LC Paper No. CB(2) 1636/98-99
Ref : CB2/H/5
House Committee of the Legislative CouncilMembers present :
Minutes of the 26th meeting
held in the Legislative Council Chamber
at 2:30 pm on Friday, 26 March 1999
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 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 Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon HUI Cheung-ching
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon CHAN Kwok-keung
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
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 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 Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
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, JP
Members absent :
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP (Chairman)
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, JP
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Bernard CHAN
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Hon FUNG Chi-kin
Clerk in attendance :
Staff in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Clerk to the House Committee
I. Confirmation of the minutes of the special meeting held on 2 March 1999 and the 25th meeting held on 19 March 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
- Ms Pauline NG
- Assistant Secretary General 1
- Mr Ray CHAN
- Assistant Secretary General 3
- Miss Anita HO
- Assistant Legal Adviser 2
- Mrs Anna LO
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Miss Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- 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
(LC Papers Nos. CB(2)1550 & 1540/98-99)
1. The two sets of minutes were confirmed.
II. Matters arising
(a) Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS)
2. The Deputy Chairman said that he and the Chairman had appealed to the Administration again for a public officer to speak both at the beginning and towards the end of a debate on a Member’s motion. CS had responded that there should not be any hard and fast rule on how the Administration should field speakers for motion debates. The Deputy Chairman added that the Chairman would write to CS on the matter.
3. The Deputy Chairman informed members that CS had given assurance that the Administration would monitor closely the progress of the Y2K compliance exercise in Government and Government-funded or Government-regulated organizations providing essential services.
4. The Deputy Chairman said that the Chief Executive (CE)’s letter of 19 March 1999 had been circulated to Members for information. He added that CE had again declined to attend a meeting of the Council to discuss the three inquiry reports on the chaotic situation at the new airport on opening.
5. Mr LEE Wing-tat and Miss Emily LAU expressed disappointment that CE had not explained why his conclusion in respect of the role and performance of individual civil servants was different from that of the Select Committee’s report. Mr LEE further said that Members belonging to the Democratic Party would discuss whether the Council should be asked to exercise its power under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance to summon CE to appear before the Council to answer Members’ questions on the three reports.
6. The Deputy Chairman suggested that this matter be formally put on the agenda for discussion at the next meeting. Members agreed.
(b) Meeting time of the Finance Committee
7. Assistant Secretary General 1 (ASG1) said that the Administration had indicated that they had no objection if the meeting time of the Finance Committee (FC) was changed to 10:45 am - 12:45 pm on Friday mornings. ASG1 pointed out that the proposed time would however clash with the regular meeting time of the Panels on Environmental Affairs and Transport.
8. Mrs Miriam LAU said that at the meeting of the Panel on Transport held in the morning, Panel members were generally not supportive of changing the regular meeting time of the Panel to make way for FC meetings.
9. Miss Christine LOH said that she anticipated that members of the Panel on Environmental Affairs would not have objection should Members decide to use the 10:45 am - 12:45 pm time-slot for FC meetings.
10. Miss Emily LAU considered it important that the items on the agenda of an FC meeting could be dealt with. She suggested that the Administration be asked to avoid putting forward too many items for one meeting. ASG1 responded that normally six to seven items were included in the agenda for an FC meeting.
11. Mr LEE Wing-tat reiterated his concern that time-slots available for Bills Committee meetings would be reduced if FC meetings were held on Friday mornings. He suggested that the situation be observed for a longer period before determining whether any change to the meeting time of FC was necessary. Mr Ambrose LAU expressed support for Mr LEE’s suggestion.
12. The Deputy Chairman suggested that no change be made to the meeting time of FC for the time being as overrunning of FC meetings had occurred only infrequently. Members agreed.
(c) Monitoring of progress of year 2000 (Y2K) compliance exercise by LegCo Panels
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 1045/98-99)
13. ASG1 introduced the paper and highlighted the proposed arrangements for monitoring the progress of the Y2K compliance exercise in Government and in Government-funded or Government-regulated organizations.
14. In reply to Mr Martin LEE’s enquiry about whether Members’ assistants could participate in the workshop to be held on 1 April 1999, ASG1 said that each Member could send one assistant to attend the workshop.
15. Miss Christine LOH said that the Administration should disseminate widely in the community information on Y2K compliance relating to electrical appliances commonly used at home.
16. Miss Cyd HO asked whether the computers installed in the Legislative Council (LegCo) Secretariat and Members’ offices were Y2K compliant. The Secretary General responded that as the computer systems used in the LegCo Secretariat were relatively new, their design had already taken into account the Y2K compliance requirement. As regards workstations in Members’ offices, funds had been obtained to replace them with the most up-to-date models in April 1999.
17. Mr SIN Chung-kai said that according to the Administration, contingency plans would be formulated by the third quarter of this year. He suggested that the respective Panels should examine these contingency plans sometime in October or November 1999.
III. Business arising from previous Council meetings
Legal Service Division’s reports on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 24 March 1999 (gazetted on 12 and 19 March 1999)
(LC Papers No. LS 132 and LS 135/98-99)
18. The Legal Adviser briefly explained the 12 items of subsidiary legislation detailed in the two papers.
19. The Legal Adviser drew members’ attention to the technical problems explained in LC Paper No. LS 135/98-99 in respect of the Port Control (Cargo Working Areas) (Amendment) Regulation 1999. He said that the Administration had proposed to resolve the technical problems by way of a further amendment regulation to be tabled in late June or early July this year, in order not to delay the implementation of the new system. In the interim period, the public cargo working area operators would not be charged the new fees in so far as the practical implementation of the operation area permit system was concerned.
20. Members raised no queries on the subsidiary legislation covered in the papers.
21. The Deputy Chairman informed members that the deadline for amending the subsidiary legislation was 21 April 1999, or 28 April 1999 if extended by resolution.
IV. Further business for the Council meeting on 31 March 1999
Bills - resumption of debate on Second Reading, Committee Stage and Third Reading
(a) Adaptation of Laws (No. 2) Bill 1998
(b) Adaptation of Laws (No. 3) Bill 1998
(c) Adaptation of Laws (No. 4) Bill 1998
(d) Adaptation of Laws (No. 6) Bill 1998
22. The Deputy Chairman said that members agreed at the House Committee meetings on 12 and 19 March 1999 that the Second Reading debates on the above four Bills be resumed.
Position report on Bills Committees/subcommittees
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1554/98-99)
23. The Deputy Chairman said that there were 13 Bills Committees and three subcommittees in action.
24. Miss Margaret NG said that the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998 dealt with a number of general adaptation principles which also applied to other bills on adaptation of laws. Miss NG enquired about the progress of the Bills Committee on the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998 and asked whether there was any problem with resuming the Second Reading debates on the other bills on adaptation of laws ahead of the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998.
25. Mr Andrew WONG, Chairman of the Bills Committee on Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998, responded that the general adaptation principles had also been considered by the Bills Committee on the Adaptation of Laws (No.2) Bill 1998. He said that at a joint meeting of the two Bills Committee held in February 1999, agreement had been reached with the Administration that all references to “Governor” in respect of making subsidiary legislation and issuing administrative instruments should be changed to “Chief Executive”. He added that Bills Committee members were being consulted on other Committee Stage amendments (CSAs) proposed by the Administration, and that a meeting had been tentatively scheduled for 9 April 1999 in case there was a need to further discuss the CSAs.
26. The Legal Adviser said that as the other bills on adaptation of laws were not dependent on the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998 from the legal point of view, he saw no particular problem with resuming the Second Reading debates on them first.
VI. Any other business
Monitoring of follow-up actions to the recommendations of the three inquiry reports on the opening of the new airport
(A speaking note by Hon James TIEN, Chairman of the Economic Services Panel was tabled at the meeting)
27. Mr James TIEN said that at the meeting with the representatives of the Economic Services Bureau and the Airport Authority on 22 March 1999 to discuss matters falling under their respective purview, members of the Panel on Economic Services noted that the progress report on the follow-up actions taken by the Administration and the Airport Authority covered matters such as those concerning “Guidelines for the development of major infrastructure projects” and “Personal responsibility of individual civil servants”, which fell under the purview of other Panels. The Panel on Economic Services came to the view that it would be more efficient if Members could discuss the follow-up actions contained in the progress report at an appropriate forum involving the relevant Panels and policy bureaux or departments concerned. He invited members’ views on the most appropriate way to follow up the Administration’s response to the recommendations of the three inquiry reports.
28. Mr HUI Cheung-ching suggested that members of the Panels on Home Affairs, Public Service and Planning, Lands and Works should be invited to attend the meeting of the Panel on Economic Services to be held on 14 April 1999 to discuss the follow-up actions taken by the Administration. Other non-Panel Members should also be invited to attend the meeting as the subject matters might be of interest to them. Miss Emily LAU and Miss CHAN Yuen-han expressed support for Mr HUI’s suggestion.
29. Deputy Secretary General enquired whether the meeting on 14 April 1999 would be a meeting of the Panel on Economic Services to which members of the other three Panels would be invited, or whether it would be a joint meeting of the four Panels. The Deputy Chairman said that a joint meeting would facilitate the discussion of the relevant issues. Members agreed.
30. Miss Emily LAU said that the Administration should be asked to provide a comprehensive progress report on the follow-up actions taken or to be taken by the relevant policy bureaux and the Airport Authority for Members’ information prior to the joint meeting on 14 April 1999.
31. Miss CHAN Yuen-han asked the Deputy Chairman to remind the Administration to send appropriate public officers to the joint meeting to answer Members’ questions.
32. The Deputy Chairman said that he would convey to CS the views expressed by Miss LAU and Miss CHAN.
33. In response to Dr Raymond HO’s suggestion, the Deputy Chairman asked the LegCo Secretariat to circulate the minutes of the meeting of the Panel on Economic Services held on 22 March 1999 to non-Panel Members for their information.
34. The meeting ended at 3:12 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
14 April 1999