Provisional Legislative Council
PLC Paper No. CB(2) 774
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, 19 December 1997
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP (Chairman)
Hon IP Kwok-him (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, JP
Hon YUEN Mo
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Hon LO Suk-ching
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Members absent :
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Clerk in attendance :
Staff in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Clerk to the House Committee
- 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 Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Mr Stephen LAM
- Assistant Legal Adviser 4
- Mr Arthur CHEUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 5
- 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 28th meeting held on 5 December 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 714)
1The minutes were confirmed.
Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS)
2.The Chairman said that as there was no House Committee meeting on 12 December 1997, no meeting with CS was scheduled this week. He added that he and the Deputy Chairman would continue to remind CS of the need to expeditiously introduce the remaining 11 bills on the list of bills to be dealt with by the Provisional Legislative Council.
III.Business arising from previous Council meetings
(a)Legal Service Division's report on bills referred to the House Committee in accordance with Rule 54(4)
(i)Mass Transit Railway Corporation (Amendment) Bill 1997
(PLC Paper No. LS 54)
3.Referring to the paper, the Legal Adviser explained that the Bill sought to empower the Secretary for Transport and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation to make regulations and by-laws respectively in relation to transport interchanges between the Mass Transit Railway and other modes of transport. He said that the Administration had provided clarification on certain technical points raised by the Legal Service Division. Apart from one technical point on which the Administration would propose an amendment to improve its drafting aspect, the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were in order.
4.Members agreed that the debate on Second Reading of the Bill be resumed.
(ii)Protection of the Harbour (Amendment) Bill 1997
(PLC Paper No. LS 68)
5.The Legal Adviser said that the main purpose of the Bill was to revise the definition of " reclamation " in the principal Ordinance to mean only works carried out for the purpose of reclaiming land from the sea-bed or foreshore so that it might be used for dry land purposes. He added that the Administration had provided clarification on his queries regarding the purpose of amending the definition of " reclamation " and on some technical points.
6.The Chairman invited members to consider the need for a Bills Committee to study the Bill in view of the proposed narrowing of the definition of " reclamation " . Mr WONG Siu-yee suggested and members agreed that a Bills Committee should be formed. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee : Mr WONG Siu-yee, Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Dr Raymond HO, Prof NG Ching-fai, Mr Henry WU, Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin, Mr KAN Fook-yee and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok.
(b)Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 10 and 17 December 1997
(gazetted on 5 and 12 December 1997)
(PLC Papers Nos. LS 65 & 66)
PLC Paper No. LS 65
7.Referring to the paper, the Legal Adviser said that 14 of the 23 items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 5 December 1997 proposed fee increases either in accordance with the second phase of the cost recovery programmes concerned or based on the movement of the Government Consumption Expenditure Deflator.
8.Dr LAW Cheung-kwok suggested and members agreed to form a subcommittee to study the 14 items of subsidiary legislation dealing with fee increases. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mr Henry WU, Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok.
9.The Chairman said that he would give notice to move a motion at the Council meeting on 7 January 1998 to extend the scrutiny period to 14 January 1998 to allow the subcommittee more time for work.
10.Members raised no queries on the remaining nine items of subsidiary legislation covered in the paper.
PLC Paper No. LS 66
11.The Legal Adviser briefly explained the content of the seven items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 12 December 1997 as detailed in the paper. He added that the Administration had clarified certain drafting points raised by the Legal Service Division in relation to the Immigration (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulation 1997. The legal and drafting aspects of the seven items of subsidiary legislation covered in the paper were in order.
12.Referring to the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance (Amendment of Second Schedule) (No. 3) Order 1997, Mr Edward HO asked whether the terms "sister " and " matron " referred to in sections 22 and 23 of the Ordinance applied to the feminine gender only. In reply, the Legal Adviser said that the terms were not defined in the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance and by applying general principles of interpretation they should include any person performing the functions of the post of 'sister " or " matron " . The Chairman explained that in practice, " Nursing Officer " was now used instead of 'sister " or " matron " .
13.Members raised no other queries on the subsidiary legislation covered in the paper.
14.The Chairman informed members that the deadline for giving notice to amend the subsidiary legislation detailed in PLC Papers Nos. LS 65 and 66 at the Council meeting on 14 January 1998 was 7 January 1998.
IV.Business for the Council meeting on 7 January 1998
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 475)
15The Chairman said that 20 questions (6 oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled. He drew members' attention to the revised question (Question No. 1) set out in the paper.
(b)Bill - 1st and 2nd Readings
Housing (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1997
16The Chairman said that the above Bill would be introduced into the Council on 7 January 1998 and considered by the House Committee on 9 January 1998.
(c) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
17.No notice had been received.
18.The Chairman said that four sets of resolutions under the Bankruptcy Ordinance, Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance, Airport Authority Ordinance, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Ordinance and Mass Transit Railway Corporation Ordinance were originally scheduled to be moved at the Council meeting on 17 December 1997. The Administration had subsequently withdrawn the notices of the resolutions in response to members' request. The Administration had now given fresh notices to move the resolutions at the Council meeting on 7 January 1998.
(i)Resolution under section 7A of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance (Cap. 484) - to be moved by the Chief Secretary for Administration
(PLC Brief tabled at the meeting and issued vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 772 on 22 December 1997)
19.The Chairman said that the Administration had now provided details of the two judges in the PLC Brief which was tabled at the meeting. The Legal Adviser added that the drafting aspects of the resolution were in order.
20.Members raised no queries on the resolution.
(ii) Resolution under section 35(11) of the Airport Authority Ordinance (Cap. 483) - to be moved by the Secretary for Economic Services
(PLC Paper No. CB(1) 687 tabled at the meeting and issued vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 772 on 22 December 1997)
21.The Chairman said that the Subcommittee formed to study the above resolutions had completed its work. He invited Mr HO Sai-chu, a member of the Subcommittee, to report in the absence of its Chairman.
22.Mr HO declared interest as he was a member of the Airport Authority and highlighted the main deliberations of the Subcommittee as detailed in the paper which was tabled at the meeting. He added that in response to the Subcommittee, the Administration had agreed to make a technical amendment to the Bylaw made by the Airport Authority. The Subcommittee had recommended that the resolution be supported subject to the incorporation of the amendment into the Bylaw.
23.Members noted that the Subcommittee had agreed to the Administration moving the resolution at the Council meeting on 7 January 1998.
(iii)Two resolutions under section 31(2) of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Ordinance (Cap. 372) and one resolution under section 25 of the Mass Transit Railway Corporation Ordinance (Cap. 270) - to be moved by the Secretary for Transport
(PLC Paper No. LS 69 tabled at the meeting and issued vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 772 on 22 December 1997)
24.The Legal Adviser said that the Administration had provided clarification on the points raised by Legal Services Division. The Administration's replies were attached to the paper which was tabled at the meeting. He said that subject to the Bylaws being amended in the manner as described in paragraph 2 of the paper, the resolution was legally in order. Members raised no queries on the resolution.
(iv) Five resolutions under sections 36, 113 and 114 of the Bankruptcy Ordinance (Cap. 6) - to be moved by the Secretary for Financial Services
25.The Legal Adviser said that the five resolutions comprised the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Rules 1998, Meetings of Creditors (Repeal) Rules 1998; Bankruptcy (Forms) (Amendment) Rules 1998, Bankruptcy (Fees and Percentages) (Amendment) Order 1998 and Proof of Debts (Amendment) Rules 1998 made by the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal. He added that as the Legal Service Division had not yet completed scrutiny of the five resolutions, he was therefore making a verbal report at the meeting to facilitate members' consideration as to whether a subcommittee should be formed.
26.The Legal Adviser explained that the five resolutions sought to make consequential amendments to the Bankruptcy Rules arising from the enactment of the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Ordinance 1996. The main object of the Amendment Ordinance which was passed by the former Legislative Council in December 1996 was to implement the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission's " Report on Bankruptcy " . The Amendment Ordinance had abolished, amongst others, the obsolete provisions relating to " acts of bankruptcy " and " bankruptcy notices' and replaced them by simpler and more straight-forward grounds for petitioning for bankruptcy. The Amendment Ordinance introduced an automatic discharge system and also put in place individual voluntary arrangement procedures to encourage debtors to sort out their financial difficulties in a structured way without having to become bankrupt. He added that the Judiciary as well as the professional bodies in the legal and accounting sectors had been consulted on the proposed amendments to the Bankruptcy Rules.
27.The Legal Adviser further said that the Administration had advised that the majority of amendments set out in the five resolutions were technical and procedural in nature, and were in line with the provisions and objects of the principal Ordinance. He added that the Legal Service Division would endeavour to complete scrutiny of the resolutions and issue a written report to members before 7 January 1998 should members decide not to form a subcommittee to study the resolutions.
28.The Chairman suggested and members agreed to form a subcommittee to study the resolutions. The following members agreed to join: Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mr Henry WU, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok. The Chairman said that the Administration would be requested to withdraw the notice for moving the resolutions at the Council meeting on 7 January 1998.
(e) Members' motions
(i)Motion on " Improving the Home Ownership Scheme "
29.Members noted the revised wording of the motion to be moved by Mr CHENG Kai-nam.
(ii) Motion on " Medical insurance for teachers of all government-funded schools in the territory "
30.Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung.
31.The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 30 December 1997. The normal speaking time limits would apply.
V.Advance information on motions for the Council meeting on 14 January 1998
(a)Motion on " Pre-primary school education and daytime nursery care service "
32.Members noted Miss CHOY So-yuk had given notice to move the above motion.
(b) Motion on " Implementation of double social security scheme "
33.Members noted Mr CHAN Kam-lam had given notice to move the above motion.
34. The Chairman informed members that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments if any, to the above motions were 29 December 1997 and 7 January 1998 respectively.
(a) Position report on Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 753)
35.The Chairman said that there were two Subcommittees and two Bills Committees in action. In addition, members had earlier agreed to form a Bills Committee and two subcommittees under agenda items III (a) (ii), III (b) and IV (d) (iv) respectively.
(b)Report of the Subcommittee on Resolution under section 35(11) of the Airport Authority Ordinance (Cap. 483)
(PLC Paper No. CB(1) 687 tabled at the meeting and issued vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 772 on 22 December 1997)
36.Members noted that Mr HO Sai-chu had reported under agenda item IV (d) (ii) above.
VII.Any other business
(a) PLC Fun Day
37.The Chairman reminded members that the PLC Fun Day would be held on the following day (i.e. 20 December 1997). He said that the Chief Executive, several principal Government officials and some 80 reporters would participate in the event.
38.On behalf of members, the Chairman thanked Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun for her assistance in arranging the acquisition of sports wear for participants.
(b) Date of next meeting
39.The Chairman reminded members that the next meeting of the House Committee would be held on 2 January 1998 at 2:30 pm.
40.The meeting ended at 3:10 pm.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
30 December 1997