Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(2) 204

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, 22 August 1997

Members present :

Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP (Chairman)
Hon IP Kwok-him (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
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 Selina CHOW, JP
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
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 CHAN Choi-hi
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
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 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 KAN Fook-yee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk

Members absent :

Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
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)

Miss Anita HO
Assistant Legal Adviser 2

Mr Arthur CHEUNG
Assistant Legal Adviser 5

Mr LAW Wing-lok
Assistant Secretary General 3 (Acting)

Ms Kathleen LAU
Chief Public Information Officer

Miss Erica WONG
Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints) (Acting)

Miss Flora TAI
Senior Assistant Secretary (2)3

Mrs Eleanor CHOW
Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8

I.Confirmation of the minutes of the 15th meeting held on 15 August 1997

(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 160)

1.The minutes were confirmed.

II.Matters arising

Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration

(Director of Administration's letter on Government's Legislative Programme dated 16 August 1997 attached)

2.Referring members to the letter from the Acting Director of Administration dated 16 August 1997, the Chairman said that 19 bills would be introduced into the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC). Chief Secretary for Administration (CS) had emphasized that the contents and timing of the bills had yet to be confirmed, but the Administration would keep PLC informed.

3.The Chairman added that CS had also said that for bills which had been introduced into the previous Legislative Council but which had subsequently been withdrawn at its request, the Administration could not argue that they were essential to the normal operation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and would present them to the first Legislative Council of the HKSAR. As regards the subsidiary legislation on Mandatory Provident Fund, he would ask CS to let Members have the drafts in batches to facilitate early scrutiny. Chairman

4.Miss CHAN Yuen-han said that she did not agree that all the 19 bills were absolutely essential to the normal operation of the SAR and therefore had to be dealt with by PLC. She opined that those bills which dealt with Ordinances already passed by the former Legislative Council should be excluded from the list. Raising similar concern, Mr Bruce LIU said that the Housing (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, for instance, should not be on the list. The Chairman said that the Director of Administration had explained in his letter that all the 19 bills were essential to the normal operation of the HKSAR Government.

5.Mrs Selina CHOW said that while members might have different views on whether or not a bill was essential, it would be the Administration's prerogative to introduce bills into PLC.

6.Mr Eric LI suggested that the Administration should as far as possible brief the relevant Panel before a bill was introduced into the Council and also explain why a bill was essential to the operation of the SAR. Members agreed.Chairman

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)

  1. Legislative Council Bill
  2. (PLC Paper No. LS 20)

    7.The Acting Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to provide for the legal framework for the conduct of the first SAR Legislative Council election. The Legal Service Division was still scrutinizing the legal aspect of the Bill and recommended that a Bills Committee be formed given the important matters of policy involved.

    8.The Chairman informed members that the Administration had provided in the PLC Brief on the Bill a timetable which listed out the activities leading to the first SAR Legislative Council election. He said that the Bill should be accorded top priority given that the election for the first SAR Legislative Council should be held as early as possible. He urged members who would be joining the Bills Committee to make their best efforts to attend all meetings. He also asked members who intended to move amendments to the Bill to let the Bills Committee have the details at an early stage to facilitate deliberation.

    9.Responding to Mr CHAN Kam-lam, the Chairman undertook to seek details on the related subsidiary legislation, such as the number of items involved.

    10.Members agreed that a Bills Committee should be formed to study the Bill. The following members agreed to join: Dr Raymond HO, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mrs Elsie TU, Mrs Peggy LAM, Mr YUEN Mo, Mrs Sophie LEUNG, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr TSANG Yok-shing, Mr Howard YOUNG, Dr Charles YEUNG and Mr Ambrose LAU.

    11.Assistant Secretary General 2 informed members that the first meeting of the Bills Committee would be held on the following Thursday, 28 August 1997 at 10:45 am. Members who wished to join the Bills Committee should inform the Secretariat by 12:00 noon on Wednesday, 27 August 1997. A notice would be issued.

  3. Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997

  4. (PLC Paper No. LS 19)

    12.The Acting Legal Adviser explained the objects of the Bill and informed members that the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were in order.

    13.Responding to Mrs Selina CHOW, the Acting Legal Adviser said that the citizenship requirement in the Basic Law referred to the permanent Chief Justice. As the Bill only relaxed the provisions for the appointment of an acting Chief Justice, the Bill apparently was not inconsistent with the Basic Law.

    14.Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.

(b)Further report by the Legal Service Division on Legal Services Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 1997 (94 of 1997) Commencement Notice 1997 (L.N. 413)
(PLC Paper No. LS 18)

15.The Acting Legal Adviser said that the Administration had replied that validity of the first commencement notice was doubtful and disputes arising from sale and purchase agreements entered into between 30 June 1997 and 7 August 1997 would ultimately be a matter for the court to decide. He added that the Department of Justice was trying to ascertain the number of cases, if any, which were affected. As it was uncertain that an amendment with retrospective effect could avoid the uncertainties, he suggested and members agreed that the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services should follow-up the matter. CAS(2)4

(c)Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 20 August 1997 (gazetted on 15 August 1997)
(PLC Paper No. LS 17)

16. The Acting Legal Adviser said that the two items were technical matters and the drafting aspect of the subsidiary legislation was in order.

17.Members raised no queries on the subsidiary legislation.

IV.Further business for the Council meeting on 27 August 1997

  1. Questions

  2. (PLC Paper No. CB(3) 99)

    18.The Chairman said that Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung and Mr CHOY Kan-pui had submitted new questions before the deadline. He urged members that after notice had been given for a particular question to be asked, the member should as far as possible avoid replacing it with a new one so as not to create unnecessary work for the Administration.

  3. Bill - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading

    Electoral Affairs Commission Bill

  4. 19.The Chairman advised members that the Administration, the Bills Committee and Mr LAU Kong-wah had given notice to move separate Committee stage amendments (CSAs) to the Bill. The Chairman reiterated that it would be useful if an individual Member who intended to move CSA could, if possible, let the Bills Committee have the details before the Bills Committee concluded its deliberation.

  5. Motions

    Two resolutions under section 31 of the Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance (Cap. 174) and section 3(4) of the Legitimacy Ordinance (Cap. 184) - to be moved by the Secretary for Security

  6. 20.The Chairman informed members that the Administration had withdrawn the notice to move the two resolutions at the Council meeting on 27 August 1997.

V.Business for the Council meeting on 3 September 1997

  1. Questions

  2. (PLC Paper No. CB(3) 100)

    21.20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.

  3. Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
  4. 22.No notice had been received.

  5. Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
  6. 23.No notice had been received.

  7. Member's motions
  1. Resolution on Council Emblem
  2. 24.The Chairman said that he would move the resolution in his capacity as Deputy Chairman of the Provisional Legislative Council Commission.

    25.In response to Mrs Elsie TU, the Secretary General said that according to the Director of Administration, the Administration had no objection to the proposed design of the emblem.

  3. Motion on “Setting up of ‘Senior citizens’ Paradise”
  4. 26.Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr WONG Siu-yee.

  5. Motion on “Supervising Hong Kong railways”
  6. 27.Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr LAU Kong-wah.

    28.The Chairman informed members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 27 August 1997. In relation to the debates on (ii) and (iii), the normal speaking time limits would apply.

VI.Advance information on motions for the Council meeting on 10 September 1997

  1. Motion on “Designating a Teacher's Day”
  2. 29.Members noted that Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung had given notice to move the above motion.

  3. Motion on “Review of district administration”
  4. 30.Members noted that Mr CHAN Choi-hi had given notice to move the above motion.

    31.The Chairman advised members that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments, if any, to the above motions were 26 August 1997 and 3 September respectively.


  1. Report of the Bills Committee on Electoral Affairs Commission Bill
  2. (PLC Paper No. CB(2) 172)

    32.Members noted the report.

  3. Report of the Subcommittee on resolution under section 5(3)(b) of the Public Bus Services Ordinance

  4. (PLC Paper No. CB(1) 162)

    33.Dr Raymond HO, Chairman of the Subcommittee, reported on the deliberations of the Subcommittee. He said that members of the Subcommittee generally agreed to support the Resolution but emphasized the need for a monitoring mechanism to ensure the service quality and to control the fare increases of the Kowloon Motor Bus Company Limited after the abolition of the Profit Control Scheme. The Panel on Transport would follow-up the matter.

    34.The Chairman informed members that the Administration had given notice to move the resolution on 27 August 1997.

  5. Consultation paper on the proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure recommended by the Working Group on Rules of Procedure

  6. (PLC Paper No. CB(2) 142)

    35.Mrs Selina CHOW, Convenor of the Working Group, introduced the paper. She said that the Working Group had recommended that certain provisions in the Rules of Procedure (ROP) be amended, and that the Working Group be dissolved upon the provision of a Committee on Rules of Procedure. She added that views received from Members in early May 1997 regarding whether the Working Group should become a committee of the Council or a subcommittee of the House Committee were divided. After further deliberation, the Working Group concluded that there should be one central committee to deal with all matters relating to the procedural rules of the Council and a committee set up under the Council should be more appropriate. Subject to members' agreement, she would give notice to move two separate resolutions for the amended Rules to be adopted at the Council meeting on 10 September 1997.

    36.In response to the Chairman's question on the relationship between the Working Group and the House Committee, Mrs Selina CHOW said that any committee could request the Committee on Rules of Procedure to study its procedure. On completion of its study, the Committee on Rules of Procedure would report its deliberations and recommendations to the committee concerned.

    37.Mr IP Kwok-him said that he was concerned about the lack of consultation with and consensus among members if matters relating to changes of procedure were not discussed by the House Committee before they were debated in Council. Moreover, if the committee concerned consisted of only a few Members, other Members might not be aware of the changes. The Chairman shared Mr IP's views.

    38.Mrs Selina CHOW said that it was within the authority of a committee to decide its procedure provided that the latter was consistent with the Rules of Procedure. She added that as any changes to the Rules of Procedure required the approval of the Council, all Members would be aware of the proposed changes. The Secretary General pointed out that as the Council agenda would be discussed by the House Committee, members would be able to give views if such a resolution was put forward.

    39.Members agreed to defer a decision until the next meeting.

VIII.Any other business

Question to be asked by Dr Hon Raymond HO

40.Dr Raymond HO said that he would like to seek members' support for him to ask an urgent question without the required notice at the Council meeting on 27 August 1997. He pointed out that the Administration had an obligation to inform the Council of the progress of the territory-wide slope maintenance works. A copy of Dr HO's speaking note is in the Appendix.

41.The Chairman informed members that Rule 24(4) of the Rules of Procedure provided for a Member to request the President's permission to ask a question without notice on the ground that 'it is of an urgent character and relates to a matter of public importance', and that sufficient private notice had been given to the Administration. He added that House Rule 10 stated that the Member concerned should first seek the agreement of the House Committee, to assist the President in considering the request.

42.In response to the Chairman's question, Assistant Secretary General 2 said that if the question was to join the queue in the normal manner, it would be scheduled for the Council meeting on 24 September 1997.

43.Members generally felt the question was important but some members did not considered it sufficiently urgent. One member suggested swapping the question with another one scheduled for an earlier Council meeting. Some members however expressed concern that an undesirable precedent would be set as a result.

44.Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Ronald ARCULLI and Mr IP Kwok-him pointed out that the question required a detailed and in-depth discussion with the Administration and therefore would most suitably be dealt with by the relevant Panel. Members agreed.

45.The Chairman said that Mr Edward HO, the Chairman of the Panel on Planning, Lands and Works, would be asked to hold a special meeting to discuss the matter. CAS(1)1

46.The meeting ended at 3:44 pm.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
27 August 1997