LC Paper No. CB(2) 10/98-99
Ref : CB2/H/5
House Committee of the Legislative Council
Minutes of the 2nd meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber
at 2:30 pm on Monday, 6 July 1998
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 Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, 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 HUI Cheung-ching
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon CHAN Kwok-keung
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Bernard Charnwut CHAN
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fan, JP
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon LAU Chin-shek, JP
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon SZETO Wah
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Members absent :
Hon Martin LEE Chu-ming, SC, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Clerk in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Clerk to the House Committee
Staff in attendance :
I. Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration
- Mr Ricky C C FUNG, JP
- Secretary General
- Mr Jimmy MA, JP
- 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 Anita HO
- Assistant Legal Adviser 2
- Miss Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Mr Stephen LAM
- Assistant Legal Adviser 4
- Mr Arthur CHEUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 5
- Mr KAU Kin-wah
- Assistant Legal Adviser 6
- 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
- Miss Mary SO
- Senior Assistant Secretary (3)3
The Chairman said that he had informed CS that the President had decided that the summer break would take place between 29 July 1998 and 9 September 1998. He pointed out to CS that the Administration had given notice to introduce only four bills into the Council in the month of July. CS undertook to introduce bills into the Council in September as far as possible.
2. In response to Mr Howard YOUNG, the Chairman said that the tentative date scheduled for the Chief Executive&'s Policy Address was
7 October 1998.
II. Legislative Council House Rules
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 4/98-99)
3. The Chairman introduced the paper and said that the House Rules had been drafted on the basis of the Rules of Procedure adopted by the Council on 2 July 1998 and the House Rules of the former Legislative Council and Provisional Legislative Council. He drew members' attention to rule 17(c) which set out the speaking time limits for motion debates and rule 22(t) which required a Panel to obtain prior permission of the House Committee should the Panel consider it necessary to undertake any activities outside Hong Kong. He added that such a requirement was not included in the House Rules of the former Legislative Council.
4. Miss Emily LAU queried the need for a Panel to consult the House Committee over its own decision to undertake any activities outside Hong Kong in the name of the Panel. Miss LAU also commented that if it had always been the practice to clear minutes of meetings with the Administration, it should be so stated in rule 25(c).
|5. Mr LEE Wing-tat and Mr James TO raised queries on the requirement to provide advance copy of an address to the President in rule 2 and the procedure on the moving of motions for the disallowance of votes during a division in rule 3 respectively.
6. The Chairman said that it was essential that the House Committee and other committees were provided with a set of guidelines to complement the Rules of Procedure to ensure their proper functioning. He suggested that the draft House Rules be adopted and that the Committee on Rules of Procedure to be set up on 10 July 1998 should be asked to consider the queries and comments raised by members on the draft House Rules. Members agreed.
7. Members endorsed the draft House Rules in Annex A to the paper.
III. Legal Service Division's Report on Subsidiary Legislation
(LC Papers Nos. LS 1 & 5/98-99)
(a) LC Paper No. LS 1/98-99
8. Referring to the paper, the Legal Adviser said that the Legal Service Division had prepared reports on the 12 items of subsidiary legislation tabled at meetings of the Provisional Legislative Council between 18 March 1998 and 7 April 1998 (Appendix II to the paper) and the 51 items of subsidiary legislation tabled in the Council on 2 July 1998 (Appendix III to the paper).
9. The Legal Adviser further explained that the scrutiny period of the first batch of subsidiary legislation had been extended under section 34(3) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance to 8 July 1998 while the scrutiny period of the second batch of subsidiary legislation would expire on 29 July 1998.
10. In response to Mrs Selina CHOW and Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, the Legal Adviser said that members might wish to set up a subcommittee to study the subsidiary legislation. He further said that should members decide to set up a subcommittee, the scrutiny period of the 12 items of subsidiary legislation in Appendix II to the paper should be extended to 15 July 1998. Members agreed.
11. Mr James TO said that the Road Traffic (Breath Analysing Instruments and Screening Devices) (Amendment) Notice 1998 (L.N. 228) and the Road Traffic (Registration and Licensing of Vehicles) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulation 1998 (L.N. 65 of 1998) (Commencement) (No. 2) Notice 1998 (L.N. 248) should be studied in detail.
12. Mrs Selina CHOW suggested that the Consumer Goods Safety Regulation (L.N. 110 of 1997) (Commencement) Notice 1998 (L.N. 182) and the Toys and Children&'s Products Safety Regulation (L.N. 111 of 1997) (Commencement) Notice 1998 (L.N. 183) should be studied by a subcommittee.
13. The Chairman suggested and members agreed to set up a subcommittee to study the 63 items of subsidiary legislation. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee : Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr James TO, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr SIN Chung-kai, Mr Andrew WONG, Miss CHOY So-yuk and Mr Andrew CHENG.
14. The Chairman said that he would move resolutions at the Council meeting on 8 July 1998 to extend the scrutiny period of the 12 items of subsidiary legislation in question to 15 July 1998.
(b) LC Paper No. LS 5/98-99
15. The Legal Adviser said that the paper covered the Public Revenue Protection (Dutiable Commodities) (No. 2) Order 1998 gazetted on 22 June 1998 and tabled in Council on 2 July 1998. The Order was an interim measure taken under the Public Revenue Protection Ordinance to give effect to one of the nine measures announced by the Government on 22 June 1998 to revive the economy, namely, the reduction of the duty payable on light diesel oil. He further said that the Administration had given notice to move at the Council meeting on 22 July 1998 a resolution seeking to give effect to this measure as from 23 June 1998 until 31 March 1999.
16. The Chairman said that the resolution would be discussed at the next House Committee meeting on 10 July 1998.
IV. Business for the Council meeting on 8 July 1998
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 24/98-99)
17. The Chairman said that 18 questions (6 oral and 12 written) had been scheduled.
18. The Chairman said that in determining the order of Members asking supplementary questions at a Council meeting, the President would have regard to the number of supplementary questions asked by individual Members at previous Council meetings as well as the relevance of the original question to the constituencies which individual Members represented. He reminded members that a supplementary question should be short and to the point and should not contain more than one question.
(b) Bill - First and Second Readings
Holidays (Amendment) Bill 1998
193 The Chairman said that the above Bill would be introduced into the Council on 8 July 1998 and considered by the House Committee on 10 July 1998. He added that the Administration hoped that the Bill could be dealt with by the Council before the summer recess in August.
(c) Government motion
20. No notice had been received yet.
(d) Members' motions
(i) Motion on "Alleviating the hardship of people's livelihood"
21. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr CHAN Kam-lam.
22. Mrs Selina CHOW briefly explained the content of the letter which she tabled at the meeting.
(ii) Motion on "Unemployment"
23. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung.
V. Business for the Council meeting on 15 July 1998
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 25/98-99)
24. The Chairman said that 18 questions (six oral and 12 written) had been tentatively scheduled. The deadline for giving notice of questions was midnight on 6 July 1998.
(b) Bills - First and Second Readings
(i) Evidence (Amendment) Bill 1998
(ii) Supplementary Appropriation (1997-98) Bill 1998
25. The Chairman said that the above two Bills would be introduced into the Council on 15 July 1998 and considered by the House Committee on 17 July 1998.
(c) Government motion
26. No notice had been received yet.
(d) Members' motions
(i) Motion on "Direct elections"
27. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr Andrew CHENG.
(ii) Motion on "Rescuing the service industry"
28. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Miss CHOY So-yuk.
29. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 8 July 1998. He added that the speaking time limits stipulated in rule 17(c) of the House Rules would apply.
VI. Advance information on business for the Council meeting on 22 July 1998
(i) Motion on "Accelerating the implementation of infrastructure projects"
30. Members noted that Dr Raymond HO Chung-tai had been allocated a debate slot.
(ii) Motion to be moved by Hon CHAN Yuen-han
31. Members noted that Miss CHAN Yuen-han had been allocated a debate slot.
32. The Chairman advised members that the deadlines for giving notice of the motions and notice of amendment to the motions, if any, were 7 July 1998 and 15 July 1998 respectively.
33. The Chairman pointed out that at present, a Member could submit a prior application for the allocation of a debate slot without the subject or wording of the motion debate. He considered that such an arrangement was unsatisfactory and suggested that the Committee on Rules of Procedure be asked to review the arrangement.
VII. Legislative Council Panels
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 5/98-99)
34. The Chairman introduced the paper and invited members' views on the proposal relating to the formation of the 18 Panels set out in Appendix I to the paper.
35. Mr Andrew CHENG expressed reservations about the need for the Panel on Recreation, Culture and Sport (RCS Panel). Referring to his experience as a member of the Panel on Recreation and Culture of the former Legislative Council, he said that the turn-up rate of members of that Panel was lower than that of other Panels and the items brought up for discussion were also fewer. He was of the view that it would be more effective if matters falling within the purview of the RCS Panel were dealt with by the Panel on Home Affairs (HA Panel) which had the same corresponding Policy Bureau as that of the RCS Panel. He suggested that the RCS Panel and the HA Panel be merged to become one Panel.
36. Several members said that they were in favour of Mr CHENG's proposal of merging the two Panels. A few other members took the view that the RCS Panel should be retained in order that matters affecting the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication Constituency could be dealt with in a dedicated manner.
37. The Chairman put Mr CHENG's proposal to vote. There were 28 votes for and 14 votes against the proposal, with seven abstentions. The Chairman declared that Mr CHENG's proposal of merging the RCS Panel and the HA Panel was agreed.
38. Members agreed that the new Panel should retain the name of HA Panel after the merger and that its terms of reference should be as follows-
"To monitor and examine Government policies and issues of public concern relating to district, community and rural matters, human rights, civic education, data protection, press freedom, building management, youth and women matters, and the development of arts and culture, public entertainment, sport and recreation."
39. Members endorsed the other proposals made in the paper.
40. Mr LEE Cheuk-yan said that in the list of Panels set out in Appendix I to the paper, there were three separate Panels entrusted with responsibilities for financial affairs, trade and industry and economic services. However, none of the three Panels was tasked with the responsibility for dealing with issues relating to the territory's long-term economic development strategy. He was of the view that consideration should be given to the setting up of a separate Panel with a specific area of responsibility corresponding to that of the Commission on Strategic Development.
41. After discussion, members agreed that a discussion paper on Mr LEE's proposal would be prepared by the Secretariat for the House Committee's consideration in due course.
VIII. Election Procedure for Appointment of Members to Public Accounts Committee, Committee on Members' Interests and Committee on Rules of Procedure
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 19/98-99)
42. The Chairman introduced the paper and briefly explained the membership of the committees concerned and the proposed election procedure. He mentioned in particular that in making nominations, Members should have regard for the need to ensure that the committees' membership was broadly balanced and representative of the membership of the Council.
43. In response to Miss Margaret NG, the Chairman said that any Member who would not be able to attend the meeting on 10 July 1998, at which the nomination and election of members to the three committees would be conducted, could be nominated provided his or her prior agreement to the nomination was obtained.
44. Miss Emily LAU asked whether Members who were not members of the Committee on Rules of Procedure could attend its meetings if they were interested.
45. A few members expressed the view that it would be difficult for the three committees to function properly if non-committee Members could attend committee meetings and take part in discussion.
46. The Chairman suggested that how non-committee Members should be consulted on matters discussed by the three committees should be left to the individual committee to decide. Members agreed.
47. Members endorsed the election procedure and the timing for election proposed in paragraphs 3 and 5 of the paper.
IX. Motion on Election of Members of The Legislative Council Commission and their Term of Office
(LC Paper No. AS 2/98-99)
48. The Chairman introduced the paper and said that subject to members' agreement to the manner of election proposed in the paper, the President's permission would be sought to waive the notice requirement for moving the resolution in Appendix III to the paper at the Council meeting on 8 July 1998. Following the Council's approval of the resolution, the election of Commission members would be held at the House Committee meeting on 17 July 1998.
49. Members endorsed the recommendations set out in paragraph 11 of the paper.
X. Nomination and Election of Members of the Legislative Council to Advisory Bodies
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 2/98-99)
50. Members endorsed the nomination and election procedure proposed in paragraph 10 of the paper.
51. The Chairman said that the election of Members to serve on the six advisory bodies would be held on the dates as set out in paragraphs 12-13 of the paper.
XI. Resolution on "Timing of registration of interests by Members of the Legislative Council"
52. At the invitation of the Chairman, the Clerk referred members to the wording of the resolution and explained that the moving of the resolution was in accordance with the requirement under Rule 83(1) of the Rules of Procedure.
53. Assistant Secretary General 3 said that Members who had completed and returned the draft registration form in response to LC Paper No. CB(3) 3/98-99 issued on 18 June 1998, need not furnish their registrable interests if there had been no change in what had been registered in the draft registration form. Such Members would however be required to submit written confirmation that the particulars furnished in the draft registration were still valid.
54. Referring to section 4(1) of the form set out in the Schedule of the resolution which required Members to give details of financial sponsorship received as a candidate for election to the Council, Mr Andrew WONG said that such a requirement had not been stipulated in rule 83(5)(d) of the Rules of Procedure.
[Post-meeting note : Members were advised vide LC Paper No. CB(3) 50/98-99 issued on 7 July 1998 that the President had approved the revised version of page 4 of the form in the Schedule to the resolution moved by Dr LEONG Che-hung at the Council meeting on 8 July 1998. The revised page 4 of the form no longer required Members to provide details of financial sponsorship received as a candidate for election to the Council.]
XII. Letter of 30 June 1998 from Solicitor-General to Legal Adviser re. Draft Rules of Procedure
(LC Papers Nos. CB(1) 6 & 7/98-99)
55. The Chairman referred members to the Solicitor General's letter to the Legal Adviser dated 30 June 1998 in which the Solicitor General had expressed the opinion that certain draft rules in the Rules of Procedure contravened the Basic Law. He suggested that the matter be referred to the Committee on Rules of Procedure for consideration.
56. Miss Margaret NG said that the Solicitor General should be invited to attend a special briefing to explain his viewpoints to Members. Members agreed.
57. In response to Miss Emily LAU, the Legal Adviser said that he would prepare a separate paper setting out his views on the points made in the Solicitor General's letter. He undertook to let Members have the paper before the special briefing.
58. Mr Ronald ARCULLI suggested that outside legal opinion be obtained. Miss Margaret NG opined that this was not necessary as the legal issues involved were not of a complex and specialized nature. She added that it was not uncommon for different lawyers to have different interpretations of the law.
59. The Legal Adviser said the Legal Service Division was capable of providing a detailed opinion for Members' consideration.
XIII. Any other business
(a)Allocation of debate slots on 29 July 1998
60. The Chairman said that Mr James TO, Mr Ambrose CHEUNG and Miss Christine LOH had each submitted an application for moving a motion for debate at the Council meeting on 29 July 1998. No lots had yet been drawn, as Mr Ambrose CHEUNG would like to seek members' support for his motion debate on the "Review of district organisations" to be given priority in the allocation of debate slots for the Council meeting on 29 July 1998, so that Members would have the opportunity to debate the subject matter fully before the public consultation period of the consultation document on the Review of District Organisations released by the Government ended on 31 July 1998.
61. The Chairman invited members' views as to whether Mr CHEUNG's request should be dealt with in one of the following ways -
- scheduling two motion debates and one adjournment debate for the Council meeting on 29 July 1998;
- according priority to Mr CHEUNG's motion debate on "Review of district organisations" and drawing lots to determine the allocation of the remaining debate slot; and
- drawing lots to determine the allocation of debate slots in accordance with rule 14(b) of the House Rules.
62. After discussion, members agreed to put the three options set out in paragraph 61 above to vote.
63. The Chairman put the option in paragraph 61(a) to vote. There were 9 votes for and 23 votes against the option, with one abstention. The Chairman declared that the option in paragraph 61(a) was not agreed.
64. The Chairman then put the option in paragraph 60(b) to vote. There were 33 votes for and none against the option, with two abstentions. The Chairman declared that the option in paragraph 60(b) was agreed. In consequence, there was no need to put the option in paragraph 60(c) to vote.
(b)Group photo-taking session for Members
65. The Chairman reminded members that the group photo-taking session would take place on 8 July 1998 in the Dining Hall at 2:00 pm.
66. Miss Christine LOH said that Members were only given one and a half days' notice of the date and time of the photo-taking session. She said that some Members might not be able to attend as the notice given was too short.
67. The Chairman asked members to try to attend the photo-taking session on 8 July 1998.
(c)Special Briefing for Members on 9 July 1998
68. The Chairman said that at the Administration's request, a special briefing would be held on Thursday, 9 July 1998 from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm at which a number of Policy Bureaux would brief Members on the following topics -
- Consultation paper on proposals to improve fire safety in private buildings;
- Tackling the year 2000 problem; and
- Legislative amendments for Unified Exchange Compensation Fund.
[Post-meeting note : Members were advised vide LC Paper No. CB(2) 12/98-99 of 8 July 1998 that the topic in item (c) had been replaced by "Operation of the Hong Kong International Airport".]
69. The meeting ended at 4:55 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
15 July 1998