LC Paper No. CB(2) 1030/98-99
Ref : CB2/H/5
House Committee of the Legislative Council
Minutes of the 18th meeting
held in the Legislative Council Chamber
at 2:30 pm on Friday, 8 January 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
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
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
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 HUI Cheung-ching
Hon CHAN Kwok-keung
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 Chin-shek, JP
Hon LAU Kong-wah
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
Hon FUNG Chi-kin
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Members absent :
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
Hon Margaret NG Ngoi-yee
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Clerk in attendance :
Staff in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Clerk to the House Committee
I. Confirmation of the minutes of the 17th meeting held on 18 December 1998
- 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
- 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)
- 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
- Miss Mary SO
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 938/98-99)
1. The minutes were confirmed.
II. Matters arising
III. Business arising from previous Council meetings
- Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS)
2. The Chairman said that CS had promised that the Administration would give the Bills Committee on the District Councils Bill every assistance in its work. CS hoped that scrutiny of the Bill could be expedited.
- Import and Export (Removal of Articles) (Amendment) Regulation 1998
(Secretary for Trade and Industry's letter refers : English version dated 28 December 1998, Chinese version dated 4 January 1999)
3. The Legal Adviser referred members to the Secretary for Trade and Industry's letter which explained the arrangement for ensuring that a faxed notice served under section 20A or 20B of the Import and Export Ordinance was received by the intended recipient.
4. Members raised no further queries on the Amendment Regulation.
- Legal Service Division's report on bills referred to the House Committee in accordance with Rule 54(4)
(i) Adaptation of Laws (No. 13) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 77/98-99)
(ii) Adaptation of Laws (No. 15) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 78/98-99)
(iii) Adaptation of Laws (No. 14) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 79/98-99)
(iv) Adaptation of Laws (No. 16) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 83/98-99)
(v) Adaptation of Laws (No. 17) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 85/98-99)
(vi) Adaptation of Laws (No. 11) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 74/98-99)
5. The Legal Adviser explained the amendments proposed in the above six Adaptation of Laws Bills. He informed members that the Legal Service Division was seeking clarification from the Administration on the meaning of the term "Crown Agents", as pointed out in paragraph 6 of LC Paper No. LS 85/98-99.
6. Referring to the Adaptation of Laws (No. 14) Bill 1998 (LC Paper No. LS 79/98-99) which dealt with the adaptation of 24 ordinances relating to the incorporation of various religious organisations, the Chairman asked the Legal Adviser to ascertain whether the Administration had consulted the religious bodies concerned on the proposed amendments.
7. Mr Andrew WONG referred to LC Paper No. LS 74/98-99 and LC Paper No. LS 83/98-99 and asked the Legal Adviser to explain the rationale for changing the term "the Crown" to "the State" or "the Government". The Legal Adviser responded that note 1 in Annex A to LC Paper No. LS 83/98-99 set out the general principles adopted by the Administration in the adaptation of the term *the Crown* in the context of the Adaptation of Laws (No. 16) Bill 1998. The Bills Committee on the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998 was studying the approach for adaptation of the term *the Crown* as a general issue.
8. Members agreed to defer consideration of the above six Adaptation of Laws Bills until the Bills Committees on the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998 and the Adaptation of Laws (No. 2) Bill 1998 had completed work.
(vii) Adaptation of Laws (No. 12) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 75/98-99)
9. Introducing the paper, the Legal Adviser explained that the No. 12 Bill dealt with the adaptation of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance and six other ordinances relating to legal procedure and judicial proceedings matters. He said that by virtue of the proposed amendment to Rule 4 of the Indictment Rules under the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, it would appear that the trial of criminal offences under a national law applying in Hong Kong should adopt English practice and procedure. He pointed out that this appeared to be a policy matter which warranted detailed consideration by a Bills Committee.
10. The Chairman said that Miss Margaret NG, who was unable to attend the meeting, had in writing expressed support that a Bills Committee be formed to study the Bill. Members agreed to form a Bills Committee and the following members agreed to join : Miss Margaret NG, Mr Andrew WONG Wang-fat, Mr Jasper TSANG Yok-shing and Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing.
- Legal Service Division's reports on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 6 January 1999 (gazetted on 18 , 24 and 31 December 1998)
(LC Papers Nos. LS 81, 86 and 88/98-99)
LC Paper No. LS 81/98-99
11. The Legal Adviser introduced the paper which covered the 11 items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 18 December 1998. Referring to the Ozone Layer Protection (Controlled Refrigerants) Regulation (Cap. 403 Sub. Leg.) (Commencement) Notice 1998, the Legal Adviser said that the Regulation was made by the relevant authority in May 1993 and was intended to be brought into effect on 1 January 1994. However, the original Commencement Notice was published as a General Notice and it was not laid on the table of the Legislative Council as required of subsidiary legislation. The Administration took the view that another Commencement Notice had to be published to give the Regulation legal effect. The Legal Adviser advised that, although the Administration had confirmed that no prosecution action had been taken since 1994, members might wish to set up a subcommittee to consider other practical implications on the trades since that date and whether other legislative action, if necessary, would be the more appropriate means of addressing the problem.
12. The Chairman suggested that a subcommittee should be formed to study the problems as explained by the Legal Adviser. The following members agreed to join : Miss Cyd HO Sau-lan, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mr Ronald ARCULLI and Mr WONG Yung-kan. The Chairman further suggested that deliberations and recommendations, if any, of the subcommittee relating to the "legislative effect" of General Notices could be referred to the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services for consideration.
13. Members raised no queries on the remaining 10 items of subsidiary legislation covered in the paper.
LC Paper No. LS 86/98-99
|14. Referring to the Travel Industry Compensation Fund (Amount of Ex Gratia Payments and Financial Penalty) (Amendment) Rules 1998, the Legal Adviser said that the Legal Service Division had raised queries on the application forms for claiming ex-gratia payments. The Administration had advised that the Travel Industry Compensation Fund Management Board had been requested to make amendments to the forms by the end of the month. The Chairman asked the Legal Adviser to report further development in due course.||LA
15. Members raised no queries on the other item of subsidiary legislation covered in the paper.
LC Paper No. LS 88/98-99
16. Members did not raise any queries on the three Commencement Notices covered in the paper.
17. The Chairman informed members that the deadline for giving notice to amend the subsidiary legislation at the Council meeting on 3 February 1999 was 27 January 1999, and the deadline for giving notice to extend the scrutiny period from 3 February 1999 to 10 February 1999 was 29 January 1999.
18. The Chairman advised that the subcommittee formed to study the Ozone Layer Protection (Controlled Refrigerants) Regulation (Cap. 403 Sub. Leg.) (Commencement) Notice 1998 should give notice to move a motion to extend the scrutiny period if it needed more time for scrutiny.IV. Further report by the Legal Service Division on outstanding bills
Marriage (Certificate of Absence of Marriage Record) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 87/98-99)
19. Introducing the paper, the Legal Adviser said that at the House Committee meeting on 13 November 1998, Mr James TO raised a query on whether the proposed amendments in the Bill could put beyond doubt the validity of "Certificates of Absence of Marriage Record" already issued. Mr TO had considered the Administration's replies and raised no further queries on the Bill. The Legal Adviser added that, as originally reported, the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were in order.
20. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
V. Business for the Council meeting on 13 January 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 1023/98-99)
21. The Chairman said that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
(b) Bill - First and Second Readings
Human Organ Transplant (Amendment) Bill 1999
22. Members noted that the above Bill would be introduced into the Council on 13 January 1999 and considered by the House Committee on 15 January 1999.
23. The Chairman said that the Subcommittee on the Human Organ Transplant Ordinance was formed in November 1998 to study the Ordinance and related matters in advance of the introduction of the Amendment Bill. He suggested that in anticipation of the formation of a Bills Committee to study the Amendment Bill, a circular should be issued after the meeting to invite Members to indicate their intention to join the Bills Committee, so that it could start work within the shortest possible time. Members agreed.
(c) Bills - resumption of debate on Second Reading, Committee Stage and Third Reading
(i) Evidence (Amendment) Bill 1998
(ii) Business Registration (Amendment) Bill 1998
24. Members noted that the Administration had given notices to resume the Second Reading debate on the two Bills at the Council meeting on 13 January 1999.
(d) Members' motions
(i) Motion on "Review of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme"
25. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Dr YEUNG Sum.
26. The Chairman informed members that Mr CHAN Kam-lam had given notice to move amendments to the above motion.
(ii) Motion on "Developing continued education"
27. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr TAM Yiu-chung.
28. The Chairman said that the deadline for giving notice of amendments to the above motions expired on 6 January 1999. The speaking time limits stipulated in rule 17(c) of the House Rules would apply.
VI. Chief Executive's Question and Answer Session on 14 January 1999
29. The Chairman said that the Chief Executive (CE) would start the session with a few introductory remarks, after which he would answer any questions Members might raise. The Chairman asked whether members had any subject matters that they would like CE to cover. Dr Raymond HO suggested that CE might wish to speak on the ministerial system.
30. In reply to Mr Ronald ARCULLI, the Secretary General said that he had re-confirmed with the Director of Administration that Members could raise questions on any topics at the meeting on 14 January 1999.
31. Miss Emily LAU asked whether CE had responded to Members' request that he should attend meetings of the Council to discuss and answer questions on public issues and government policies on a more regular and frequent basis. In reply, the Chairman said that CE had not indicated that there would be any change in his plan of attending three meetings of the Legislative Council during the current legislative session. Miss LAU asked the Chairman to continue to pursue Members' request with the Administration.
VII. Business for the Council meeting on 20 January 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 1024/98-99)
32. The Chairman said that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
(b) Bill - First and Second Readings
Adaptation of Laws (No. 18) Bill 1998
33. Members noted that the above Bill would be introduced into the Council on 20 January 1999 and considered by the House Committee on 22 January 1999.
(c) Government motion
Resolution under section 7 of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59) - to be moved by the Secretary for Education and Manpower
34. The Chairman informed members that the Administration had given notice to move a resolution at the Council meeting on 20 January 1999 to seek the Council's approval of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Confined Spaces) Regulation made by the Commissioner for Labour under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance. The subcommittee on regulations relating to occupational safety and health would report under agenda item VIII(c).
(d) Members' motions
(i) Motion on "Right and freedom of Hong Kong residents to strike"
35. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr CHAN Wing-chan.
(ii) Motion on "Comprehensive review of the Target Oriented Curriculum"
36. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung.
37. The Chairman informed members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments (if any) to the motions was 13 January 1999. 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) 988/98-99)
38. The Chairman said that there were 12 Bills Committees and four subcommittees in action, including the one Bills Committee and one subcommittee formed earlier at the meeting.
(b) Report of the Bills Committee on Lifts and Escalators (Safety) (Amendment) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 723/98-99)
39. Introducing the paper, Dr Raymond HO, Chairman of the Bills Committee, said that in response to the Bills Committee, the Administration would move Committee Stage amendments (CSAs) to address the Bills Committee's concerns about the minimum qualifications for registration as a lift or escalator engineer, the grace period allowed for mechanised vehicle parking systems and service lifts, and other issues.
40. Members noted that the Second Reading debate on the Bill would be resumed on 20 January 1999.
(c) Report of the Subcommittee on regulations relating to occupational safety and health on the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Confined Spaces) Regulation
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 976/98-99)
41. Mr Andrew CHENG, Chairman of the Subcommittee, said that the Administration had agreed to incorporate the agreed amendments in the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Confined Spaces) Regulation as set out in Appendix II to the paper. He further said that in response to the Subcommittee, the Administration had undertaken to keep the Panel on Manpower informed of the time-table to incorporate the various regulations made under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance into the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (OSHO), and to add to the code of practice for Safety Management Regulation a provision on the right of workers to refuse work on the ground of safety or health hazard, and a mechanism for dealing with issues relating to work hazards.
42. Mr James TIEN expressed concern about the impact on a works project if the right of employees to refuse to perform dangerous work was provided in the occupational safety and health related regulations and OSHO. In response, the Chairman said that detailed proposals on the right of employees to refuse to perform dangerous work were being formulated by the Administration and would be submitted to the Council for consideration in due course.
(d) Report of the Parliamentary Liaison Subcommittee
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 1036/98-99)
43. Mr Edward HO, Chairman of the Subcommittee, said that 11 Members had indicated interest in joining the delegation to visit Japan from 23 to 27 January 1999. As this number exceeded the proposed size of the delegation by one Member only and the Members concerned had agreed to meet any excess expenditure on a pro-rata basis, the Subcommittee recommended that all 11 Members should form the delegation. Members expressed support.
IX. Any other business
44. The Chairman said that in response to members' request made at the House Committee meeting on 4 December 1998, the Secretariat would shortly issue a paper providing information on the number of financial proposals which had been presented to the relevant Panels prior to consideration by the Finance Committee and its Subcommittees.
45. The meeting ended at 3:16 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
13 January 1999