LC Paper No. CB(2) 494/98-99
Ref : CB2/H/5
House Committee of the Legislative Council
Minutes of the 10th meeting
held in the Legislative Council Chamber
at 2:30 pm on Friday, 23 October 1998
Members present :
Dr Hon YEUNG Sum (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
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 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 CHAN
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
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 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 SZETO Wah
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Hon FUNG Chi-kin
Members absent :
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP (Chairman)
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP
Clerk in attendance :
Staff in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Clerk to the House Committee
- Ricky C C FUNG, JP
- Secretary General
- Jimmy MA, JP
- Legal Adviser
- LAW Kam-sang, JP
- Deputy Secretary General
- LEE Yu-sung
- Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
- Pauline NG
- Assistant Secretary General 1
- Ray CHAN
- Assistant Secretary General 3
- Angela LEE
- Principal Assistant Secretary (Administration)
- Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Arthur CHEUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 5
- KAU Kin-wah
- Assistant Legal Adviser 6
- Anna LO
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Estella CHAN
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)4
- LAW Wing-lok
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2)5
- Betty LEUNG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (3)1
- Mary SO
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8
1. The Deputy Chairman welcomed Mr FUNG Chi-kin to the House Committee meeting.
I.Confirmation of the minutes of the 9th meeting held on 25 September 1998
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 363/98-99)
2. The minutes were confirmed.
Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary forAdministration (CS)
3. The Deputy Chairman referred members to the Director of Administration's letter dated 9 October 1998 which set out a list of Government Bills to be introduced into the Council between October 1998 and July 1999. He said that the list did not include the Adaptation of Laws Bills and those bills relating to the Administration's proposal to abolish the two Municipal Councils.
4. Several members said that the Administration should let Members know the exact number of bills to be introduced and the tentative time-table for their introduction. This would enable Members to have a better idea of the Council's work commitments until July 1999. Members agreed.
5. Miss Margaret NG added that those bills relating to the Administration's proposal to abolish the Municipal Councils should be presented to the Council at the same time.
6. Mr Andrew WONG said that the Administration should include a legislative programme in future Policy Addresses of the Chief Executive. Members agreed.
|7. The Deputy Chairman undertook to convey members views to the Administration at his meeting with CS next week.
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)Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 34/98-99)
8. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to make consequential amendments to provisions in various ordinances affected by the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Ordinance 1996 which came into effect on 1 April 1998. He added that the Bill did not raise any policy issues and was legally in order.
9. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
(ii)Lifts and Escalators (Safety) (Amendment) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 47/98-99)
10. Referring to the paper, the Legal Adviser said that the object of the Bill was to amend the Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance to improve the statutory control over the safety of lifts and escalators. In response to queries raised by the Legal Service Division, the Administration had agreed to move certain Committee Stage amendments to improve the drafting of the Bill. He added that no Panel had been consulted on the proposals set out in the Bill.
11. Mr Edward HO suggested and members agreed that a Bills Committee should be formed. The following members agreed to join : Mr Edward HO Sing-tin, Mr Ronald ARCULLI and Mr Howard YOUNG.
(iii)Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 42/98-99)
(iv)Adaptation of Laws (No. 2) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 37/98-99)
12. The Legal Adviser explained that the two Adaptation of Laws Bills were the first batch of the 54 Adaptation of Laws Bills introduced/to be introduced into the Council between October 1998 and March 1999 under the Adaptation of Laws Programme. The programme aimed to amend all those references in the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region which were inconsistent with the Basic Law or with the status of Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
13. The Legal Adviser said that the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998 detailed in LC paper No. LS 42/98-99 sought to effect essentially technical drafting changes to 15 ordinances and their subsidiary legislation. As regards the Adaptation of Laws (No. 2) Bill 1998 dealt with in LC Paper No. LS 37/98-99, he pointed out that there were certain provisions in the Bill involving adaptations which might not be regarded as merely technical in nature. He added that members might wish to set up Bills Committee(s) to study the two Adaptation of Laws Bills.
14. Miss Margaret NG said that the proposal to change the term "Crown" to "Government" in both Adaptation of Laws Bills had important legal implications and was not a straightforward adaptation exercise. She informed members that the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services would discuss the principles adopted for deciding how the word "Crown" should be adapted at its special meeting on 2 November 1998.
15. Miss NG added that the Administration had already grouped the ordinances which had to be adapted into different subject areas. She was of the view that it would be appropriate for the bills under the Adaptation of Laws Programme to be studied by separate Bills Committees, as such an arrangement would facilitate deputations, if any, to put their views to the relevant Bills Committees for consideration. She therefore considered that the two Adaptation of Laws Bills should be studied by separate Bills Committees.
16. Mr James TO said that as the two Adaptation of Laws Bills dealt with security-related matters, it would appear logical for one Bills Committee to study the two Bills.
17. Mr LEE Wing-tat suggested that the Adaptation of Laws Bills be grouped according to policy areas for study. Miss NG responded that this could result in the Bills Committee concerned diverting its attention to the policy aspects of the ordinances which were not meant to be affected by the Bills.
18. Mr Andrew WONG proposed that all the 54 Adaptation of Laws Bills should be studied by one Bills Committee on the understanding that separate Bills Committees would be formed if necessary. The Deputy Chairman put Mr WONG's proposal to vote. The result of the vote was that the majority of members were not in favour of the proposal.
19. The Deputy Chairman suggested and members agreed to form a Bills Committee to study the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998. The following members agreed to join : Miss Margaret NG, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr James TO, Mr Andrew WONG, Mr TSANG Yok-shing and Miss Emily LAU.
20. The Deputy Chairman suggested and members agreed to form a separate Bills Committee to study the Adaptation of Laws (No. 2) Bill 1998. The following members agreed to join : Miss Margaret NG, Mr James TO, Miss Christine LOH, Mr Andrew WONG, Mr TSANG Yok-shing, Mrs Miriam LAU and Miss Emily LAU.
(b)Legal Service Division's reports on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 14 and 21 October 1998 (gazetted on 9 and 16 October 1998)
(LC Papers Nos. LS 41& 46/98-99)
LC Paper No. LS 41/98-99
21. Members raised no queries on the three items of subsidiary legislation detailed in the paper.
LC Paper No. LS 46/98-99
22. The Legal Adviser explained the six items of subsidiary legislation detailed in the paper. He added that the Legal Service Division was seeking clarification from the Administration on certain technical points concerning the Estate Agents (Licensing) Regulation. Mr LEE Wing-tat suggested and members agreed that a subcommittee should be formed to study the three items of subsidiary legislation made under the Estates Agents Ordinance. The following members agreed to join : Mr LEE Wing-tat, Mr Fred LI Wah-ming, Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum and Mr Gary CHENG Kai-nam.
23. Members raised no queries on the other three items of subsidiary legislation covered in the paper.
24. The Deputy Chairman informed members that the deadline for giving notice to amend the subsidiary legislation on 18 November 1998 was 11 November 1998.
IV.Further report by the Legal Service Division on outstanding bills
Securities (Insider Dealing) (Amendment) Bill 1998
(LC Paper No. LS 48/98-99)
25. The Legal Adviser said that the object of the Bill was to amend the definition of "judge" in section 2(1) of the Securities (Insider Dealing) Ordinance to include a deputy judge of the Court of First Instance, so as to enlarge the pool of eligible candidates for appointment to the Chair of the Insider Dealing Tribunal.
26. The Legal Adviser further said that Legal Service Division had written to the Administration seeking clarification on a query raised by a member at the last meeting relating to the eligibility of former deputy judges for appointment as chairman of the Insider Dealing Tribunal. In its reply, the Administration had confirmed that it was not its policy intention to include former deputy judges as potential candidates for appointment as chairman of the Tribunal. The Administration had also pointed out that the Chief Justice was free to re-appoint a former deputy judge as a deputy judge for the purpose of making him eligible to serve as chairman of the Tribunal and that it was seeking legal advice as to what should be done in regard to the eligibility of former judges of the pre-unification High Court for appointment as the Tribunal's chairman.
27. Messrs Andrew WONG and Ronald ARCULLI expressed reservations about the arrangement under which the Chief Justice had discretionary power to re-appoint a former deputy judge as a deputy judge for the purpose of enabling him to become eligible for appointment as chairman of the Tribunal. The Legal Adviser suggested and members agreed that a Bills Committee should be formed to study the Bill. The following members agreed to join : Mr Martin LEE, Miss Margaret NG and Mr Andrew WONG.
V.Business for the Council meeting on 4 November 1998
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 472/98-99)
28. The Deputy Chairman said that 20 written questions had been tentatively scheduled.
(b)Bills - First and Second Readings
(i)Introduction of the Euro Bill
(ii)Immigration (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1998
29. Members noted that the two Bills would be introduced into the Council on 4 November 1998 and considered by the House Committee on 6 November 1998.
VI.Business for the Council meeting on 11 November 1998
(a)Bills - First and Second Readings
(i)Adaptation of Laws (No. 3) Bill 1998
(ii)Adaptation of Laws (No. 4) Bill 1998
(iii)Adaptation of Laws (No. 5) Bill 1998
(iv)Adaptation of Laws (No. 6) Bill 1998
(v)Marriage (Certificate of Absence of Marriage Record) Bill 1998
(vi)Business Registration (Amendment) Bill 1998
30. Members noted that the above Bills would be introduced into the Council on 11 November 1998 and considered by the House Committee on 13 November 1998.
(i)Motion on "Housing problems"
31. Members noted that Mrs Selina CHOW had withdrawn her notice to move the above motion and that the vacant debate slot had been allocated to Mr Gary CHENG Kai-nam.
(ii)Motion on "Construction of a world-class theme park"
32. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr David CHU.
|33. The Deputy Chairman said that at the meeting of the Committee on Rules of Procedure held on 29 September 1998, some members suggested that the public officers should speak both at the beginning and towards the end of a debate in order that Members would be aware of the Administration's position when they spoke. Members expressed support for the suggestion. The Deputy Chairman further said that the President had indicated that she would be prepared to allow a public officer to speak twice if the Administration had difficulty in assigning more than one public officer to take part in a particular debate. The Deputy Chairman said that he would raise the matter with CS next week.
VII.Further report on the monitoring of issues relating to the overall economic development of Hong Kong
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 334/98-99)
34. The Secretary General introduced the paper and said that the conclusion of his discussion with the chairmen of the three economy-related Panels was that the Panel on Financial Services should be tasked with the responsibility to invite the Financial Secretary to brief the Panel, as well as all other Members, on macro economic issues such as overall economic performance, measures to revive and revitalize the economy, etc. on a periodic basis. As for the follow-up on specific matters which straddled the work of more than one Panel, joint Panel meetings should be held. Members expressed support.
VIII.Nomination of Members to Court of the University of Hong Kong and The English School Foundation
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 432/98-99)
35. Referring to the paper, the Deputy Chairman said that at the meeting on 6 July 1998, members endorsed the nomination and election procedure of members for appointment to the advisory bodies which included the Court of the University of Hong Kong (the University Court) and The English Schools Foundation (ESF). He invited members to nominate four Members to serve on the University Court and two Members to serve on ESF. The following members were elected -
(a)Election of four Members to the Court of the University of Hong Kong
36. Mr LAU Chin-shek, Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung, Mr Ambrose LAU and Mrs Selina CHOW were elected for nomination to the University Court.
(b)Election of two Members to The English Schools Foundation
37. Messrs TSANG Yok-shing and Ronald ARCULLI were elected for nomination to ESF.
38. The Deputy Chairman pointed out that the University of Hong Kong had agreed to amend their statutes so as to specify that elected members of the University Court should be deemed to have resigned from the University Court if they ceased to be members of the body which had elected them. He suggested Messrs TSANG and ARCULLI to request ESF to conduct a similar review of its regulations. Members agreed.
Position report on Bills Committees/subcommittees
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 454/98-99)
39. The Chairman said that there were four Bills Committees and one subcommittee on subsidiary legislation in action.
X.Any other business
Regulation on Admission and Conduct of the Public in the Precincts of the Chamber
(LC Paper No. AS 114/98-99)
40. Miss Margaret NG declared interest as she had previously acted as the legal representative of Mr LEUNG Kwok-hung, who was involved in the disturbance in the public gallery during the Chief Executive's question and answer session on 8 October 1998.
41. Miss Margaret NG said that she was very concerned about the way the protesters were handled during the Council meeting on 8 October 1998. She was of the view that the protesters should be warned first, and only when they failed to observe the warning should the President order that they be removed from the precincts of the Chamber. She pointed out that even in the case of a person causing disturbance in a court, the presiding judge or magistrate would give verbal warning first before ordering the person concerned to be removed from the court.
42. Miss NG also expressed reservations about the need for the Secretariat to hand over the two protesters to the Police for investigation. She added that having a large number of police officers rushing in to deal with what was a relatively minor incident was not compatible with the Council's autonomy. More importantly, over-reaction would undermine the public's trust in the Council's role as the defender of the rights of the public.
43. Several members agreed that a protester should be given a verbal warning first before action was taken to remove the protester from the public galleries of the Chamber, although it was important to maintain order inside the Chamber to ensure that the Council's proceedings would not be disrupted.
44. Several other members were of the view that protesters who had behaved in a disorderly manner in the public galleries on previous occasions should be forewarned before allowing them to enter the precincts of the Chamber.
45. Referring to the incident on 8 October 1998, the Secretary General clarified that the President did order the two protesters to keep quiet. It was only when the protesters failed to do so did the President order them to be removed from the public galleries of the Chamber.
46. Mr James TO suggested that the Secretary General should be authorized to decide whether or not a protester should be handed over to the Police.
47. In reply to members enquiry, the Secretary General said that it had been the established practice to inform the Police of any incident which led to the removal of a member of the public from the public galleries of the Chamber and to hand over the person concerned to the Police.
|48. The Deputy Chairman suggested and members agreed that the following views expressed at the meeting should be conveyed to the President and the Commission -
- protesters behaving in a disorderly manner should be warned first before action was taken to remove them from the public galleries of the Chamber;
- such protesters should not be handed over to the Police in each and every incident; and
- the Secretary General, or an officer of the Secretariat designated by him, should be given discretionary power in deciding whether such protesters should be handed over to the Police.
49. The meeting ended at 4:06 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
27 October 1998