LC Paper No. CB(2) 1337/98-99
Ref : CB2/H/5
House Committee of the Legislative Council
Minutes of the 22nd meeting
held in the Legislative Council Chamber
at 2:53 pm on Friday, 5 February 1999
Members present :
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP (Chairman)
Dr Hon YEUNG Sum (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Martin LEE Chu-ming, SC, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Margaret NG Ngoi-yee
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon CHAN Kwok-keung
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon LAU Chin-shek, JP
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon SZETO Wah
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Hon FUNG Chi-kin
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Members absent :
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon HUI Cheung-ching
Hon Bernard CHAN
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Clerk in attendance :
Staff in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Clerk to the House Committee
- Mr Ricky C C FUNG, JP
- Secretary General
- Mr Jimmy MA, JP
- Legal Adviser
- Mr LEE Yu-sung
- 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 Anita HO
- Assistant Legal Adviser 2
- Mr Stephen LAM
- Assistant Legal Adviser 4
- Mr KAU Kin-wah
- Assistant Legal Adviser 6
- Mrs Anna LO
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Miss Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Ms LEUNG Siu-kum
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)2
- Ms Estella CHAN
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)4
- Mr LAW Wing-lok
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2)5
- Mrs Betty LEUNG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (3)1
- Miss Mary SO
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8
1 The Chairman informed members that an additional item, "Designation of officials for attendance at meetings of LegCo, its committees and subcommittees", to be raised by Mr LEE Wing-tat, would be discussed under agenda item VII. In addition, the Secretary for Security would give a briefing on the deliberations of the special task force headed by the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS) to examine the implications of the judgment of the Court of Final Appeal on the Certificate of Entitlement Scheme, at the end of the meeting.
I. Confirmation of the minutes of the 21st meeting held on 29 January 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1222/98-99)
2. The minutes were confirmed.II. Matters arising
Report by the Chairman on his meeting with CS
3. The Chairman said that he had reflected to CS the dissatisfaction expressed by members at the shortage of time for Members to study the District Councils Bill.
4. The Chairman further said that CS had been informed of members' decision to invite the Chief Executive (CE) to attend a meeting of the Council to respond to the three separate reports on the airport opening chaos. The Chairman added that he had written to CE in this regard.
5. Regarding the Court of Final Appeal's judgment on the Certificate of Entitlement Scheme, the Chairman suggested that the views expressed by members at the special House Committee meeting held in the morning as well as those to be raised later at the briefing by the Secretary for Security should be collated by the Secretariat and referred to the relevant Panels for follow-up. Members agreed.
III. Business arising from previous Council meetings
(a) Legal Service Division's reports on bills referred to the House Committee in accordance with Rule 54(4)
(i) Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 1999
(LC Paper No. LS 112/98-99)
6. The Chairman said that as the Bill contained important proposals for matters relating to the election for the second term of office of the Legislative Council (LegCo), a Bills Committee should be formed to study the Bill. The following members agreed to join : Dr YEUNG Sum, Miss HO Sau-lan, Mr LEE Wing-tat, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mr NG Leung-sing, Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr Gary CHENG Kai-nam, Mr Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, Mr Howard YOUNG and Ms CHOY So-yuk.
(ii) Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Bill
(LC Paper No. LS 110/98-99)
7. The Legal Adviser said that the object of the Bill was to outlaw conduct which would prejudice the credibility of elections of LegCo, the proposed District Councils, Heung Yee Kuk and the executive committee of a Rural Committee. The Legal Adviser added that at present, corrupt and illegal conduct at elections were prohibited under the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Ordinance (CIPO). The Bill was intended to make fresh provisions regulating such conduct, thereby replacing the CIPO entirely.
8. Mr Ronald ARCULLI suggested that the Bills Committee formed to study the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 1999 should also study this Bill, since their subject matters were related. The Chairman opined that such an approach might delay the scrutiny of the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 1999. Mr LEE Wing-tat said that he was in favour of forming a separate Bills Committee to study the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Bill, since the latter covered more than just the LegCo election.
9. Members agreed that a Bills Committee should be formed. The following members agreed to join : Miss HO Sau-lan, Mr LEE Wing-tat, Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr Gary CHENG Kai-nam, Mr Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, Mr LAU Chin-shek, Ms CHOY So-yuk and Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo.
(iii) Chinese Medicine Bill
(LC Paper No. LS 107/98-99)
10. The Chairman said that the Administration had briefed the Panel on Health Services on the Bill on several occasions. He suggested and members agreed to form a Bills Committee to study the Bill. The following members agreed to join : Mr HO Sai-chu, Mr Michael HO Mun-ka, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Prof NG Ching-fai, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Dr LEONG Che-hung, Ms CHOY So-yuk, Mr LAW Chi-kwong and Dr TANG Siu-tong.
(b) Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 3 February 1999 (gazetted on 29 January 1999)
(LC Paper No. LS 108/98-99)
11. The Legal Adviser introduced the paper which detailed the nine items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 29 January 1999. Referring to the Travel Industry Compensation Fund (Procedure for Ex-Gratia Payments) (Amendment) Rules 1999, the Legal Adviser explained that the Amendment Rules were made in response to queries raised by the Legal Service Division. The Amendment Rules sought to amend the application form prescribed in the Travel Industry Compensation Fund (Procedure for Ex-Gratia Payments) Rules to include a new category of applications under the Travel Industry Compensation Fund (Amount of Ex-Gratia Payments and Financial Penalty) Rules.
12. Members did not raise any queries on the subsidiary legislation covered in the paper.
IV. Further business for the Council meeting on 10 February 1999
(a) Bill - resumption of debate on Second Reading, Committee Stage and Third Reading
Human Organ Transplant (Amendment) Bill 1999
13. Members noted that the Second Reading debate on the Bill would be resumed at the Council meeting on 10 February 1999.
(b) Member's motion
Resolution made under section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance
14. The Chairman informed members that Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Electricity Ordinance (Commencement) Notice 1999 and the Electrical Products (Safety) Regulation (Commencement) Notice 1999, had given notice to move a motion to repeal these two Commencement Notices at the Council meeting on 10 February 1999. The Chairman added that Mr CHAN would report under agenda item VI(f).
V. Business for the Council meeting on 3 March 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 1217/98-99)
15. Members noted that 14 written questions had been tentatively scheduled.
(b) Bill - First and Second Readings
Appropriation Bill 1999
16. Members noted that the Financial Secretary would address the Council on the 1999-2000 Budget at the Council meeting on 3 March 1999.
(a) Position report on Bills Committees/subcommittees
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1238/98-99)
17. The Chairman said that there were 16 Bills Committees and four subcommittees, including the three Bills Committees formed earlier in the meeting. The Chairman pointed out that as the maximum number of Bills Committees in action was 15, the Bills Committee on the Chinese Medicine Bill would be put on the waiting list until a vacant slot became available. (b) Report of the Bills Committee on Human Organ Transplant (Amendment) Bill 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1236/98-99)
18. Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Chairman of the Bills Committee, said that the Second Reading debate on the Bill would be resumed on 10 February 1999. He urged members to support the Bill.
(c) Report of the Bills Committee on Film Censorship (Amendment) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 840/98-99)
19. Mr Andrew CHENG, Chairman of the Bills Committee, briefly explained the deliberations of the Bills Committee as detailed in the paper. He added that in response to the comments made by the Law Society of Hong Kong, the Administration would move Committee Stage amendments to the Bill, which were technical in nature. Members noted that the Second Reading debate on the Bill would be resumed at the Council meeting on 10 March 1999.
(d) Report of the Subcommittee on Ozone Layer Protection (Controlled Refrigerants) Regulation (Commencement) Notice 1998
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 857/98-99 tabled at the meeting)
20. Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Chairman of the Subcommittee, said that the Subcommittee took the view that the legislative process of a piece of subsidiary legislation was completed upon its publication in the Gazette. The Subcommittee therefore considered that Government Notice No. 4794, which was published in the Gazette on 23 December 1993 appointing 1 January 1994 as the commencement date of Regulation, was validly made, even though it had not been tabled in Council.
21. Mr ARCULLI pointed out that it was both unnecessary and lacking in legal authority on the part of the Administration to publish the 1998 Commencement Notice to appoint a fresh commencement date of 1 January 1999. Although the Administration had advised that the trade had complied with the provisions of the Regulation since 1 January 1994 and that no prosecution action had been taken, the Subcommittee considered that the existence of two commencement dates in the Gazette for the same Regulation would cause confusion. The Subcommittee had requested the Administration to find the best way to tackle the issue.
22. Mr ARCULLI informed members that the Subcommittee wished to put on record its views regarding the validity of Government Notice No. 4794 at a Council meeting. He would seek the permission of the President under Rule 21 of the Rules of Procedure to present a report on the Subcommittee's deliberations to the Council on 10 February 1999 and also address the Council thereon.
(e) Report of the Subcommittee on Road Traffic (Construction & Maintenance of Vehicles)(Amendment) Regulation 1999
23. In introducing the paper on behalf of Mrs Miriam LAU, Chairman of the Subcommittee, Mr Andrew CHENG said that the Subcommittee supported the Amendment Regulation. Mr CHENG referred members to paragraph 14 of the report which explained that certain legislative measures were no longer subject to negative vetting by the Council, due to a change in the scrutiny mechanism made by the Administration. The Subcommittee was of the view that care should be taken in examining such measures, particularly when matters of policy or controversial issues were involved. He added that it was important that LegCo's supervisory control over legislative measures should not be compromised.
24. Mrs Miriam LAU joined the meeting at this juncture. She said that the Subcommittee had no strong objection to the change in the scrutiny mechanism in respect of those legislative measures which merely dealt with minor technical amendments.
25. Dr YEUNG Sum said that a cautious approach should be adopted in scrutinizing similar legislative measures in future, irrespective of whether the issues involved were technical, controversial or had policy implications.
26. Members agreed that the Chairman should raise this matter at his next meeting with CS.
(f) Report of the Subcommittee on Electricity Ordinance (Commencement) Notice 1999 and Electrical Products (Safety) Regulation (Commencement) Notice 1999
27. Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Chairman of the Subcommittee, said that according to the Administration, the word "supply" as defined in the Electricity Ordinance also included electrical products supplied in a property to be sold or rented out. The landlord concerned therefore had the responsibility of complying with the certificate of safety compliance requirement when the property was sold or let. As the number of newly developed and second hand properties being sold or let in Hong Kong was enormous, the Subcommittee was very concerned about the wide implications of the certificate of safety compliance requirement on the general public. It had urged the Administration to consider narrowing the scope of the definition of "supply".
28. Mr CHAN further said that the Administration was also asked to re-examine the practical difficulties faced by the trade in complying with the certificate of safety compliance requirement and to work out better arrangements in respect of supply of parallel imported electrical products, second hand products and locally fabricated personal computers.
29. Mr CHAN pointed out that the deadline for amending the two items of subsidiary legislation was 10 February 1999 or 3 March 1999, if extended by resolution. To allow time for the Administration to take follow-up actions in response to the Subcommittee's views, the Subcommittee proposed that the two Commencement Notices should be repealed. He had therefore given notice to move a motion to repeal the two Commencement Notices at the Council meeting on 10 February 1999.
VII. Any other business
(a) Designation of officials for attendance at meetings of LegCo, its committees and subcommittees - to be raised by Hon LEE Wing-tat
30. Mr LEE Wing-tat said that certain persons who were included in the two instruments signed by CE on 26 June 1998 to designate officials to attend meetings of LegCo, its committees and subcommittees under Article 62(6) of the Basic Law had been excluded from the ones signed by CE on 31 December 1998. He suggested that the Director of Administration or representatives from the Department of Justice should be invited to explain to Members the reasons for the exclusion of these persons.
31. Members agreed that the Chairman should raise the matter at his next meeting with CS.
(b) Briefing by the Secretary for Security on the deliberations of the special task force headed by CS to examine the implications of the judgment of the Court of Final Appeal on the Certificate of Entitlement Scheme
32. The Chairman asked members to stay behind for the briefing by the Secretary for Security. He also reminded members that the next House Committee meeting would be held on 26 February 1999.
Legislative Council Secretariat
24 February 1999