Ordinance (Cap. 469) as amended by the Amendment Ordinance. He was of the view that the Bill proposed various policy changes which merited consideration by a Bills Committee.
12. Members agreed that a Bills Committee should be formed to study the Bill. The following members agreed to join : Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr CHAN Kam-lam and Mr Andrew WONG.
(b) Legal Service Division reports on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 8 and 15 October 1997 (gazetted on 3 and 9 October 1997)
(PLC Papers Nos. LS 30 & LS 32)
PLC Paper No. LS 30
13. Acting Legal Adviser said that the two items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 3 October 1997 were the Fugitive Offenders (India) Order and the Telecommunication (APSTAR - IIR) (Exemption from Licensing) Order.
14. The Fugitive Offenders (India) Order specified that the procedures for the surrender of fugitive offenders set out in the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance (23 of 1997) should apply between Hong Kong and India, subject to the terms of the Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders made between the two Governments on 28 June 1997.
15. The Telecommunication (APSTAR - IIR) (Exemption from Licensing) Order exempted the APT Satellite Company Limited from the obligation to hold a licence under section 8(1) of the Telecommunication Ordinance for the operation of radio stations on the satellite APSTAR - IIR. Acting Legal Adviser explained that the responsibility for registering radio frequencies with the International Telecommunication Union and handling complaints about interference rested with the Central People Government of the PRC and not the HKSAR Government, and the Administration considered it was not necessary to regulate the APT Satellite Company Limited through a licence.
16. Members raised no queries on the two items of subsidiary legislation covered in the report.
PLC Paper No LS 32
17. Acting Legal Adviser said that the 11 items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 9 October 1997 could be separated into four groups. The first group comprised the two sets of regulations made under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (9 of 1997). The Environmental Impact Assessment (Appeal Board) Regulation specified the practice and procedure of the Appeal Board. The Environmental Impact Assessment (Fees) Regulation prescribed the fees to be charged for various applications made under the Ordinance.
18. The second group concerned the subsidiary legislation dealing with increases in more than 40 items of fees payable to the Registrar of Companies under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32) and the Limited Partnerships Ordinance (Cap. 37). With the exception of four fee items , the proposed average increase was about 9% and was in line with the increase in costs due to inflation as measured by the Government Consumption Expenditure Deflator.
19. The third group comprised the two Orders made under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132) which covered the setting aside of public pleasure grounds and the change in names of two public pleasure grounds and one public swimming pool.
20. The last group was three sets of rules relating to family status discrimination matters made under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (91 of 1997) , District Court Ordinance (Cap. 336) and Labour Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 25) respectively. Acting Legal Adviser pointed out that the reference to section 55(1) in Schedule 1 to the Family Status Discrimination (Formal Investigations) Rules should be section 50(1) instead. The Administration had been asked to rectify the error. The legal and drafting aspects of the other two sets of rules, which provided for bringing cases under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance before the District Court and the Labour Tribunal, were in order.
21. Referring to the Environmental Impact Assessment (Fees) Regulation, Mr Edward HO queried the rationale for using the olluter pays principle�in setting fees on environmental impact assessment work. Acting Legal Adviser responded that according to the PLC Brief, the proposed fees were set to achieve full cost recovery. Mr IP Kwok-him opined that ull cost recovery�and olluter pays principle�were two totally different concepts. Mr HO suggested and members agreed to form a subcommittee to study the Regulation. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mr James TIEN, Mr Edward HO, Mr MA Fung-kwok and Mr Howard YOUNG.
22. In response to Mr James TIEN query on the Companies Ordinance (Amendment of Eighth Schedule) Order 1997, Acting Legal Adviser said that justifications for the increases in four fee items which exceeded the rate of inflation were set out in the relevant PLC Brief. Mr TIEN suggested and members agreed that the subcommittee formed to study the Environmental Impact Assessment (Fees) Regulation should also study the proposed increases in the 4 items as they were extraordinarily high.
23. Referring to the three sets of rules relating to family status discrimination matters, the Chairman asked Acting Legal Adviser to explain why the rules were subject to negative vetting by the Council after gazettal, while a separate set of regulations under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance would be presented by the Secretary for Home Affairs in the form of a resolution for the approval of the Council on 29 October 1997. Acting Legal Adviser replied that section 67 of the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance specified that any regulations made by the Secretary for Home Affairs under that section were subject to the approval of the Council. Under section 35 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1), where there was such ubject to approval�requirement, the relevant piece of subsidiary legislation should be approved by a resolution of the legislature before implementation. Where there was no such requirement, the relevant subsidiary legislation would be under negative procedure.
24. Members raised no queries on the Environmental Impact Assessment (Appeal Board) Regulation and the two Orders made under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance.
IV. Business for the Council meeting on 22 and 23 October 1997
25. The Chairman said that the Council meeting on 22 and 23 October 1997 would be devoted to the debate on the Motion of Thanks and that apart from the 20 questions for written reply scheduled, no other business would be dealt with at the meeting.
26. The Chairman added that he would move the Motion of Thanks on 22 October 1997 on behalf of the House Committee. After Members had spoken on the motion , he would move a further motion on 23 October 1997 to adjourn the debate to enable the Administration to respond at the meeting on 29 October 1997.
27. Mr Bruce LIU said that Mr Frederick FUNG would move an amendment to the Motion of Thanks in accordance with Rule 12(4) of the Rules of Procedure. Mr LIU added that Mr FUNG would submit the amendment to the Secretariat early next week although notice was not required.
28. Assistant Secretary General 3 said that problems might arise in conducting the debate on the Motion of Thanks if the President and Members had no prior knowledge of the amendments to be moved by Members at the meeting. He sought members�views on whether the joint debate arrangement should be used in dealing with amendments moved under Rule 12(4).
29. Mr Andrew WONG said that he was not in favour of using the joint debate procedure as such an arrangement would deprive Members of the privilege of moving amendments to the motion without notice under Rule 12(4). However, he agreed that there could be a 孄entleman agreement�under which Members wishing to move amendments should inform the Secretariat in advance so that the wording of their amendments could be circulated before the meeting. Members agreed.
30. The Chairman reminded members to let the Secretariat have the wording of their proposed amendments before the meeting if they wished to move any amendment.
V. Business for the Council meeting on 29 October 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 244)
31. 20 questions for written reply had been tentatively scheduled.
(b) Bill - 1st and 2nd Readings
Sex Discrimination (Amendment) Bill 1997
32. The Chairman said that the above Bill would be introduced into the Council on 29 October 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 31 October 1997.
(c) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
33. No notice had been received yet.
(i) Resolution under section 83 of the Legislative Council Ordinance (134 of 1997) - to be moved by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs
(PLC Paper No. LS 36)
34. Acting Legal Adviser said that the Administration was of the view that the amendments relating to the expansion of the 廍ocial Welfare�and 孏extile and Garment�functional constituencies passed at the Committee Stage of the Legislative Council Bill might pose implementation problems and was thus proposing the resolution to address the perceived problems. He added that the legal and drafting aspects of the resolution were in order but members might wish to consider the policy aspects.
35. In response to Mr Bruce LIU, both the Chairman and the Secretary General said that members could propose amendments to the resolution provided the amendments were considered by the President as being in order.
36. No other queries were raised by members on the resolution.
(ii) Resolution under sections 3(3), 4(4) and 5(4) of the Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Ordinance 1997 (126 of 1997) - to be moved by the Secretary for Education and Manpower
(PLC Paper No. LS 38)
37. The Chairman said that the resolution sought to extend the period of suspension of the operation of the three relevant ordinances until 30 November 1997 in order to allow the Subcommittee more time to study the Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997 which dealt with these three ordinances. He asked members to note a clerical error that �998�appearing at the end of paragraph 3 of the paper (both English and Chinese versions) should read �997�
38. Members raised no queries on the resolution.
(iii) Resolution under section 67 of the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (91 of 1997) - to be moved by the Secretary for Home Affairs
(PLC Paper No. LS 33)
39. The Chairman said that the resolution sought the Council approval for the Family Status Discrimination (Proceedings by Equal Opportunities Commission) Regulation made by the Secretary for Home Affairs. The Regulation empowered the Equal Opportunities Commission to bring legal proceedings under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance in its own name in circumstances specified under the Regulation. The Legal Service Division was of the view that the legal and drafting aspects of the resolution were in order.
40. Members raised no queries on the resolution.
(iv) Resolution under section 2(3) of the Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Ordinance 1997 (126 of 1997) - to be moved by the Secretary for Home Affairs
(PLC Paper No. LS 37)
41. The Chairman said that the Legislative Provisions (Suspension of Operation) Ordinance 1997 was enacted in July this year suspending, among other things, the operation of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 until 31 October 1997. The resolution sought to extend the period of suspension until 31 January 1998 to allow the Administration more time to examine the legal issues involved. The Legal Service Division was of the view that the legal and drafting aspects of the resolution were in order.
42. Members raised no queries on the resolution.
43. The Chairman reminded members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above four resolutions was
22 October 1997.
(e) Debate on Motion of Thanks
44. The Chairman said he would give notice on behalf of the House Committee to resume the debate on Motion of Thanks at the meeting on 29 October 1997 at which the Administration would respond to Members�views on the Chief Executive Policy Address.
VI. Advance information on motions for the Council meeting on
5 November 1997
(a) Motion on 幈pposing the expansion of importation of labour�/B>
45. Members noted that Mr CHAN Kam-lam had given notice to move the above motion.
(b) Motion on 焅ormulating comprehensive policies on information technology�
46. Members noted that Miss CHOY So-yuk had given notice to move the above motion.
47. The Chairman said that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendment to, the above motions were 21 October 1997 and 29 October 1997 respectively.
Report of the Subcommittee on the subsidiary legislation gazetted on 19 September 1997 relating to fee increases
(PLC Paper No. CB(1) 332)
48. Mr Ronald ARCULLI reported that the Subcommittee had recommended that the three items of subsidiary legislation on fee increases relating to Building Regulations be supported.
VIII. Any other business
(a) Election of Members for appointment to the Committee on Rules of Procedure
(PLC Paper No. CB(1)208)
49. The Chairman said that at the meeting on 19 September 1997, members endorsed the procedure for election of members for appointment to sit on the Committee on Rules of Procedure. He invited members to nominate 12 members for appointment by the President. The following members were elected -
Dr Raymond HO Chung-tai
Mrs Elsie TU
Mrs Selina CHOW
Mr CHAN Choi-hi
Miss CHAN Yuen-han
Mr CHENG Kai-nam
Mr Andrew WONG Wang-fat
Mr Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee
Mr Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen
Miss CHOY So-yuk
[The meeting was suspended for a few minutes to allow the Members elected to elect from among themselves a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman.]
50. Members noted that Mrs Selina CHOW and Mr CHENG Kai-nam were elected Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Rules of Procedure respectively.
(b) Election of Members to the Court of the University of Hong Kong
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 419)
51. Members endorsed the election procedure set out in paragraph 4 of the paper and noted that an election would be held at the House Committee meeting on 24 October 1997.
52. The Chairman pointed out that under Statute XV of the University of Hong Kong Ordinance (Cap. 1053), an elected member of the Court of the University of Hong Kong would hold office for three years even if he ceased to be a Member of the Council during the three-year term.
53. The Secretary General said that Statute 11.4 of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Ordinance (Cap. 1109) on the other hand specified that the Members elected by the Council would cease to be elected members of the Council of the Chinese University of Hong Kong if they ceased to be Members of the Council during the three-year term.
54. The Chairman suggested that the University of Hong Kong be invited to review Statute XV. He asked members to let him have their views on the matter at the next meeting.
(c) Formation of a subcommittee to study subsidiary legislation on the Mandatory Provident Fund System
55. The Chairman said that he had been pressing the Administration to let members have the subsidiary legislation on the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) System as soon as practicable. Given the volume and complexity of the subsidiary legislation in question, he asked members to consider whether a subcommittee should be formed at this stage. The purpose was to enable those members who wished to take part in the detailed scrutiny of the subsidiary legislation but who were not familiar with the MPF System to be briefed on the System background and major proposals prior to the introduction of the subsidiary legislation.
56. Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that the Administration had presented part of the subsidiary legislation in draft form to the subcommittee set up under the former Legislative Council which however did not have sufficient time to examine it in detail. Given the large volume of work that would be involved, he was in favour of setting up a subcommittee for the purpose as described by the Chairman. Membership of the subcommittee should be reopened when the Administration formally presented the subsidiary legislation. Members agreed.
57. Members agreed that a subcommittee should be formed. The following members agreed to join : Mr WONG Siu-yee, Mrs Elsie TU, Mrs Peggy LAM, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr MA Fung-kwok, Dr TSO WONG Man-yin, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen and Miss CHOY So-yuk.
(d) Delay in presenting papers to PLC Panels by the Administration
58. The Chairman said that some Members had expressed dissatisfaction at the Administration delay in presenting papers to PLC Panels. According to the statistics covering the period from mid-September to mid-October 1997, about �of the some 40 papers presented to PLC Panels were received from the Administration 1�working days or less before the relevant meeting. He cited as an example two discussion papers for a meeting of the Panel on Health Services on Monday morning which were sent by the Administration to the Secretariat on the Saturday before. He said that the delay was highly unsatisfactory as Panel members did not have adequate time to study the papers.
59. Mr CHAN Kam-lam said that the Panel on Manpower also encountered the same problem. Mr James TIEN suggested and members agreed that the Administration should be asked to ensure that under normal circumstances, papers from the Administration should reach the Secretariat at least three working days before the meetings. The Chairman undertook to reflect members�concern to CS.
60. The meeting ended at 4:11 pm.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
22 October 1997
Last Udpated on 23 October 1997