PLC Paper No. CB(2) 492
Ref : PLC/HC/4
House Committee of the Provisional Legislative Council
Minutes of the 22nd meeting
held at the Legislative Council Chamber
at 2:30 pm on Friday, 24 October 1997
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
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 Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon YUEN Mo
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
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 LAU Kong-wah
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon LO Suk-ching
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Members absent :
Hon NG Leung-sing
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
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 Yuen-han
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
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
- Miss Anita HO
- Assistant Legal Adviser 2
- Miss Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- 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 21st meeting held on
17 October 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 461)
1. The minutes were confirmed.
II. Matters arising
Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration
(a) Introduction of subsidiary legislation into Council
2. The Chairman said that the Chief Executive announced in his Policy Address that elections to the first Legislative Council of the HKSAR would be held on 24 May 1998. As nominations of candidates for the elections would most probably commence in mid-April 1998, this meant that the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) would unlikely hold any meeting after mid-April.
3. The Chairman further said that it had been agreed with the Administration that an item of subsidiary legislation should as far as possible be made effective 35 days after it had been tabled so that Members could, if they so wished, exercise their power of intervention under section 34 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance before the item of subsidiary legislation in question came into operation. The Chairman suggested and members agreed that the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS) should be requested to ensure that -
- any item of subsidiary legislation intended to be scrutinized by PLC should be gazetted before mid-March 1998; and
- those items of subsidiary legislation that were to be made in April 1998 should, as far as possible, come into force after July 1998 so as to allow the first Legislative Council to scrutinize and amend them, if necessary, before they came into operation.
(b) Subsidiary legislation on Mandatory Provident Fund System
4. The Chairman said that according to the Administration, the draft subsidiary legislation on the Mandatory Provident Fund System would not be available until mid-November 1997. The Chairman added that he and the Deputy Chairman would again raise with CS that there would not be adequate time for Members to study the subsidiary legislation should there be further delay.
5. Mr Edward HO said that the Town Planning Bill, which was on the list of bills to be introduced into PLC, involved controversial and complex issues. He asked the Chairman to request the Administration to introduce the Bill into the Council as early as possible to allow Members adequate time to examine the Bill in detail and to receive deputations as there would definitely be submissions.
6. In response to Messrs Ronald ARCULLI and James TIEN, the Chairman said that of the 19 bills intended to be dealt with by PLC, only four had so far been introduced. The Chairman said that he would again remind the Administration to introduce the remaining 15 bills as soon as possible, and also to abide by the deadline of mid-February 1998 for introducing bills into PLC.
III. Business arising from previous Council meetings
Legal Service Division report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 22 October 1997 (gazetted on 17 October 1997)
(PLC Paper No. LS 39)
7. The Legal Adviser said that there were 10 items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 17 October 1997, eight of which involved fee increases intended to achieve full cost recovery. Tables of comparison between the existing levels of fees charged and the proposed increases, together with the justifications for the increases, were set out in the relevant PLC Briefs.
8. The Chairman pointed out that the increase proposed in some items was quite high. Mr James TIEN suggested and members agreed that a subcommittee be formed to study the subsidiary legislation relating to fee increases. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mr James TIEN, Mr Edward HO, Mr Henry WU, Mr Ronald ARCULLI and Mr CHAN Kam-lam.
9. Members raised no queries on the remaining two items of subsidiary legislation which involved an Exemption Order made under the Railways Ordinance and amendments to the Statutes of the Chinese University of Hong Kong made under the Chinese University of Hong Kong Ordinance respectively.
IV. Further business for the Council meeting on 29 October 1997
Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
(a) Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Bill 1997
10. The Chairman said that members agreed at the last meeting that the Second Reading debate on the Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Bill 1997 be resumed. The Secretary for Education and Manpower had subsequently given notice for the Bill to resume its Second Reading debate at the Council meeting on 29 October 1997.
11. Mr CHAN Wing-chan said that Miss CHAN Yuen-han, who had given notice to move a Committee stage amendment (CSA) to the Bill, had just been hospitalized to undergo an operation. Miss CHAN had asked him to request the House Committee to consider asking the Administration to defer the resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Bill to 5 November 1997 so that she could move her amendment.
12. The Chairman said that the Bill sought to make 1 July and 1 October statutory holidays in place of the existing two loating�holidays under the Employment Ordinance as well as to make 1 May a statutory holiday with effect from 1999 instead of 1998 as provided under the Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Ordinance 1997. In his view, there was no urgency for the PLC to deal with the Bill on 29 October 1997.
13. Members agreed that the resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Bill should be deferred to 5 November 1997.
(b) Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997
14. Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Chairman of the Bills Committee on the Bill, informed members that the Administration had proposed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 29 October 1997. He said that the Bills Committee did not come to a view as to whether the Administration proposal should be supported.
15. The Chairman pointed out that should members agree to support the Administration proposal, the President approval would need to be sought under Rule 54(5) of the Rules of Procedure. Members who wished to propose CSAs would also need to seek the President waiver of the notice requirement under Rule 57(2).
16. The Chairman added that should the Second Reading debate on the Bill take place at the meeting on 29 October 1997, there might not be the need for the Council to deal with the Administration resolution which sought to extend suspension period of the three labour-related ordinances covered in the Bill until 30 November 1997. He invited members to give their views.
17. Mr HO Sai-chu and Mr WONG Siu-yee said that the Bills Committee had already completed detailed scrutiny of the Bill and the Administration had agreed to move CSAs to address the Bills Committee concerns. They therefore supported the Administration proposal.
18. Mr LEE Kai-ming and Mr Andrew WONG were of the view that if the Administration proposal was agreed to, it would not be fair to non-Bills Committee members who might wish to propose amendments to the Bill.
19. The Chairman put the matter to vote. There were 12 votes for and 6 votes against the Administration proposal with 13 abstentions. He declared that the House Committee agreed to support the resumption of Second Reading debate on the Bill on 29 November 1997.
V. Business for the Council meeting on 5 November 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 278)
20. The meeting noted that only 12 questions seeking written replies had been scheduled for the Council meeting on 5 November 1997. In response to Mr Howard YOUNG, Assistant Secretary General 3 said that Members who wished to ask questions seeking a written reply at the meeting should submit their questions to the Secretariat by Monday, 27 October 1997.
(b) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
21. No notice had been received.
(c) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
22. The Chairman said that members had earlier agreed that resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Employment (Amendment) (No. 5) Bill 1997 be deferred to 5 November 1997.
Resolution under section 29I(2) of the Stamp Duty Ordinance (Cap. 117) - to be moved by the Secretary for the Treasury
(PLC Paper No. LS 40)
23. Referring to the paper, the Chairman said that the resolution sought to extend the measure to charge stamp duty on all agreements for sale of residential property for a further period of two years until the end of 1999. The measure was first introduced in January 1992 to help dampen speculation on residential property. The validity of the measure, which had been extended on two occasions in November 1993 and December 1995 respectively, was due to expire on 31 December 1997.
24. The Legal Adviser said that the background information and reasons for the extension were set out in the paper and the relevant PLC Brief. He added that the legal and drafting aspects of the resolution were in order but members might wish to consider the policy aspects.
25. Mr Edward HO said that given the current state of the property market, it would be necessary to review the need for such a measure. He suggested and members agreed that a subcommittee should be formed to study the resolution. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Edward HO, Mr Eric LI and Mr Henry WU. The meeting noted that the Secretary for the Treasury would be asked to defer moving the resolution to a later meeting.
(i) Motion on 幈pposing the expansion of the labour importation schemes�- to be moved by Mr CHAN Kam-lam
(ii) Motion on 焅ormulating policy on 飡nformation Society� - to be moved by Miss CHOY So-yuk
26. The Chairman said that Mr CHAN Kam-lam and Miss CHOY So-yuk had proposed that the order of the two debates on their respective motions at the Council meeting on 5 November 1997 be reversed. Members agreed.
VI. Advance information on motions for the Council meeting on
12 November 1997
(a) Motion on ecruiting Native-speaking English language teachers in Hong Kong schools�- to be moved by Mrs Elsie TU
27. Mr Andrew WONG pointed out that according to PLC Paper No. CB(3) 278 (agenda item V(a)), Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung would ask a question at the meeting on 5 November 1997 covering the same subject matter as that of Mrs TU motion. He said that under the rule of anticipation, a motion debate was considered a more effective way of debating the subject matter than a question. Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung agreed to withdraw his question.
(b) Motion on rivate residential buildings safety examination scheme�- to be moved by Mr TSANG Yok-shing
28. The Chairman said that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendment to, the above motions were 28 October 1997 and 5 November 1997 respectively.
(a) Position report on Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 467)
29. Referring to the paper, the Chairman said that two subcommittees and two Bills Committees were in action.
(b) Report of the Bills Committee on Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(1) 380 - tabled at the meeting and circulated vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 495 on 27 October 1997)
30. Mr CHAN Kam-lam introduced the paper and drew members�attention to the proposed new section 45 which dealt with affiliation of local trade unions with organizations in foreign countries. He said that the Administration view was that Article 148 of the Basic Law had already set out clearly that the relationship between labour organizations in Hong Kong and their counterparts in the Mainland hall be based on the principles of non-subordination, non-interference and mutual respect� As regards affiliation with organizations in Taiwan, the Administration advice was that similar principles had also been set out in the Seven Principles governing Hong Kong handling of Taiwan-related matters after 30 June 1997 announced by the Central People Government in June 1995.
31. The Chairman said that members had earlier agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 29 October 1997.
VIII. Any other business
(a) Election of Members to the Court of the University of Hong Kong
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 419)
32. In accordance with the procedures set out in paragraph 4 of the paper, Mrs Peggy LAM was elected to serve on the court of the University of Hong Kong.
33. The Chairman suggested and members agreed that the University of Hong Kong be invited to review Statute XV of the University of Hong Kong Ordinance which provided for a LegCo Member to continue to serve as Court member even if he ceased to be a LegCo Member during the three-year term.
(b) Additional monthly payment to elderly Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients
34. Mr WONG Siu-yee said that the Panel on Welfare Services at its meeting on 21 October 1997 passed a motion requesting that the additional monthly payment of $380 to the elderly CSSA recipients be made with effect from October 1997 and objecting to the cancellation of the annual Chinese New Year Grant and the Social and Recreational Activities Grant. He added that the Panel had requested the Administration to consider the motion.
35. In response to the Chairman, the Secretary General said that similar to a Member motion without legislative effect passed by the Council, the motion passed by the Panel had no binding effect on the Administration.
36. Mr WONG Siu-yee invited members to give their views on whether they supported the motion. The Chairman asked Mr WONG to forward the wording of the motion to the Clerk to the House Committee so that it could be put on the agenda for discussion at the meeting on 31 October 1997.
(c) Financial crisis
CAS(1)4 37. Mr Eric LI said that there had been much public concern about the current financial crisis surrounding the Hong Kong dollar and the Hong Kong stock market. He suggested that the Panel on Financial Affairs should consider convening an urgent meeting to discuss with the Administration measures to deal with the crisis. Mr James TIEN added that the meeting should be open to non-Panel members. Members agreed.
38. The Chairman asked the Secretariat to contact the Chairman of the Panel, Mr Paul CHENG, who was not present at the meeting, on Mr LI suggestion.
39. The meeting ended at 3:10 pm.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
29 October 1997
Last Updated on 3 November 1997