LC Paper No. CB(2) 1950/98-99
Ref : CB2/H/5
House Committee of the Legislative CouncilMembers present :
Minutes of the 30th meeting
held in the Legislative Council Chamber
at 4:33 pm on Friday, 7 May 1999
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 Michael HO Mun-ka
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon Martin LEE Chu-ming, SC, JP
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 CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon HUI Cheung-ching
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Bernard CHAN
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 WONG Yung-kan
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
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
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
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JPMembers absent :
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon CHAN Kwok-keung
Hon LAU Chin-shek, JP
Hon FUNG Chi-kinClerk in attendance :
Staff in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM Clerk to the House Committee
I. Confirmation of the minutes of the 29th meeting held on 30 April 1999
- 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-sung
- Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
- Miss Polly YEUNG
- Assistant Secretary General 1 (Acting)
- 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 KAU Kin-wah
- Assistant Legal Adviser 6
- Mr Charles FOO
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints) (Acting)
- Miss 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
- Mr Andy LAU
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)3 (Acting)
- Miss Mary SO
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1859/98-99)
1. The Chairman said that the part "unless queries on the drafting aspects of the Bill were raised by the Legal Service Division." in paragraph 25 should be amended to read "unless queries on the drafting aspects of the Bill raised by the Legal Service Division could be satisfactorily resolved with the Administration.".
2. The minutes were confirmed subject to the above amendment.II. Matters arising(a) Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration
3. The Chairman said that the Secretariat had circulated to members the Chief Executive (CE)'s reply to his letter requesting CE to convey to President Jiang Zemin Members' concern about the problem of Hong Kong residents detained in the Mainland. The Chairman further said that a special House Committee meeting would be held on 28 May 1999 to discuss the matter with the relevant policy bureaux.
(b) Land Tribunal (Amendment) Rules 1999
(LC Paper No. LS 178/98-99)
4. The Legal Adviser said that the Amendment Rules proposed to add a new Part XIVA to the Land Tribunal Rules to deal with the matters of practice and procedure in connection with the Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance. He referred to the Administration's reply to queries raised by the Legal Service Division on some legal and drafting aspects of the Amendment Rules set out in the paper, and advised that the Administration had undertaken to rectify drafting defects identified.
5. Members raised no queries on the Amendment Rules and the related Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance (Cap.545) (Commencement) Notice 1999.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) Adaptation of Laws (No. 11) Bill 1999
(LC Paper No. LS 156/98-99)
6. The Legal Adviser briefly explained the amendments proposed in the Bill which dealt with the adaptation of six ordinances and subsidiary legislation relating to intellectual property. He said that the Administration had agreed to propose a Committee Stage amendment in relation to the Chinese term of "Legislative Council" in section 54(2) of the Copyright Ordinance. He added that subject to members' views, resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Bill might be resumed.
7. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill could be resumed.(ii) Trade Marks Bill
(LC Paper No. LS 162/98-99)
8. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to introduce substantial changes to the trade marks law and recommended that a Bills Committee be formed to study the Bill as the Panel on Trade and Industry and the public had expressed concerns about the changes proposed in the Bill.
9. The Chairman suggested that a Bills Committee be formed. The following members agreed to join: Miss Margaret NG, Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, JP, Mr HUI Cheung-ching, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun and Mr SIN Chung-kai.
(b) Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 5 May 1999 (gazetted on 30 April 1999)
(LC Paper No. LS 172/98-99)
10. The Legal Adviser introduced the paper which detailed the six items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 30 April 1999.
11. Members did not raise any queries on the subsidiary legislation.
12. The Chairman reminded members that the deadline for giving notice to amend the subsidiary legislation at the Council meeting on 2 June 1999 was 26 May 1999.
IV. Further report by the Legal Service Division on outstanding bills
Adaptation of Laws (No. 10) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 169/98-99)
13. The Legal Adviser said that the Administration had proposed Committee Stage amendments relating to the adaptation of the reference to "the Governor" in the Bill in line with similar adaptations in the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998 and Adaptation of Laws (No.2) Bill 1998, which had been passed by the Council on 28 April 1999 and 31 March 1999 respectively.
14. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill could be resumed.
15. The Legal Adviser further said that there were other Adaptation of Laws Bills awaiting the Legal Service Division's further reports. The Administration was now examining these Bills with a view to determining whether there was a need to propose Committee Stage amendments to the Bills concerned in the light of the provisions in the Adaptation of Laws Bills already passed by the Council. The Legal Service Division would submit further reports on these Bills in due course.
V. Business for the Council meeting on 19 May 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 1585/98-99)
16. Members noted that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been scheduled.
(b) Bills - First and Second Readings
(i) Adaptation of Laws (No. 12) Bill 1999
(ii) Adaptation of Laws (No. 13) Bill 1999
(iii) Adaptation of Laws (No. 14) Bill 1999
(iv) Tax Reserve Certificates (Amendment) Bill 1999
17. Members noted that the above four Bills would be introduced into the Council on 19 May 1999 and considered by the House Committee on 21 May 1999.
(c) Bills - resumption of debate on Second Reading, Committee Stage and Third Reading
(i) Adaptation of Laws (No. 6) Bill 1999
(ii) Adaptation of Laws (No. 17) Bill 1998
18. The Chairman said that members agreed at the last meeting that the Second Reading debate on the above two Bills be resumed.
(d) Government motion
19. Members noted that no notice had been received.
(e) Members' motions
(i) Motion on "Development of Chinese medicine centre"
20. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Miss CHAN Yuen-han.
(ii) Motion on "The 4 June incident"
21. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr SZETO Wah.
22. The Chairman said 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 26 May 1999
(a) Bills - First and Second Readings
(i) Road Tunnels (Government) (Amendment) Bill 1999
(ii) Witness Protection Bill
23. Members noted that the above two Bills would be introduced into the Council on 26 May 1999 and considered by the House Committee on 28 May 1999.
(b) Members' motions
(i) Motion to be moved by Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
24. Members noted that Mr Albert HO Chun-yan had been allocated a debate slot.
(ii) Motion to be moved by Hon James TIEN Pei-chun
25. Members noted that Mr James TIEN Pei-chun had been allocated a debate slot.
26. The Chairman said that the deadlines for giving notice of motions and notice of amendments, if any, to the motions were 10 May 1999 and 18 May 1999 respectively. The speaking time limits stipulated in rule 17(c) of the House Rules would apply.
(a) Position report on Bills Committees/subcommittees
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1858/98-99)
27. The Chairman said that there were 16 Bills Committees and three subcommittees in action.
28. The Chairman further said that Mr James TO, Chairman of the Bills Committee on International Organizations (Privileges and Immunities) Bill, had consulted the Administration and had been advised that the Administration would need more time to respond to the queries raised by the Bills Committee. Accordingly, Mr TO had agreed that the work of the Bills Committee be suspended pending the Administration's response.
29. Members agreed that the vacated slot be taken up by the Bills Committee on Provision of Municipal Services (Reorganizaton) Bill.
30. Miss Margaret NG, Chairman of the Bills Committee on Revenue Bill 1999, said that as some of the proposals in the Bill had policy implications, the Bills Committee would invite non-Committee members to attend meetings of the Bills Committee to join in the discussion on revenue proposals relating to the policy areas which were of interest to them.(b) Report of the Subcommittee to study issues relating to the tabling of subsidiary legislation in Legislative Council
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 1267/98-99)
31. Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Chairman of the subcommittee, highlighted the main deliberations of the subcommittee as detailed in the report. He said that the non-tabling of the 19 items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 27 June 1997 and 30 June 1997 did not affect the validity of such subsidiary legislation. He added that the Administration was considering the desirability of enacting validation legislation to remove any doubt on the validity of the subsidiary legislation concerned. As regards the confusion caused by the publication of the two Commencement Notices in respect the Ozone Layer Protection (Controlled Refrigerants) Regulation (General Notice No. 4794 of 1993 and Legal Notice No. 391 of 1998), the Administration was considering the need to repeal the latter Notice by legislative means.
32. Mr ARCULLI further said that the subcommittee had recommended that the implementation of a new lay-out of Legal Supplement No.2 of the Gazette for tabling subsidiary legislation as detailed in paragraph 8 of the paper be supported. Members endorsed the subcommittee's recommendation.VIII. Any other business
(a) Report on quorum of committees (Committee on Rules of Procedure)
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 1264/98-99)
33. Referring to the paper, Mrs Selina CHOW, Chairman of the Committee on Rules of Procedure (CRoP), said that CRoP had considered the suggestion of relaxing the quorum requirement for committees having a large membership and come to the view that the existing quorum requirement should be maintained. Mrs CHOW further said that CRoP had considered the fact that no committees had cancelled or suspended their meetings during to the lack of a quorum; CRoP had also made reference to the quorum requirement of committees of overseas legislatures before coming to this conclusion. Mrs CHOW hoped that members would take into account the time and commitment likely to be involved when considering whether to join any committee.
34. Members agreed with CRoP's conclusion that the existing quorum requirement for committees should be maintained.
(b) Procedural arrangements for initiating motion debate at Panel meetings
35. Mrs Miriam LAU, Chairman of the Panel on Transport, referred members to her letter of 5 May 1999 and said that no procedures were provided for in the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council to deal with motions initiated by members at Panel meetings. This had resulted in the Chairman of a Panel having to exercise discretion and give leave to dispense with notice of the motion and amendments to the motion. Mrs LAU proposed that CRoP should be invited to study the procedural arrangements for processing motions at Panel meetings.
36. Miss Emily LAU said that two Member's motion debates were scheduled for a Council meeting under the existing arrangements. She wondered whether there was a need for Panel members to hold separate motion debates at Panel meetings.
37. Mrs LAU explained that the two motions referred to in her letter were intended to enable Panel members to express their views on the subject matter concerned and take a view thereon. They were not motion debates conducted according to the procedures for debating Member's motions at a Council meeting.
38. Mrs Selina CHOW said that the issue brought up by Mrs LAU appeared to be an appropriate matter to be studied by CRoP.
39. The Chairman suggested and members agreed that the matter be referred to CRoP for consideration.
(c) Changing the Chinese name of the Government House to
40. Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung suggested that as changing the Chinese name of the Government House to
had given rise to much public criticism, the House Committee should urge the Administration to re-consider the Chinese name of the Government House. He also suggested that members should put forward an appropriate Chinese name for the Government House for consideration by the Administration.
41. The Chairman said that as the Administration had recently announced that it would re-consider other Chinese names for the Government House, he did not see the need for the House Committee to write to the Administration in this regard. Members agreed.
42. Mr LEUNG was of the view that the Administration should be asked to put in place a mechanism to consult the public before deciding on the design and naming of landmark government buildings and construction. The Chairman suggested and members agreed to refer Mr LEUNG's suggestion to the Panel on Home Affairs for follow-up.
(d) Proposed amendment to Rule 32 of the Rules of Procedure
43. Miss CHAN Yuen-han said that in accordance with Rule 32 of the Rules of Procedure, she had been asked to change the subject of her motion debate because the subject had been considered by the Council earlier in the current session. Miss CHAN pointed out that given that the terms of a motion could contain a number of points, Rule 32 would effectively limit other Members from proposing a motion on a subject matter which was closely related to only one point of an earlier motion already debated at a Council meeting. In the light of this, she requested that Rule 32 be reviewed by CRoP. Members expressed support.
44. Miss Emily LAU said that the operation of CRoP would be more effective if Members could first seek the views of their own political groups on the matter.
45. Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that he did not share Miss LAU's views as different political groups of the Council were already represented on CRoP.
46. Miss Margaret NG concurred with Mr ARCULLI and said that CRoP could always issue a consultation paper to seek Members' views on a proposal made by CRoP.
(e) Formation of a subcommittee under the House Committee to follow up the issue of right of abode of 1 675 000 people born to Hong Kong permanent residents
47. Mr Martin LEE said that the Administration had indicated that it intended to resolve the issue of right of abode of 1.675 million people in the Mainland born to Hong Kong permanent residents expeditiously by seeking an interpretation of the Basic Law. He suggested that a subcommittee be formed under the House Committee to follow up the matter and that a meeting of the subcommittee should be convened immediately after the special House Committee meeting to be held the following morning.
48. Mrs Selina CHOW was of the view that given the importance of the issue, it would be more appropriate for the House Committee to follow it up. She expressed concern that the House Committee might have difficulty of forming a quorum if many meetings were held within a tight schedule. Mr Ronald ARCULLI echoed Mrs CHOW's views.
49. Miss Margaret NG expressed support for the House Committee to hold special meetings to follow up the issue. She further said that in order to facilitate Members' consideration of the issue, outside professional opinions should be sought.
50. Miss Emily LAU said that as the House Committee did not have the power to summon public officers to provide information requested by Members, it would be necessary to seek the Council's authorization in this regard.
51. The Chairman suggested that Mr LEE's proposal be placed on the agenda for the special House Committee meeting to be held the following day. He also asked the Secretariat to prepare a discussion paper on the way forward to deal with the issue. Members agreed.
Legislative Council Secretariat
12 May 1999