A 98/99-13(1)

Legislative Council
Agenda

Wednesday 21 October 1998 and Thursday 22 October 1998 at 2:30 pm respectively

I. Taking of Legislative Council Oath

Hon FUNG Chi-kin to take the Legislative Council Oath.

II. Papers

Subsidiary LegislationL.N. No.
1. Estate Agents (Licensing) Regulation328/98
2. Estate Agents (Exemption from Licensing) Order329/98
3. Estate Agents Ordinance (Cap.511) (Commencement) Notice 1998330/98
4. Commodities Trading (Trading Limits and Position Limits) (Amendment) Rules 1998331/98
5. Securities (Exchange--Traded Stock Options) (Amendment) Rules 1998332/98
6. Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule) Notice 1998333/98


Sessional Papers

1.No.39-The Land Registry Trading Fund Hong Kong
Annual Report 1997-98

(to be presented by Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands)

2.No.40-Agricultural Products Scholarship Fund Report for the period from 1 April 1997 to 31 March 1998
(to be presented by Secretary for Economic Services)

3.No.41-Marine Fish Scholarship Fund Report for the period from 1 April 1997 to 31 March 1998

(to be presented by Secretary for Economic Services)

4.No.42-Statement of Accounts for the Vegetable Marketing Organization for the year ended 31 March 1998

(to be presented by Secretary for Economic Services)

5.No.43-Statement of Accounts for the Fish Marketing Organization for the year ended 31 March 1998
(to be presented by Secretary for Economic Services)

6.No.44-Office of the Telecommunications Authority Trading Fund Report for the period from 1 April 1997 to 31 March 1998
(to be presented by Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting)

7.No.45-Hongkong Post Annual Report 1997/1998

(to be presented by Secretary for Economic Services)


III. Questions for Written Replies

1. Hon Cyd HO to ask: (Translation)

At present, private property management companies are hired by the Housing Department (HD) to manage shopping arcades in some public housing estates under the Hong Kong Housing Authority, and these management companies are also responsible for leasing out shops in the shopping arcades to tenants. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  1. whether the HD has asked these management companies to reassess the rental value of shops in the shopping arcades under their management and adjust the rent payable by the tenants concerned; if not, why not;

  2. how the HD ensures that these management companies have set the rent and other fees at a reasonable level; and

  3. how the HD follows up complaints from tenants against these management companies concerning the level of rent and other fees charged upon them?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing

2. Hon HUI Cheung-ching to ask: (Translation)

Regarding the car parking fees charged at shopping arcades in public housing estates under the management of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA), will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
  1. the respective average rates of increase in fees for the various types of parking spaces in each of the past three years, and how the fee increases compare with those for parking spaces in private carparks; and

  2. the criteria adopted by the HA for determining the fees for the various types of parking spaces at shopping arcades in its public housing estates?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing

3. Hon James TO to ask: (Translation)

It is learnt that the Government had originally planned for the completion of phase two of the Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Food Market Complex within this year and then the relocation of the fruit market in Yau Ma Tei to the Complex. However, slippage in the construction works of the Complex has necessitated the deferment of the relocation date to the year 2004. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
  1. of the causes of the deferment of the completion date of the project;

  2. why the relevant departments had failed to prod for the completion of the construction works on schedule; and

  3. how it will ensure that the fruit market will be relocated in 2004?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Services

4. Hon Albert HO to ask:(Translation)

During the Second Reading debate on the Adaptation of Laws (Interpretative Provisions) Bill at the Provisional Legislative Council meeting on 7 April this year, the Government made a commitment to review 17 ordinances to decide whether there is justification for the difference in treatment under which these ordinances are binding on the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region but not on the subordinate organs of the People's Republic of China. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the timetable of the review, which should include:
  1. the time for submitting the findings of the review to the relevant panel of this Council; and

  2. the time for introducing bills to this Council to amend the relevant ordinances?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Constitutional Affairs

5. Hon LAW Chi-kwong to ask: (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
  1. of the respective numbers of newly arrived children from the Mainland who have been vaccinated at Maternal and Child Health Centres of the Department of Health and at schools in the past three years; and

  2. whether it knows the vaccination records of these children in the Mainland; if not, how it ensures that they are provided with proper vaccination service?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

6. Hon James TIEN to ask: (Translation)

It is learnt that quite a number of manufacturers and exporters have recently complained about the shortage of containers and inadequate shipping schedules. As a result, the required period for export goods to be packed into containers for shipment has been extended from the original one week to two months now. Moreover, the freight rates for shipping one 40-foot container from Hong Kong to the United States have risen from the original amount of US$1,800 to US$4,750. In view of such a situation, quite a number of overseas customers have turned to other areas to place orders for goods, resulting in direct impacts on the turnover volume of local manufacturers. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
  1. it knows the respective causes for the shortage of containers, the inadequate shipping schedules, and the sharp increase in freight rates; and

  2. it will consider adopting measures to help manufacturers and exporters solve the above problems?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Services

7. Hon CHENG Kai-nam to ask: (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council of the respective areas of land granted:
  1. under various categories of uses (including industrial, commercial, commercial/residential, community services, residential uses etc); and

  2. by way of public auction, tender, Letter "A" and "B" Tender System and private treaty grant in respect of each of the past five years?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

8. Hon LAU Wong-fat to ask:(Translation)

With regard to the problem of damage to drainage systems in the New Territories caused by construction works undertaken in the region by private developers, will the Government inform this Council whether there is legislation providing for the imposition of penalty on the developers who damage drainage systems; if so, of the total number of successful prosecutions instituted over the past three years, together with the average penalty imposed on the convicted persons; if not, whether it will consider enacting legislation to provide for the imposition of penalty on the developers who damage drainage systems?

Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Works

9. Hon CHAN Yuen-han to ask: (Translation)

While the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes ("MPFS") Ordinance (Cap. 485) provides that a default on payment of contributions to the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme will constitute a debt due and payable to the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority ("the Authority"), and the Authority may recover those arrears in accordance with the relevant provisions, the Occupational Retirement Schemes ("ORS") Ordinance (Cap. 426) does not have similar provisions for the recovery of such arrears. In this connection, will the Administration inform this Council whether it will consider amending the relevant provisions in the ORS Ordinance, so as to bring them in line with the relevant provisions in the MPFS Ordinance; if so, what the details are; if not, why not?

Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Financial Services

10. Hon Eric LI to ask: (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council of the number of cases in which recipients ceased receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance ("CSSA") in each of the past three years; please give a breakdown of the cases according to the reasons for applying for CSSA and those for cessation of receiving CSSA?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

11. Hon SIN Chung-kai to ask: (Translation)

It is learnt that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority ("HKMA")'s seven measures to strengthen the currency board system had been on the drawing board for quite a while. However, considering external factors and objective circumstances, the HKMA announced and implemented the measures only after the Government had ceased intervening in the stock and futures markets. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
  1. when the HKMA started and finished working out the seven measures;

  2. of the external factors and objective circumstances involved;

  3. of a detailed comparison of such external factors and objective circumstances before and after the Government's intervention in the markets; and

  4. whether it has assessed what consequences might have arisen if the seven measures had been implemented by the HKMA before or during the Government's intervention?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services

12. Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung to ask: (Translation)

Regarding the supervision of air-conditioned bus services provided by franchised bus companies, will the Government inform this Council:
  1. of the current number of routes throughout the territory that are served entirely by air-conditioned buses;

  2. of the criteria for deciding on the routes which are to be served entirely by air-conditioned buses; and

  3. whether it will discuss with the bus companies the adopting of the following measures during autumn and winter time:
    1. adjusting the temperature inside the air-conditioned buses to a suitable level;

    2. adjusting air-conditioned bus fares to the level of fares to be charged if the same routes are served by non-air-conditioned buses; and

    3. using non-air-conditioned buses to operate some of the scheduled trips, so that passengers can have a choice?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Transport

13. Hon TAM Yiu-chung to ask: (Translation)

Regarding Phase 1 of the Tenants Purchase Scheme, will the Government inform this Council of:
  1. the number of offers submitted with the intention money to the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) so far, and the respective numbers of offers which have been accepted and of households which have completed assignments;

  2. the number of cases received by the HA so far in which the relevant households have made a request for repairs to the interior of their flats, and among these, the number of cases in which repair works have been completed; and

  3. the average time taken to complete the repair works mentioned in (b) and the measures in place to expedite such repair works?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Housing

14. Hon Eric LI to ask: (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
  1. whether it has noticed that wrong characters or words are often found in the Chinese and English subtitles of local television programmes; if not, what the reasons are; and

  2. how it will urge the television broadcasters concerned to take actions so as to avoid making such mistakes?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting

15. Hon Howard YOUNG to ask:

It is learnt that a large number of one-day tours to the new airport at Chek Lap Kok are organized by travel agents. As no license is required of travel agents organising tours within Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:
  1. of the measures in place to ensure that the participants in such tours are given quality and safe tour service;

  2. given that Hong Kong residents joining local tours seldom take out personal travel insurance, of the party which could be held responsible for paying out compensation in respect of any mishap happening during these tours; and

  3. of the progress of the review on the regulation of inbound travel agents?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Economic Services
16. Dr Hon David LI to ask:

It is reported that more than half of those persons enrolled in the first course of the special seafarers training programme for the unemployed were not interested in becoming seafarers but were interested in the retraining allowance only. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council what measures it will take to enhance the cost-effectiveness of the programme?

Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Education and Manpower

17. Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung to ask: (Translation)

Regarding the progress of the "Enhanced Native-English Speaking Teachers Scheme", will the Government inform this Council:
  1. of the number of native-English speaking teachers originally planned to be recruited in this school year, together with the respective numbers of such English teachers recruited so far by the Education Department centrally and by schools individually;

  2. given that schools having such English teachers are allowed to hire substitute teachers when these teachers fall sick or have resigned during the agreement period, whereas schools which have been unable to recruit such English teachers are not allowed to hire substitute teachers in the interim, of the reasons for the authorities concerned adopting different policies in this regard; and

  3. of the estimated time for the completion of the recruitment of such English teachers?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Education and Manpower

18. Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong to ask: (Translation)

Regarding assessment of non-local university degree qualifications, will the Government inform this Council of:
  1. the respective numbers of non-local degree holders who have been employed in the past three years as graduate teachers or to take up government posts whose minimum academic qualification is a university degree (please give a breakdown of the institutions from which these degree holders graduated, their years of graduation and major subjects);

  2. the criteria adopted by the Administration for assessing the relevant qualifications; and

  3. the mechanism in place for the relevant parties to lodge appeals against the assessment results; and the mechanism through which the Administration reviews the relevant assessment results?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Civil Service

19. Hon Emily LAU to ask: (Translation)

It is reported that recently, in purchasing a batch of notebook computers intended for use in primary schools as a teaching aid, the Education Department has procured an unsuitable kind of convertor, rendering the information input into the computer by teachers not being clearly displayed on the computer monitor and television screen simultaneously and thus affecting the progress of teaching. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council of:
  1. the cause for the mistake in that procurement exercise;

  2. the total amount of funds involved in purchasing the entire batch of computers and the related accessories; and

  3. the remedial measures that will be taken and the estimated relevant cost?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

20. Hon LAW Chi-kwong to ask: (Translation)

Regarding the assistance provided by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) to facilitate the integration of new arrivals from the Mainland into the community, will the Government inform this Council:
  1. of the respective numbers of new arrivals from the Mainland invited to and participated in the social activities organized by the Family Activities and Resource Centres, Group Work Units and Youth Offices under the SWD in their localities last year; and

  2. whether the SWD has analysed the relevant data collected by its data-collection system to identify the problems faced by these people and their need for welfare services; if so, of the findings of such analysis and whether consideration will be given to publishing the findings on a regular basis?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

IV. Members' Motions

Motion of Thanks

Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung: (Translation)

That this Council thanks the Chief Executive for his address.

Amendments to Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung's motion

1. Hon LEE Cheuk-yan: (Translation)

To add ", but since the Chief Executive has not only failed to admit the Government's policy blunders in the past year, review them seriously and account for them, but has also failed to propose in the Policy Address effective measures to promote democracy, restore the economy, ease unemployment and improve people's livelihood, thereby further undermining public confidence in the Government's administration of various policies, this Council expresses deep regret" after "That this Council thanks the Chief Executive for his address".

2. Hon Christine LOH: (Translation)

To add but is of the view that various policy areas were not well-developed or neglected, thereby losing an opportunity to increase public confidence" after "That this Council thanks the Chief Executive for his address".

3. Hon Martin LEE: (Translation)

To add ", but deeply regrets that the Policy Address lacks effective measures to ease unemployment and alleviate people's hardship, and proposes to abolish the two municipal councils, thereby moving against the democratic trend and towards executive hegemony; this Council also urges the Chief Executive to make every effort to safeguard Hong Kong's free economy and legal system, build a democratic, free and pluralistic society, as well as promote long-term developments through independent and novel thinking, so as to restore public confidence" after "That this Council thanks the Chief Executive for his address".

(Debate to be adjourned after all Members who wish to speak on the motion have spoken. Resumption of debate will take place at the meeting to be held on 4 November 1998.)

Clerk to the Legislative Council