LC Paper No. CB(2)1650/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/PL/HA
LegCo Panel on Home Affairs
Minutes of meeting
held on Monday, 8 March 1999 at 3:30 pm
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building
Members Present :
Hon CHOY So-yuk (Chairman)
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Christine LOH
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP
Members Absent :
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Member Attending :
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Public Officers Attending :
Attendance by Invitation :
- Item IV
- Mr David LAN
- Secretary for Home Affairs
- Mr NG Sek-hon
- Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs (Culture and Sport)
- Mr NGAI Wing-chit
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs
- Item V
- Mr David LAN
- Secretary for Home Affairs
- Miss Helen TANG
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs
- Mr Philip CHAN
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Security
- Mr Derek GOULD
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower
- Miss Shirley YUNG
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Constitutional Affairs
- Mr Stephen WONG
- Deputy Solicitor General
- Ms Roxana CHENG
- Senior Assistant Solicitor General
- Mrs Cecilia TONG
- Assistant Director of Social Welfare (Family and Child Welfare)
- Mr LI Kok-ming
- Chief Social Security Officer (Social Security)
- Item VI
- Mr NG Sek-hon
- Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs (Culture and Sport)
- Mr P A RULL
- Assistant Director of Urban Services Department (Leisure Policy)
- Mr Johnny WOO
- Assistant Director of Urban Services Department
- (Leisure Management)
- Mr Eddy YAU
- Assistant Director of Regional Services Department
- (Leisure Services)
- Item VII
- Mr David TSUI
- Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs (2)
- Mr Augustine CHENG
- Deputy Director of Home Affairs
- Mr G F FLETCHER
- Departmental Secretary of Home Affairs Department
Clerk in Attendance :
- Item VI
- Hong Kong Sports Development Board
- Mr John HUNG, JP
- Prof K M CHAN
- Board Member
- Prof Frank FU
- Board Member
- Mr David YAU
- Board Member
- Mr Andrew MA
- Chief Executive
- The Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee
- of Hong Kong, China
- Mr Con CONWAY
- Vice President
- Mrs Vivien FUNG
- Vice President
Staff in Attendance :
- Mrs Constance LI
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2
I. Confirmation of minutes and matters arising
- Miss Flora TAI
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 2
[LC Paper Nos. CB(2)1400/98-99, CB(2)1404/98-99 and CB(2)1364/ 98-99]
The minutes of the meetings held on 25 November [LC Paper No. CB(2)1400/98-99] and 7 December 1999 [LC Paper No. CB(2)1404/98-99] were confirmed.
2. Members noted that the Administration had provided the following papers as requested at the meeting on 7 December 1998 -
II. Information papers issued since the last meeting
- response to the submissions on the report of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [Paper No. CB(2)1364/98-99(01)]; and
- letter of 5 January 1999 from the Commissioner for Census and Statistics to Miss Christine LOH explaining the method adopted by the United Nations (UN) in compiling gender statistics [Paper No. CB(2)1364/98-99(02)].
[Paper Nos. CB(2)1422/98-99 and CB(2)1426/98-99(05)]
3. Members noted the following information papers issued since the last meeting -
III. Items for discussion at the next meeting
- letter of 27 February 1999 from Dr Andrew BYRNES and Ms Moana ERICKSON of the University of Hong Kong enclosing a paper on gender policy analysis [Paper No. CB(2)1422/98-99(01)]; and
- memorandum of 5 March 1999 from Dr Maria TAM and Dr Catherine TANG of the Chinese University of Hong Kong providing information on gender-related policy, research and study programmes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong [Paper No. CB(2)1426/98-99(05)].
[Appendix to LC Paper No. CB(2)1394/98-99]
4. Members agreed to discuss the following at the next meeting on Monday, 12 April 1999 -
IV. New structure for culture and sport
- Legislative and administrative measures to improve management and fire safety in private buildings; and
- Review of Sex Discrimination Ordinance and Disability Discrimination Ordinance.
[Paper No. CB(2)1417/98-99(01)]
5. At the Chairman's invitation, Secretary for Home Affairs (S for HA) briefed members on the public consultation exercise conducted by the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) on the new administrative framework for culture, arts, recreation and sports services. He said that after careful examination of the views and opinions received, the Administration would formulate the new framework on the basis of the following common understandings as set out in paragraphs 30-35 of the Consultation Report on the New Administrative Framework of Culture, the Arts, Recreation and Sports Services -
- the majority view favoured the establishment of a new department to take over the provision of arts, culture, sports and recreation services which were currently performed by the two Municipal Councils;
- the majority view supported disbursement of resources by Government based on established policies and the setting up of a mechanism on top of the new department to formulate long-term cultural policies;
- district organisations sought greater participation in the funding mechanism and additional resources for training of people in the locality; and
- the public and members of relevant professional bodies strongly advocated enhancement of arts and sports training in primary and secondary schools, for the benefit of the long-term development of Hong Kong.
6. Ms HO Sau-lan remarked that the Administration had not put forward any concrete options or timetable when it started public consultation last year. It was therefore difficult for concerned organisations and individuals to make specific comments on the Administration's proposal. Considering the long time taken by the Administration in preparing the Consultation Report (the public consultation period ended on 14 December 1998), she urged for early release of the report prepared by the independent Consultant, Mr Albert LAM, to facilitate collation of public views and suggestions.
7. S for HA responded that the Consultant's Report was being examined by the Administration and would hopefully be ready for release before end March 1999. S for HA also confirmed that the Consultant's Report would cover both culture and sport.
|8. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG asked about the number of people participated in the public consultation on the new structure for culture and sport, and whether the Administration had information on the number of electors in the sports, performing arts, culture and publication functional constituency of the Legislative Council. S for HA responded that Home Affairs Bureau had issued 1,500 letters to relevant organisations and parties to invite them to attend the open forum. As regards the number of electors under the relevant functional constituency, he undertook to check with Constitutional Affairs Bureau and provide the information in writing. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG was not satisfied with the Administration's responses. He expressed disappointment that the Home Affairs Bureau did not even have such basic information in hand before public consultation. He therefore questioned the basis on which the Administration constructed the new framework since the scope of consultation might not have covered the relevant functional constituency. In response, S for HA stressed that HAB had made its best efforts to obtain the views of concerned parties and the public. He had personally also attended meetings with the Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong (ASF&OC), the Hong Kong Sports Development Board (HKSDB), the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.||Adm|
(Post-meeting note : The Secretary for Home Affairs had given a written response vide LC Paper No. CB(2)1487/98-99 issued on 15 March 1999.)
9. Responding to Mr MA Fung-kwok's enquiry about the extent of participation of the Consultant in the public consultation meetings, S for HA said that the Consultant had held meetings with the relevant bureaux/departments/ organisations and attended the five open forums to listen to views expressed.
10. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG informed the meeting that the Consultant had declined an invitation to meet with members of the Provisional Urban Council (PUC) before the Consultant's Report was finalised. S for HA responded that the Consultant was in fact very willing to attend meetings with concerned organisations, unless there were clashes of meetings. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG said that he would like the Administration to arrange for a meeting between the Consultant and members of PUC. He added that members of PUC had given their views on the new structure for food safety and environmental hygiene services at a joint meeting of relevant LegCo Panels. PUC members would make similar request to the Panel with regard to the new structure on culture and sport. Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs (Culture & Sports) (DS for HA (C&S)) responded that he himself and representatives of HAB had attended meetings of the two Municipal Councils and had relayed their concerns on the new structure to the Consultant.
11. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG expressed dissatisfaction that the Annex to the Consultation Report containing details of the public submissions was only available for members' perusal at the meeting. The Chairman clarified that copies of the Annex were made available by the Administration on Saturday, 6 March and they could only be tabled at the meeting. Mr CHEUNG said that he would consult members of PUC on the Consultation Report and forward their views to LegCo for consideration. Mr Timothy FOK said that he would also consult the 71 National Sports Associations (NSAs) under ASF&OC on the Consultation Report.
V. Follow-up to the Hearing of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (UN Committee) on the initial report on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
|12. The Chairman commented that the submissions in the Annex to the Consultation Report indicated divergent views from the public and concerned organisations. She therefore had doubts as to how a conclusion could have been drawn by the Administration that the majority of opinions favoured a simple replacement of the present structure by a new department and a new bureau. Ms HO Sau-lan and Mr MA Fung-kwok also raised similar concerns. The Chairman said that the Panel on Home Affairs would need to hold further discussion with the Administration on the subject. She also urged the Administration to study the consultation findings carefully and seek more views before coming to a conclusion on the new administrative framework for culture and sports. She did not consider it necessary for the Administration to rush for a decision.
[Paper No. CB(2)1429/98-99]
13. At the invitation of the Chairman, S for HA briefed members on the hearing of the UN Committee on the initial report of the HKSAR under Article 18 of CEDAW. He informed members that the principle of "one country, two systems" was demonstrated in the way the initial report of the HKSAR was submitted to the UN. Firstly, the Central People's Government had made no alteration to the content of the initial report which was prepared solely by the HKSAR Government. Secondly, apart from a brief opening speech by Ambassador QIN Huasun (Permanent Representative of the Chinese Mission to the UN), the entire hearing on the HKSAR's initial report was dealt with by the Hong Kong team independently. He also drew members' attention to the various commendatory remarks by the UN Committee as highlighted in the Administration's information note [Paper No. CB(2)1429/98-99(02)].
14. Miss Christine LOH asked whether it was cost-effective for HKSAR to send a large team of ten representatives to attend the UN hearing, as only limited time was allocated to the HKSAR's initial report. In response, S for HA said that the hearing of the China's report took place on 1 February and 2 February 1999, and the HKSAR alone was allocated the whole morning session of 2 February 1999. By referring members of the UN Committee to written information where appropriate during the hearing, HKSAR representatives had made maximum use of the time available and about six or seven of them had the opportunity to answer questions at the hearing. He pointed out that in addition to clarifying our position at the hearing, the attendance of the ten representatives was both useful and necessary for the preparatory work and establishing informal contact with members of the UN Committee. Moreover, the high level and large delegation of HKSAR reflected the importance attached to women's rights by the HKSAR Government.
|15. Mr James TO expressed dissatisfaction that the Administration' press release had only highlighted the commendations of the UN Committee but failed to give positive response to the comments and recommendations made by the UN Committee. Mr TO warned that if the Administration still maintained a lax attitude to UN recommendations, HKSAR would face severe criticism at the next hearing of the UN Committee on the HKSAR's second report. Responding to Mr TO, S for HA clarified that the press release was meant to give a full picture on HKSAR's current situation. In fact, the Administration had already undertaken, as indicated in the press release and information note to consider carefully all the points made by the UN Committee. S for HA said that the Administration was fully aware that the UN Committee's comments could not be taken lightly and the HKSAR Government was making continuous progress to implement CEDAW, through long term efforts made in various fields such as employment, education, medical and welfare services. Responding to Mr TO, S for HA said that Government would take a holistic view of the recommendations of the UN Committee, and that the Policy Groups headed by the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS) would co-ordinate the efforts of relevant bureaux in implementing the recommendations. The Chairman advised that the Administration should provide clear, specific response to each recommendation made by the UN Committee. S for HA said that the Administration's initial response to the concluding comments of the UN Committee was given in Annex D to Paper No. CB(2)1429/98-99(02). The Administration would need some time to formulate concrete proposal for implementation of each recommendation made by the UN Committee.||Adm|
A high-level central mechanism for development and co-ordination of a women-focused policy
|16. In response to Mr James TO's enquiry about the Administration's stance on the suggestion of the UN Committee to set up a high-level central mechanism to develop and co-ordinate a women-focused policy (e.g. a Women's Commission), S for HA said that women's issues impinged on a wide range of policy areas, and HAB was responsible for the co-ordination on women issues. In addition, there were Policy Groups chaired by the CS and attended by senior representatives of the relevant bureaux. It was therefore not necessary to set up a new high-level mechanism for women matters, particularly when Government was now streamlining its structure and cutting expenditure. Miss CHAN Yuen-han remarked that she had been promoting women rights for many years but was not aware of the existence of these Policy Groups. She therefore asked the Administration to provide documentary evidence on the operation of such mechanism in the co-ordination of provision of women services and addressing women's problems. S for HA clarified that the current mechanism was not a designated body to deal solely with women matters. Miss CHAN was dissatisfied with the Administration's response. She pointed out that the Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) had also recommended setting up a Women's Commission to oversee all women matters, as EOC was only responsible for the administration of three anti-discrimination ordinances. In this regard, Mr LEE Wing-tat also queried the Administration's argument for not setting up a Women's Commission, since there was a Commission on the Elderly to oversee elderly matters. Mr LEE Wing-tat requested the Administration to provide a response to the paper on gender policy analysis prepared by Dr. Andrew BYRNES and Ms Moana ERICKSON [Paper No. CB(2)1422/98-99(01)]. Referring to paragraph 5 of the paper which set out the broad objectives of a national machinery for women's issues, Mr LEE also requested S for HA to provide information on the objectives and scope of work of the Policy Groups to show how they have achieved similar objectives.
|17. Ms Emily LAU expressed doubt that the Policy Groups had ever studied various policies from the perspective of women. She suggested that CS should be summoned under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance (Cap. 382) to explain to the Panel and to produce documents to show what had been done by the Administration to address women's needs. Ms HO Sau-lan shared Ms LAU's view, pointing out that women's needs, such as the re-training and employment opportunities of women at grass-root levels, had not been mentioned in the proposed Budget for 1999-2000. She also cited the example that the policy of restricting admission to elderly homes to senile persons requiring full-time formal personal care was an exploitation of no-pay services of women at home. Miss Christine LOH informed the meeting that she had written to the CS requesting a meeting to discuss the issue of setting up a high-level central mechanism for women's issues but to no avail. She therefore suggested that CS should be invited to a Panel meeting to discuss the matter. Responding to members' concerns, S for HA advised that the Policy Groups adopted an equal opportunity perspective in policy deliberations, and because of the wide areas of concerns of CS's Policy Groups, the women perspective was not highlighted unless women issues were discussed. To facilitate members' consideration of the matter, the Chairman advised that the Administration should provide extracts of records of relevant meetings of these Policy Groups when women's issues or policies were discussed.
18. Referring to the UN Committee recommendations, the Chairman asked whether the Administration would formulate a women-focused policy. In response, S for HA said that the Administration had all along been upholding the principle of equal opportunities for both sexes. He added that HAB was the policy bureau responsible for women matters. The Administration aimed to provide a discrimination-free environment for the development of women's full potential in political, social, economical and cultural areas. A wide range of services for women including social welfare, education and employment, etc is being provided to ensure a level-playing field for women and men. He pointed out that the HKSAR had been making progress in these areas, for example, over 50% of university graduates last year were female.
Small house policy
19. In response to Miss Christine LOH's enquiry about the timetable for the review of small house policy, S for HA informed members that the review was being conducted by Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands. It would hopefully be completed by the end of 1999. Referring to the press release which stated that the Government would review the need for the retention of small house policy if changing circumstances suggested that the policy might no longer be necessary, Miss Christine LOH sought clarification as to whether the Administration had deviated from its previous undertaking to replace the small house policy. In this connection, Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs explained that Miss Christine LOH introduced the Sex and Disability Discrimination (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill in 1996 proposing, inter alia, the removal of the exception for the small house policy which was considered as a form of discrimination against women. The Administration had undertaken to set up a review committee on the small house policy with the aim to examine how to eliminate or reduce any discrimination against women. Miss LOH disagreed with the Administration's response, pointing out that according to the speech of the then Secretary for Home Affairs at the Council sitting on 11 June 1997, the review committee was to examine how best to replace the existing small house policy. She said that she would forward the relevant Hansard to the Chairman and demand further response from the Administration at a future meeting. In this connection, Mr James TO remarked that he would support elimination of the small house policy rather than an extension of similar right to female indigenous villagers.
Women in statutory and advisory bodies
20. Ms Emily LAU referred to the Administration's response that the UN Committee's suggestion of adopting affirmative action (e.g. quota system) for appointment of women to statutory and advisory bodies would go against the principle of appointment based on individual merits. Ms LAU was strongly of the view that the statement was an insult to women as it implied that appointing a pre-determined number of women for statutory advisory bodies could lead to appointment of incapable persons to these bodies. Ms LAU further pointed out that developed countries such as Norway had set a 40% quota of either sex for such bodies. S for HA responded that pre-determination of the number of either sex might not be appropriate to the situation of the HKSAR. Moreover, the proposal would deviate from the normal practice of appointing the best persons capable of meeting the specific requirements of the relevant bodies.
Women's participation in economic activities
21. Referring to the Administration's response to the written submissions received for the meeting of 7 December 1998 [Paper No. CB(2)1364/98-99(01)], Miss CHAN Yuen-han was of the view that the Administration had presented a rosy picture about women's participation in economic activities. She pointed out that the high percentage (81%) of female trainees under the Employees Retraining Scheme since its inception in 1992 was due to the fact that more women had been displaced from the labour market as a result of re-structuring of economy.
Child care services
22. Miss CHAN expressed concern about the shortfall in the provision of child care facilities and asked what significant improvement had been made by the Administration in past years. Assistant Director of Social Welfare responded that the Social Welfare Department (SWD) had noted the demand for more child care facilities. Apart from meeting the short fall according to planning ratio, SWD had been liaising with voluntary child care bodies on the proposal of extending their service hours and increasing the number of such child care centres by ten in addition to the five existing centres. In this connection, consideration was being given to re-deployment of resources from the occasional child care services which were currently under-utilized so as to increase support for extended hour service.
VI. Provision of resources for sports facilities and training
|23. In summing up the discussion, the Chairman said that it was clear that many members were not satisfied with the Administration's response to the comments of the UN Committee, particularly on the setting up of a high-level central mechanism for women's issues. She said that the Panel would follow up these matters at its future meetings.
[LC Paper Nos. CB(2)1414/98-99(01), CB(2)1426/98-99 and CB(2)1432/98-99]
24. The Chairman welcomed representatives of the Administration, HKSDB and ASF&OC for attending discussion of the provision of resources for sports facilities and training.
Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China
25. At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr Timothy FOK, President of ASF&OC, addressed the meeting on the views of AFS&OC concerning provision of resources for sports facilities and training. He said that while the Chief Executive had pledged in his 1998 Policy Address that the Administration would study the need for a major sports venue and a water sport centre, there seemed to be little progress as the focus was now on the construction of a Disney theme park. The sports community hoped that both projects could progress concurrently.
26. Mr FOK said that the recent outstanding achievements of Hong Kong athelets in the Asian Games had drawn the attention of the public and the media to the sports facilities and training in Hong Kong, particularly the operation of HKSDB which was funded by public money. As regards ASF&OC, Mr FOK said that there were 71 National Sports Associations (NSAs) with over 300,000 members affiliated to ASF&OC whose office-bearers were elected amongst NSAs. He added that ASF&OC was very concerned about the future structure for recreation and sports as this would have great impact on the future of ASF&OC and the athelets. ASF&OC considered it an opportune time to review the sports structure to achieve a more balanced and effective allocation of public resources, as the economic downturn and the ban of tobacco sponsorship had significantly reduced the income of NSAs. He considered that the issue was not a question of whether or not the Municipal Councils should be abolished, but rather the need for a holistic policy to oversee and monitor the allocation of resources, to promote professional leadership in the sports community and to co-ordinate efforts among various sports organizations, sports experts and athelets for the healthy development of sports and recreation.
27. The Vice-Presidents of ASF&OC considered that ASF&OC with its international status and professional sports management experience should be represented in the formulation of the new structure for sports. They urged the Administration not to overlook those sports (other than focus sports) which had potential for further development, in the planning of provision of sports facilities. They stressed that ASF&OC would like to have close partnership with other stakeholders in mapping the future sports structure.
Hong Kong Sports Development Board
28. At the Chairman's invitation, Chairman of HKSDB highlighted the salient points in HKSDB's discussion papers and the background of its amalgamation with Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) in 1994. He said that HKSDB was gratified with the increased Government support and subvention to HKSDB in recent years. He stressed that as an agent of the Government to lead and develop sports, HKSDB was certainly not a big-spender, and it was fully aware of the need to exercise economic use of both Government subvention and commercial sponsorships. Discussion of concerns raised by members were summarised in paragraphs 29-40.
Selection of focus sports
29. In response to the comment of a Vice-President of AFS&OC about the exclusion of certain sports such as tenpin bowling and snooker from the list of Focus Sports, Chairman of HKSDB explained that a set of criteria had been established by HKSI for the selection of focus sports. He pointed out that Government subvention could only cover 65%-70% of the total expenditure of HKSDB, and the shortfall had to be met by sponsorships and other income. It was therefore necessary to prioritise the allocation of resources, and selection of focus sports had been based on stringent criteria weighted heavily on the performance and overall development of the particular sports. Appeals in this respect were heard by a review committee, and HKSDB would base their decisions on the review committee's recommendations. Chairman of HKSDB added that HKSDB was in a dilemma because as its efforts in sports development were more successful, more sports would become qualified for inclusion as focus sports, resulting in greater demands for funding support. To address this concern, a subcommittee had been set up under the chairmanship of Professor K M CHAN, with representatives drawn from HKSDB, ASF&OC and HAB, to review the selection criteria. The subcommittee was expected to make its recommendations in about six months' time.
30. With regard to ASF&OC's concern that all the 12 Focus Sports at the moment were individual sports and that insufficient efforts were made to cultivate and develop team sports, Chairman of HKSDB said that more resources would be allocated to a new category of popular sports including a number of team sports.
Staff and administrative costs
31. Referring to some press comments that HKSDB was over-staffed, Chairman of HKSDB said that this was a wrong impression caused by its amalgamation with HKSI in 1994. In fact, the staff establishment of HKSDB had remained rather stable since its inception in 1990, and the combined establishment of HKSDB and HKSI was at its highest at 393 in 1995-96. Chairman of HKSDB pointed out that he had insisted on streamlining the structure of HKSDB since his assumption of office on 1 April 1996, and the total staff establishment had been reduced to 357 through pooling of resources and achieving economy of scale. He said that HKSDB would not be able to make further reductions until the new structure for sports was known.
32. Mr MA Fung-kwok referred to HKSDB's 1998-99 Budget [Paper No. CB(2)1414/98-99(01)] and pointed out that, excluding the heavy staff costs for elite training programme, the staff costs for sports development, commercial activities and administration & public relations still represented 20% ($54 million) of the total expenditure of HKSDB. While acknowledging the high costs for employment of coaches for the elite training programme, the Chairman also expressed doubts about the need for spending $54 million on staff costs for activities other than elite training. In response, a HKSDB Board Member explained the functions performed by these staff under the various programmes, as detailed in HKSDB's supplementary information note [Paper No. CB(2)1432/98-99] tabled at the meeting. The HKSDB Board Member explained that promotion and development of sports were one of the core functions of HKSDB, and it was necessary to devote staff resources to liaise with NSAs and the municipal councils on sports development programmes, to administer the block grant funding to NSAs and to plan and run programmes for schools and coaches, etc. Other staff resources were deployed to sports marketing and management of venues and facilities.
33. In response to Mr MA Fung-kwok, the HKSDB Board Member further explained that commercial activities included marketing and operation of revenue generating activities such as sports residence and shops, commercial catering, carparking, conference room and sports facilities and sports courses. The total revenue generated from these commercial activities in 1997-98 was about $40 million while the expenditure was about $30 million. In reply to the Chairman, the HKSDB Board Member confirmed that the capital costs of the various facilities were not deducted from the revenue because such facilities were provided for sports development and they were rented out for sports promotion on a non-profit making basis.
34. Mr MA Fung-kwok queried the cost-effectiveness of spending $22 million on staff costs to raise funds for sports programmes. Chairman of HKSDB clarified that the staff were not employed solely for fund-raising as they had other duties such as liaison with NSAs and administration of the $91 million grants to these associations.
35. Ms HO Sau-lan referred to a report in a magazine that the Chief Executive of HKSDB received a monthly salary of $200,000 and asked why the post was pitched at such a high level. Chairman of HKSDB said that the post was ranked as D3 long before he took up the chairmanship. He also clarified that he had not been involved in the recruitment of the Chief Executive and assured members that there was high transparency and no favouritism in the process. He said that based on the present job assessment, the post was not over-ranked unless there was a reduction in the responsibilities of the Chief Executive of HKSDB if required upon re-structuring. Ms HO Sau-lan said that given the need for enhanced productivity, HKSDB should review its administrative and staff costs so that more resources could be allocated to the NSAs and athletes. A Board Member of HKSDB responded that since the amalgamation with HKSI, conscious efforts had been made to rationalise the functions of the corporate services, marketing and public affairs divisions to provide more cost-effective support for sports. This was one of the reasons for pitching the Chief Executive at D3 level as he had to oversee the overall strategic plan including the new elite training programme.
|36. Concerning some press reports about HKSDB's administrative costs, the Chairman asked HKSDB to confirm in writing whether HKSDB had held meetings in holiday resorts during the past three years and provide information on the expenditure incurred and the source of financing. Chairman of HKSDB undertook to provide a written response.
37. A HKSDB Board Member informed the meeting that the sports marketing division had successfully obtained over $100 million sponsorship for sports programmes of HKSDB and NSAs since 1991. Mr MA Fung-kwok asked why the revenue was not included in the accounts of HKSDB. The HKSDB Board Member clarified that these sponsorships were made directly to the sports programmes or NSAs and were therefore reflected in the books of the relevant sports programme or NSAs. He added that sponsorships could not cover all expenses of these sports programmes, and HKSDB had to provide subsidies to top up the bill. Ms Emily LAU was strongly of the view that such a huge amount of money should be properly accounted for and the whole disbursement process should be made transparent. She considered that HKSDB should have the responsibilities of monitoring the expenditure to avoid any fiasco like that happened in Salt Lake City. Responding to Ms LAU's concern, Chairman of HKSDB stressed that there was total transparency of HKSDB's accounts and HKSDB had complied with procedures recommended by the Independent Commission Against Corruption and was subject to stringent inspection of HAB. He would welcome any independent audit of its accounts.
Structure for the provision of sports facilities
38. Referring to the comment of a Vice-President of ASF&OC that more sports facilities and resources should be made available to NSAs and not just to the 12 Focus Sports, a HKSDB Board Member who was responsible for elite training clarified that HKSDB (including HKSI) facilities were mainly for the development of 12 Focus sports which were selected based on very stringent criteria including evidence of good international performance. However, if NSAs could identify elite anthlets for major international events, HKSDB could provide elite training programme for these individual athletes. The Vice-President of AFS&OC was of the view that since HKSDB had decided to build a golf range although golfing was not one of the focus sports, more training facilities should also be provided to tenpin bowling which was very popular in Hong Kong.
39. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG said that it appeared to him that HKSDB had found the existing structure for the provision of sports facilities workable as long as an independent adjudicator such as HAB could arbitrate on the use of sports facilities on a regional basis since most of these facilities were managed by the Municipal Councils. In response to Mr CHEUNG, Chairman of HKSDB said that HKSDB had an open mind on the new structure for sports. He clarified that elite training was only part of the job of HKSDB and HKSDB had not criticised the provision of sports facilities by the Municipal Councils, since an appeal mechanism existed for adjudication on the use of Municipal Council facilities. In response to Mr CHEUNG's further enquiry, Chairman of HKSDB said that management of leisure facilities on a district basis was currently outside the ambit of the HKSDB Ordinance. He said there was a difference between sports and leisure activities, and HKSDB was an intermediary or agent of the government to provide funding for sports promotion and development. He personally believed in small government and small statutory bodies, and would endeavour to streamline the structure of HKSDB to provide effective service strictly within its term of reference.
Other issues discussed
40. The Chairman asked whether Chairman of HKSDB had issued a letter to the Board Members requesting them not to voice their personal opinion to the media. Chairman of HKSDB responded that he had issued a memorandum to the Board Members asking them not to give misguided information to the press since Board Members had the opportunity to express their opinions and to resolve disagreement or discontent at Board meetings. In response to Ms Emily LAU, Chairman of HKSDB emphasized that he had not prohibited individual Board Members from speaking to the media, but he was surprised at some press reports as he was not aware of any abstention from votes or disagreement at Board meetings.
Meeting with the Administration
|41. At the invitation of the Chairman, DS for HA (C&S) briefed members on the HAB's paper on provision of resources for sports facilities and training [Paper No. CB(2)1426/98-99(01)]. Members also noted the papers prepared by the Urban Services Department [Paper No. CB(2)1426/98-99(02)] and the Regional Services Department [Paper No. CB(2)1426/98-99(03)]. On the increase in Government subvention to HKSDB from $78.4 million in 1996/97 to $192.78 million in 1998/99, the Chairman queried why the Administration only requested HKSDB to allocate at least $60 million out of the net increase of $120 million to elite training programme. In response, DS for HA(C&S) explained that $60 million was only the minimum requirement and the Administration considered it appropriate for HKSDB to exercise discretion in its financial planning. HKSDB could spend more on elite training programme if necessary. In this connection, HKSDB Chairman clarified that the increase in Government subvention in 1998-99 was necessary because the endowment fund from Hong Kong Jockey Club to HKSDB had almost run out. In fact, HKSDB had allocated $109 million rather than $60 million to elite training programme in 1998/99. The Chairman advised that the Administration should give more specific guidelines on the use of funds especially when a substantial sum of public money was allocated to a public body.
42. The Chairman thanked representatives of HKSDB, AFS&OC and the Administration for attending the meeting.
VII. Proposed Bill to charge a fee for Home Affairs Department's declaration service
[Paper No. CB(2)1426/98-99(04)]
43. At the invitation of the Chairman, Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs 2 (DS for HA(2)) briefed members on the proposed bill seeking to charge a fee for Home Affairs Department's (HAD's) declaration service. He said that the declaration service provided by HAD was mostly for private purposes in connection with the certification of true copies for employment, travel, education and immigration-related purposes. The suggestion of charging a fee for the declaration service for private use was made by the Director of Audit in his Report No. 24 in accordance with the "user-pays" principle. The Administration estimated that the charge per declaration would be around $50 whereas declarations made at solicitors' firms were normally charged a few hundred dollars. To implement the proposal of the Director of Audit, legislative amendments would be necessary. A lead time of three months following the enactment of the Bill would be required for the introduction of fee charging. On the basis of the present caseload, the projected revenue from charging a fee for the declaration services would be around $9 million per annum.
VIII. Any other business
|44. Ms Ho Sau-lan suggested that the Administration should clearly indicate in the legislative proposal that a fee would only be charged for declaration service for private purposes, while those declarations required by the public authorities would continue to be free of charge. DS for HA(2) confirmed that no fees would be charged for declarations required for public purposes such as applications for public housing. This would be clearly spelt out in the legislative proposal. Ms Emily LAU said that as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, she supported the recommendation of the Director of Audit.||Adm|
45. Further to the discussion on the CEDAW report, Ms Emily LAU suggested and the Chairman agreed that the Panel would follow up on the concluding comments of the UN Committee on the initial report of HKSAR under CEDAW at a future meeting probably in May 1999.
46. On the new structure for culture and sports, the Chairman advised that the Panel would follow up on the consultancy report which would be released towards the end of March 1999.
47. There being no other business, the meeting ended at 7:00 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
9 April 1999