Legislative Council

LC Paper No. CB(2)2683/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB2/BC/16/98

Legislative Council Bills Committee on
Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 1999

Minutes of the sixth meeting
held on Friday, 26 March 1999 at 4:30 pm
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building Members Present:

Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP (Chairman)
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon LEE Kai-ming, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Christine LOH
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk

Members Absent :

Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Margaret NG
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon Bernard CHAN
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Attending by Invitation :

Hsin Kuang Restaurant (Holdings) Ltd
Mr Thomas WOO

Federation of Hong Kong Restaurant Owners Limited
Mr William MARK

The Cross-Harbour Tunnel Co. Ltd.
Mr Michael WONG

Fresh Fruit Transportation Association
Miss CHEUNG Wai-oi
Miss CHAN Suk-ying

Hong Kong (Cross Border) Transportation Drivers' Association
Mr LEUNG Kai-wai
Mr WONG Chan-kwan

Rights of Taxi Owners and Drivers Association Ltd.
Mr LAU Kim-wan
Mr CHAN Kim-fung

Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Percy MA
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 3

Staff in Attendance :

Mr Stephen LAM
Assistant Legal Adviser 4

Ms Eleanor CHOW
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 7

I. Meeting with deputations

New Catering Functional Constituency

Hsin Kuang Restaurant (Holdings) Ltd. (HKRL)
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1560/98-99(01))

At the invitation of the Chairman, the representative of the HKRL briefed members on the submission. He said that since he had joined the catering industry some thirty years ago, he had witnessed many instances which illustrated that the industry had been neglected by the Government. Very often the catering industry was ranked below the hotel industry. In the past decade because of the endeavour of the catering industry, the situation had improved. He was pleased to note that the Government had finally included the catering sector as one of the functional constituencies (FC) in the 2000 LegCo election.

2. The representative of HKRL informed members that there were about 10 000 licensed restaurants and some 200 000 people engaged in the catering industry. The catering sector had contributed to the development of Hong Kong's economy. It employed quite a number of people who were relatively older in age. This helped to balance the situation in the employment market. It also helped other catering-related trades such as suppliers of poultry to flourish. Given that Hong Kong was a gourmet paradise, the catering industry had an important role to play in boosting the tourism industry. It was important that the catering sector should have a representative in the LegCo to reflect its views and protect its interest. He pointed out that if the municipal councils were to be abolished in future, all matters concerning the catering sector, such as food hygiene and licensing of restaurants would be brought under the administration of a new body. In that case, a Catering FC in LegCo was even more warranted.

Federations of Hong Kong Restaurant Owners Limited (FHKROL)
(LC Papers Nos. CB(2) 1560/98-99(02) and 1580/98-99(06)

3. The representative of the FHKROL briefed members on the submissions. He said that the catering sector had a significant impact on the economic development of Hong Kong. The business turnover of the catering sector totalled $60 billion in 1997. Without a representative in the LegCo, the catering sector was not able to reflect its concerns and grievances. It felt helpless and hopeless. He cited the example of the sewage charge and the trade effluent surcharge which had been imposed unfairly on the catering industry as a result of its lack of representation in LegCo. The arrangement had resulted in the catering sector shouldering over 80% of the total trade effluent charges, and it had also deterred many investors from entering the catering business. He urged members to support the proposed new Catering FC in the 2000 LegCo election.

Questions from members

4. Mr CHAN Wing-chan wondered whether the representatives of the HKRL and the FHKROL were reflecting the views of their own organisations only or that of the catering sector. The Chairman asked whether the representatives had contacted other catering organisations to gather their views. The representatives replied that it was the view of the catering sector that there should be a seat in the LegCo to represent its interests.

5. Ms Emily LAU said that the Frontier objected to FC elections. She pointed out that all the trades in Hong Kong had their functions and it was unfair that some trades were represented in LegCo while others were not. The catering sector was lucky in the sense that the Government had recognised its function. She disagreed with the representatives that if the catering sector did not have a representative in the LegCo, its interests would be neglected. If the logic applied, all trades should have a representative in LegCo. She suggested that the catering sector should look at the issue from a wider perspective, taking into account also interests of other trades concerned. She said that the Frontier advocated election by "one person, one vote" to ensure fairness in election.

6. In response to Mr Andrew WONG, the representatives of the HKRL said that the catering sector supported the creation of a new Catering FC and its composition as proposed in the Bill.

Transport Functional Constituency

The Cross-Harbour Tunnel Co., Ltd. (CHTCL)
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1563/98-99(01)

7. The representative of the CHTCL briefed members on the submission. He said that it was too early and too soon for the Government to assume that the CHTCL would not win the management contract of the cross harbour tunnel in Hung Hum after its franchise for operating the tunnel expired in August 1999. He held the view that the CHTCL should be retained in the list of electorates for the Transport FC under the Bill.

Fresh Fruit Transportation Association (FFTA)
(LC Paper CB(2) 1560/98-99(03))

8. A representative of the FFTA said that the views of the FFTA were set out in the submission. The FFTA hoped that it could be included as an elector for the Transport FC.

Hong Kong (Cross Border) Transportation Drivers' Association (CBTDA)
(LC Paper CB(2) 1560/98-99(04))

9. Members noted the views of the CBTDA as set out in the submission. A representative said that although the CBTDA was founded in 1998, its core members had operated cross border transportation services since the 1970's and were former executive members of the Organisation of Hong Kong Drivers (OHKD) which was an elector of the Transport FC. CBTDA held the view that it was qualified to be an elector for the Transport FC.

Rights of Taxi Owners and Drivers Association Ltd (RTODA)
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1563/98-99(02))

10. A representative of the RTODA said that although the RTODA was founded in January 1998, its core members were former executive members of the Taxi Operators Association Ltd (TOAL) which was an elector of the Transport FC. He himself was the former Chairman of the TOAL. He said that given that the members of the RTODA had been in the business for more than ten years, it should be included as an elector of the Transport FC. Although he personally supported "one person, one vote", having regard to practical considerations, he did not want the RTODA to be deprived of the right to participate in FC elections.

Questions from members

11. Mr Andrew WONG asked whether other tunnel operators were included as corporate electors of the Transport FC. Mrs Miriam LAU replied in the affirmative. The representative of CHTCL added that companies managing the tunnels such as the Serco Guardian (F.M.) Ltd was also an elector of the Transport FC. Mr WONG said that in that case, the CHTCL should also be included as an elector.

12. Mrs Miriam LAU noted that the FFTA had striven to become an elector for the Transport FC since 1997, and asked whether the Constitutional Affairs Bureau (CAB) had responded to FFTA's request. The representative of the FFTA said that the CAB had acknowledged receipt of her letters saying that it would take into account the views of the FFTA when they considered the electoral arrangements. However, it had not given a substantive reply. Members agreed that the Administration should be asked to explain the reasons for not acceding to FFTA's request. In response to a further question from Mrs LAU, the representative said that the FFTA comprised 85 members who were owners of some 250 goods vehicles. She explained that members of FTTA were registered companies which owned one or more vehicles for transporting fruits. Adm

13. Since the CBTDA and the RTODA were newly founded, Mrs Miriam LAU asked whether they had regular meetings with the Transport Department and whether they had been consulted on related policy issues.

14. The representative of the RTODA replied in the positive. The representative of the CBTDA said that as the Transport Department was not aware of its new status, correspondence from the Department were sent to the OHKD. However, the Transport Department had also done consultation with CBTDA by telephone. In the past, the CBTDA was the main co-ordinator between cross border drivers and government departments in protests and parades against the levy of transport-related charges. At present, some container companies also invited CBTDA to be their consultant. In response to a further question from Mrs Miriam LAU, the representative of the CBTDA explained that the OHKD was formed in 1993. In 1997, difference in opinions led to the departure of some senior members of OHKD who had subsequently formed the CBTDA in 1998.

15. Mr SIN Chung-kai said that since the RTODA supported "one person, one vote", it should strive to implement the system in the election of authorised representatives to represent corporate electors of the Transport FC. Given that there were some 30 000 taxi owners and drivers, he suggested that they could form themselves into some 300 associations. As corporate members, the taxi owners and drivers could elect authorised representatives to vote on behalf of these associations. The representative of the RTODA responded that the RTODA would fight for its right within the parameters of the present electoral arrangement for FCs, although it supported "one person, one vote".

16. Mr SIN Chung-Kai said that many of those involved in cross border transport business were owner drivers. He suggested that each owner-driver could form a company and request to be included as electors for the Transport FC. The representative of the CBTDA said that according to government statistics, there were a total of 30 000 cross border drivers. The purpose of forming the CBTDA was to protect the welfare and rights of the cross border drivers. Given the present electoral framework, it was not possible to have "one person, one vote".

17. Ms Emily LAU said that her concept of "one person, one vote" differed from that of Mr SIN Chung-kai which sought to give each corporate member of an FC one vote. The Frontier advocated that all the 60 Members of the LegCo should be returned by direct election.

18. Mr Andrew WONG asked CBTDA and RTODA how many members they had and whether there was overlapping of membership between their associations and those listed in Schedule 1A to the Bill. The representatives of the CBTDA and the RTODA replied in the positive to the second question. They also advised that the CBTDA and the RTODA had about 700 and 300 members respectively.

19. Mr SIN Chung-kai asked whether radio taxi associations were providing services to or representing the interests of taxi divers. The representative of RTODA explained that radio taxi associations and taxi associations were two different entities. Unlike the latter which was usually formed for the purpose of safeguarding the interests of taxi drivers, the former only provided telecommunication facilities to taxi drivers. Therefore, their interests did not necessarily represent that of the taxi drivers. Most of these radio taxi associations operated on a commercial basis. As far as he knew, there were only three radio taxi associations which were non-profit making. The RTODA was entirely a different type of association as it was neither a radio taxi nor a profit making association. It served to protect the interests of taxi drivers and would render assistance to them when they encountered problems. Mr Andrew WONG pointed out that members of the radio taxi associations were actually customers. The main difference between a taxi association and a radio taxi association was that members of the latter had no right to elect chairmen of the associations.

20. The representative of the RTODA acknowledged the fact that there were only a handful of associations which had proper procedures for election of chairman and executive committee members. The RTODA would elect a new chairman every four years.

21. Mr SIN Chung-kai requested the Administration to provide information on the method adopted by corporate electors of the Transport FC to select their authorised representatives and to decide how they should cast their votes. Adm

    (Post-meeting note : The Administration's response to concerns raised in submissions was circulated to members vide LC Paper No. CB(2)1658/98-99(05) on 5 May 1999)

II. Date of next meeting

22. Members noted that the next meeting to receive deputations would be held on 30 March 1999.

23. The meeting ended at 5:37 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
12 August 999