Provisional Legislative Council
PLC Paper No. CB(2) 1068
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, 20 February 1998
Members present :
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 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 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 Henry WU
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 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 Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-Hong
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Hon LO Suk-ching
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Members absent :
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying, JP
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon KAN Fook-yee
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
- 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
- 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 33rd meeting held on 13 February 1998
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 1026)
1.The minutes were confirmed.
II. Matters arising
(a) Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS)
2.The Chairman said that CS had been informed of the House Committees decision that the Administration should withdraw its notice for moving the resolution under section 25 of the Mass Transit Railway Corporation Ordinance at the Council meeting on 25 February 1998. CSs response was that a decision on whether the notice should be withdrawn would await the outcome of the first meeting of the subcommittee formed to study the proposed resolution. The Chairman said that the Administration should not move the resolution on 25 February 1998 so as to enable the subcommittee to report the deliberations to the House Committee, and Members to give notice to move amendments, if necessary.
3.The Chairman added that the Secretary for the Treasury would explain the Administrations principles for fee-charging during the debate on the resolutions to repeal the 15 items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 16 January 1998 relating to fee increases.
(b) Updating of the House Rules (as recommended by the Committee on Rules of Procedure)
(PLC Paper No. CB(1) 841 issued vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 995 on 11 February 1998)
4.The Chairman said that members agreed at the last meeting that a decision on the recommendations set out in paragraphs 4 and 6 of the paper be deferred to this meeting. He invited members views on the recommendations.
5.Members agreed to the proposals detailed in paragraph 4(a), (b) and (c) of the paper. The Chairman said that a recommendation would be made to the President that the recommended speaking time limits set out in the revised Rule 17(c) of the House Rules be adopted with immediate effect i.e. from the Council meeting on 25 February 1998.
6.Referring to the proposals in paragraph 6 (a) and (b) of the paper, Mr Edward HO said that the Secretariat should, as far as possible, avoid scheduling meetings at the same time slot. Mr James TIEN pointed out that if a Member was no longer interested in participating in the further proceedings of a committee, the Member should resign from the committee. Mrs Selina CHOW said that if Members were not able to attend a particular meeting, they should so inform the Secretariat in advance in order that other arrangements could be made by the Secretariat.
7.The Chairman said that Members were all aware of their duties and responsibilities as legislators and that their performance was subject to public scrutiny. In his view, there was no need to adopt proposals in paragraph 6 (a) and (b). Members agreed.
8.Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that as some Members would be attending meetings of the Ninth National Peoples Congress in Beijing from 2 March 1998 to 18 March 1998, their absence might affect the quorum of committee meetings scheduled to take place during that period. He suggested that consideration be given to having arrangement whereby when Members were away from Hong Kong, they would be temporarily regarded as non-members of the committees in question.
9.The Secretary General pointed out that there would not be sufficient time to amend the Rules of Procedure to address the problem raised by Mr ARCULLI. Mrs Selina CHOW reiterated that if a Member was unable to attend a meeting, the Member should inform the Secretariat in advance. The suggestion made by Mr ARCULLI could be recommended to the first Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for consideration.
III. Business arising from previous Council meetings
(a) Legal Service Divisions report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 18 February 1998 (gazetted on 13 February 1998)
(PLC Paper No. LS 107)
10.The Legal Adviser briefly explained the content of the six items of subsidiary legislation detailed in the paper.
11.Referring to the Mass Transit Railway (Transport Interchange) Regulation made by the Secretary for Transport under the Mass Transit Railway Corporation Ordinance, the Chairman said that the Regulation was related to the Mass Transit Railway (Transport Interchange) Bylaw. He suggested and members agreed that the subcommittee formed to study the Bylaw should also study the Regulation.
12.In reply to Mr James TIENs question about the power of toll area control officers set out in the Tai Lam Tunnel and Yuen Long Approach Road Regulation, the Legal Adviser said that the Regulation empowered a toll area control officer to stop and search vehicles for the purpose of preventing or detecting any contravention of the Bylaw made under the Tai Lam Tunnel and Yuen Long Approach Road Ordinance. The Regulation also prescribed the penalties for failing to comply with any order, signal and requirement given or made by a toll area control officer as well as for obstructing or interfering with a toll area control officer in the performance of his duties.
13.Members raised no queries on the remaining four items of subsidiary legislation covered in the paper.
(b) Legal Service Divisions report on Code of Practice on Employment under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (91 of 1997) (G.N. 635) gazetted on 13 February 1998
(PLC Paper No. LS 108)
14.Referring to the paper, the Legal Adviser explained that the Code of Practice was issued by the Equal Opportunities Commission in accordance with the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance. The Code of Practice, which applied to employment relationships in both the public and private sectors, was designed to help employees, employers and other concerned parties to understand their responsibilities under the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance. He said that the Code of Practice was subject to scrutiny and amendment by the Council in a similar manner as subsidiary legislation gazetted under section 34 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1). He added that the Commission had agreed to make certain technical amendments to both the English and Chinese texts of the Code to address the queries raised by the Legal Service Division.
15.Mr James TIEN said that the guidelines set out in the Code of Practice had the support of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. Mr LEE Kai-ming added that the majority of labour unions had been consulted and their views had been taken into account in drawing up the Code. The Chairman informed members that the President had agreed to waive the normal notice period for motions under Rule 29(1) of the Rules of Procedure. The deadlines for giving notice to amend the Code of Practice on 18 March 1998 or to extend the scrutiny period to 25 March 1998 were 11 March 1998 and 13 March 1998 respectively.
IV. Further business for the Council meeting on 25 February 1998
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 655)
16.The Chairman said that 15 questions (six oral and nine written) had been scheduled.
(b) Bills - resumption of debate on Second Reading, Committee Stage and Third Reading
- Housing (Amendment) Bill 1998
- Hong Kong Bill of Rights (Amendment) Bill 1998
17.The Chairman said that members agreed at the last meeting that the Second Reading debate on the above Bills be resumed on 25 February 1998.
18.The Chairman added that the Second Reading debate on three other Bills previously considered by the House Committee would take place at the Council meeting on 25 February 1998. These included the Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997, the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill 1998 and the Provident Fund Schemes Legislation (Amendment) Bill 1997.
(c) Members motions
15 resolutions under section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) - to be moved by Hon Ronald ARCULLI
19.The Chairman said that Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Chairman of the Subcommittee on subsidiary legislation relating to fee increases, would move resolutions at the Council meeting on 25 February 1998 to repeal 15 items of the subsidiary legislation on fee increases gazetted on 16 January 1998. The House Committee had considered the subcommittees report at the last meeting on 13 February 1998.
V. Business for Council meeting on 4 March 1998
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 656)
20.The Chairman said that six questions (three oral and three written) had been scheduled. He reminded members that the deadline for giving notice of questions was 23 February 1998.
(b) Bills - First and Second Readings
21.No notice had been received.
(c) Bill - resumption of debate on Second Reading, Committee Stage and Third Reading
Road Traffic (Validation of Collection of Fees) Bill
22.The Chairman said that members agreed at the last meeting that the Second Reading debate on the above Bill be resumed. The Administration had given notice to resume the Second Reading debate on 4 March 1998.
Resolution under section 7(1) of the Public Finance Ordinance (Cap. 2) - to be moved by Secretary for the Treasury
(PLC Paper No. LS 104)
23.The Chairman said that the purpose of the resolution was to seek funds on account to enable the Government to carry on existing services between the start of the financial year on 1 April 1998 and the enactment of the Appropriation Ordinance. The legal and drafting aspects of the resolution were in order.
24.The Chairman added that the resolution would cease to have effect should the Appropriation Ordinance be enacted before 1 April 1998.
(e) Members motions
- Motion on "Strengthening the supervision of the safety measures of public transport"
25.Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr CHOY Kan-pui.
- Motion on "Review of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme"
26.Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr TAM Yiu-chung.
27.The Chairman advised members that the deadline of giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 25 February 1998. He added that the speaking time limits set out in the revised Rule 17(c) of the House Rules would apply.
(a) Position report on Bills Committees/subcommittees
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 1030)
28.The Chairman said that there were four subcommittees and nine Bills Committees in action. The Bills Committee on Protection of the Harbour (Amendment) Bill 1997, the Bills Committee on Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1998 and the Subcommittee on subsidiary legislation relating to the Legislative Council election had completed work and would report under agenda items VI(b), (c) and (d) below respectively.
(b) Report of the Bills Committee on Protection of the Harbour (Amendment) Bill 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(1) 968)
29.Dr Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin, Chairman of the Bills Committee, highlighted the main deliberations of the Bills Committee as detailed in the paper. She said that the majority of members of the Bills Committee supported the Bill subject to a Committee stage amendment to be moved by the Administration to amend the definition of "reclamation" to reflect more accurately the policy intention on the scope of application of the "presumption against reclamation" principle.
30.Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 4 March 1998.
(c) Report of the Bills Committee on Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1998
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 1034)
31.Referring to the paper, Mr Howard YOUNG, Chairman of the Bills Committee, said that the deliberations of the Bills Committee focused on the retrospective effect of clause 2 of the Bill which provided for the disapplication of Part IIIA of the Immigration Ordinance. The Bills Committee accepted the Administrations explanation and agreed that clause 2, if enacted, would be deemed to take effect from the gazette date of the Bill (i.e. 9 January 1998). In response to the Chairman, the Legal Adviser said that certain technical amendments to the Bill would be required.
32.Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 4 March 1998.
(d) Sixth report of the Subcommittee on subsidiary legislation relating to Legislative Council election
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 1040)
33.Mr IP Kwok-him, Chairman of the subcommittee, said that the paper covered the sixth and last report of the subcommittee which set out the subcommittees deliberations on the Electoral Affairs Commission (Electoral Procedure) (Legislative Council) Regulation. He highlighted in particular the parts in the paper covering the duty of a candidate ranking first in priority on a geographical constituency list, polling arrangements for functional constituencies, acts constituting an offence within a polling station and candidate numbering system.
34.Mr IP further said that given the compressed time-table for the 1998 Legislative Council election, the subcommittee had agreed to the Administrations proposal that the amendments to the Regulation agreed among the parties concerned would be moved by the subcommittee, rather than for the Electoral Affairs Commission to make amendments to the Regulation in the form of an Amendment Regulation which would be subject to the scrutiny of the Council under section 34 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1). He added that the subcommittee had recommended that the Regulation be supported subject to the amendments to be moved by him on behalf of the subcommittee and agreed by the Administration.
VII. Any other business
Paper from the Committee on Members Interests
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 631)
35.Mrs Miriam LAU, Chairman of the Committee on Members Interests (the Committee), highlighted the deliberations and decisions of the Committee as detailed in the paper.
36.Members noted that the revised Guidelines and Registration Form would be recommended to the first Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
37.The meeting ended at 3:42 pm.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
25 February 1998