Provisional Legislative Council
PLC Paper No. CB(2) 690
Ref : PLC/HC/4
House Committee of the Provisional Legislative CouncilMembers present :
Minutes of the meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber at 4:06 pm on Friday, 28 November 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 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
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
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 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 NGAN Kam-chuen
Hon LO Suk-ching
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Members absent :
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying, JP
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
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
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
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
- Ms Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Miss Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Mr Stephen LAM
- Assistant Legal Adviser 4
- Mrs Anna LO
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Ms Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Miss Odelia LEUNG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1) 1
- 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 26th meeting held on 21 November 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 657)
1.The minutes were confirmed.
Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration
(i) Registration of electors
2.The Chairman said that the Administration had sent out letters to remind people who were eligible for permanent resident status to apply for such status quickly in order to become eligible to vote in the Legislative Council election in May next year. In addition, the Administration would put out an Announcement of Public Interest (API) to publicize the message.
3.He further said that the Administration had undertaken to consider the Deputy Chairman's suggestion that the approval letter issued by the Immigration Department in respect of an application for verification of eligibility for permanent resident status should be accepted for the purpose of voter registration, pending the issue of an identity card for permanent resident.
|4.Mrs Elsie TU asked whether the Administration had corrected the message carried in the television API that a person would be eligible to vote if he or she had resided in Hong Kong for more than seven years. The Chairman said he would bring this matter up again at the next meeting with CS.||Chairman
Mr Andrew WONG said that to expedite the registration process, the Immigration Department should enclose a voter registration form when sending out the approval letter to the applicant concerned. The Chairman said that he would convey Mr WONG's suggestion to the Administration.
(ii) Mandatory Provident Fund System
5.The Chairman said that the Administration hoped that the Provident Fund Schemes Legislation (Amendment) Bill 1997 and the subsidiary legislation could be passed within the term of 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) Cross-Harbour Tunnel (Cross-Harbour Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 (Amendment) Bill 1997
Tate's Cairn Tunnel (Tate's Cairn Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 (Amendment) Bill 1997
(PLC Paper No. LS 50)
6.Referring to the paper, the Legal Adviser said that the two Amendment Bills sought to defer the commencement of the Cross-Harbour Tunnel (Cross-Harbour Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 and the Tate's Cairn Tunnel (Tate's Cairn Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 from 1 January 1998 to 1 March 1999 and 1 May 1999 respectively. He added that the two Amendment Ordinances were enacted in order to raise the air quality standard in the tunnels concerned. The legal and drafting aspects of the Bills were in order.
7.The Chairman said that the Administration briefed the Panel on Transport on the Bills on 14 November 1997. Panel members were generally in support of the two Bills.
8.Members agreed that the debate on Second Reading of the Bills be resumed.
(ii) Provident Fund Schemes Legislation (Amendment) Bill 1997
(PLC Paper No. LS 48)
9.The Legal Adviser said that the main changes to the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance proposed in the Bill were highlighted in the paper. He added that members agreed at the last meeting that a Bills Committee should be formed to study the Bill after its introduction into the Council on 26 November 1997.
10.The Chairman said the Bill proposed 100 items of amendments to the principal Ordinance and consequential amendments to 11 other ordinances. To expedite work, the Secretariat had invited membership in anticipation of the formation of the Bills Committee. A total of 17 Members had indicated their agreement to join the Bill Committee and the first meeting would be held on 1 December 1997 to commence detailed scrutiny of the Bill.
(b) Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 26 November 1997 (gazetted on 21 November 1997)
(PLC Paper No. LS 49)
11.The Legal Adviser briefly explained the content of the six items of subsidiary legislation detailed in the paper.
12.Referring to the Human Organ Transplant Regulation, the Chairman said that three bodies in the medical profession were studying the Regulation. He suggested that a decision on the need to form a subcommittee be deferred to the next meeting on 5 December 1997. Members agreed.
13.Mr IP Kwok-him said that the Subcommittee on subsidiary legislation relating to Legislative Council election had completed scrutiny of the Declaration of Constituencies (Legislative Council) Order 1997 and the Legislative Council (Registration of Electors) (Appeals) Regulation. A written report would be presented to the House Committee at the meeting on 5 December 1997.
14.Members raised no queries on the other four items of subsidiary legislation covered in the paper.
15.The Chairman informed members that the deadline for giving notice to amend the subsidiary legislation on 17 December 1997 was 10 December 1997.
IV.Further business for the Council meeting on 3 December 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 380)
16.Members noted that 18 questions (6 oral and 12 written) had been scheduled for the Council meeting on 3 December 1997.
(b) Subsidiary legislation relating to Legislative Council election tabled in Council on 5 November 1997
17.Mr IP Kwok-him said that he would move a motion at the Council meeting on 3 December 1997 to extend the scrutiny period of the Electoral Affairs Commission (Registration of Electors) (Geographical Constituencies) (Legislative Council) Regulation to 10 December 1997. Mr IP would present a further report under agenda item VII(b).
18.The Chairman said that the deadline for giving notice to amend the Regulation on 10 December 1997 was 3 December 1997.
V.Business for the Council meeting on 10 December 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 381)
19.The Chairman said that 14 questions (6 oral and 8 written) had so far been tentatively scheduled. He reminded members that the deadline for giving notice of questions scheduled for the Council meeting on 10 December 1997 was 1 December 1997.
(b) Bill - 1st and 2nd Readings
Mass Transit Railway Corporation (Amendment) Bill 1997
20.The Chairman said that the Bill, which was on the list of bills to be dealt with by the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC), would be introduced into the Council on 10 December 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 19 December 1997.
(c) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
21.No notice had been received.
Resolution under section 86 of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 487) - to be moved by the Secretary for Health and Welfare
(PLC Paper No. LS 52)
22.The Legal Adviser said that the resolution sought the Council's approval for the Disability Discrimination (Proceedings by Equal Opportunities Commission) Regulation made by the Secretary for Health and Welfare. The Regulation, which was modelled on similar regulations made under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance and the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance, empowered the Equal Opportunities Commission to bring legal proceedings under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance in its own name in circumstances specified under the Regulation. The legal and drafting aspects of the resolution were in order.
23.Members raised no queries on the resolution.
(e) Members' motions
(i) Motion on 'speeding up the pace of urban renewal "
24.Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr IP Kwok-him.
(ii) Motion on " Review of social welfare subvention system "
25.Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr HUI Yin-fat.
26.The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 3 December 1997. The normal speaking time limits would apply.
VI.Advance information on motions for the Council meeting on 17 December 1997
(a) Motion on " Developing Hong Kong's high value-added industries'
27.Members noted that Prof NG Ching-fai had given notice to move the above motion.
(b) Motion on " Improving the services of Lo Wu border control points'
28.Members noted that Mr LAU Kong-wah had given notice to move the above motion.
29.The Chairman said that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments if any, to the above motions were 2 December 1997 and 10 December 1997 respectively.
(a) Position report on Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 662)
30.The Chairman said that there were two Subcommittees and one Bills Committee in action.
(b) First report of the Subcommittee on subsidiary legislation relating to Legislative Council election
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 675)
31.Mr IP Kwok-him said that details of the Subcommittee's deliberations on the Electoral Affairs Commission (Registration of Electors) (Geographical Constituencies) (Legislative Council) Regulation and the Electrical Affairs Commission (Registration) (Electors for Functional Constituencies) (Votes for Subsectors) (Members of Election Committee) (Legislative Council) Regulation were set out in the paper. He added that the Electoral Affairs Commission had agreed to make a number of technical amendments to the two Regulations in response to the Subcommittee's views.
32.Referring to the use of the Chinese character
or in the Chinese translation of the term " identity document , Mr IP said that the Administration had provided a paper belatedly to the Subcommittee to explain why was used instead of . To allow members more time to consider the paper, he would move a motion at the Council meeting on 3 December 1997 to extend the scrutiny period of the Electoral Affairs Commission (Registration of Electors) (Geographical Constituencies) (Legislative Council) Regulation to 10 December 1997.
Mr Edward HO said that according to information obtained by his office, the processing time of an application for permanent resident status would take two to three months, instead of six weeks as mentioned in the paper. He asked whether the Administration had been requested to speed up the processing of such applications so that the applicants concerned could be registered as electors before the deadline for registration on 16 January 1998.
33.Mr Howard YOUNG said that to his knowledge, the Immigration Department had so far been able to process such applications within six weeks. However, the Department might have difficulty in adhering to this time frame if a large number of persons applied for permanent resident status at the same time.
34.Mr IP Kwok-him said that the Administration had been sending out letters to the persons concerned in batches advising them to apply for permanent resident status as soon as possible. According to the Administration, the last batch of letters would be sent out by the end of November 1997. He added that as reported by the Chairman, the Administration had been asked to consider the suggestion that the approval letter issued by the Immigration Department in respect of an application for verification of eligibility for permanent resident status should be accepted for the purpose of voter registration.
35.Mr Andrew WONG suggested that applicants for permanent resident status should be allowed to conditionally register as electors. Subject to their permanent resident status being verified by the Immigration Department, their names would be listed on the Final Register before it was finalized by 15 March 1998.
|36.The Chairman said that he would reflect members' views to the Administration.||Chairman
(c) Report of the Subcommittee on four Buildings (Amendment) Regulations gazetted on 7 November 1997
37.Mr Edward HO said that the Subcommittee had held one meeting with the Administration to discuss the four Regulations, in particular the requirement set out in the Building (Administration) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulation 1997 relating to the timing of submission of the personal particulars, qualifications and experience of the operators of equipment and mechanical plants used in demolition works. He added that a further meeting would be held on 2 December 1997 at which members would decide whether the scrutiny period of the Regulations should be extended to 17 December 1997.
38.The Chairman reminded members that the deadline for giving notice to amend the Regulations on 10 December 1997 was 3 December 1997 and the deadline for giving notice to extend the scrutiny period of the Regulations was 5 December 1997.
VIII.Any other business
(a) Election of Members to the Council of the Chinese University of Hong Kong
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 666)
39.The Chairman said that it was reported in some newspapers that the Student Union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong had raised objection to PLC Members serving on the University Council. He pointed out that PLC Members had a responsibility to elect representatives to serve on the University Council as stipulated in Statute 11 made under the Chinese University of Hong Kong Ordinance (Cap. 1109).
40.In response to Mr Andrew WONG, the Legal Adviser explained that section 6 of the Hong Kong Reunification Ordinance (Ord. No. 110 of 1997) stipulated that " Any references in any law to the Legislative Council shall, as the case may require, be construed as including a reference to the Provisional Legislative Council " . This provision also applied to the Chinese University of Hong Kong Ordinance.
41.Members endorsed the nomination and election procedure set out in paragraph 3 of the paper and noted that nomination for three Members to serve on the University Council would be conducted at the next House Committee meeting on 5 December 1997.
(b) Proposed formation of Parliamentary Liaison Subcommittee
(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 385)
42.Introducing the paper, the Chairman explained the background to the proposed formation of a Parliamentary Liaison Subcommittee.
|43.Members endorsed the formation of a Parliamentary Liaison Subcommittee as proposed in paragraph 5 of the paper. The Chairman said that the Secretariat would issue a circular inviting applications to join the Subcommittee.||CAS(3)2
(c) Tabling of annual reports and statements of accounts of public bodies in Council
44.Mr Eric LI said that a number of public bodies were required by law to table their annual reports and statements of accounts in Council within three months following the end of the current fiscal year in March 1998. He expressed concern that these bodies might have difficulty in meeting the statutory deadlines for tabling the reports, given that the PLC would unlikely hold any further meetings after 8 April 1998. He suggested that the Administration should be asked to co-ordinate the tabling of these reports.
45.The Legal Adviser explained that in the majority of cases, the ordinances of the public bodies concerned would either contain provisions allowing the tabling of such reports in Council outside the statutory deadline with the approval of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR or provisions stipulating that such reports could be tabled in the Council as soon as it was practicable to do so.
|46.The Chairman said that there might be a need for the Administration to co-ordinate the tabling of annual reports and statements of accounts of public bodies in Council. He would raise the matter with CS.
47.The meeting ended at 4:50 pm.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
3 December 1997