For information
on 14 September 1998

Legislative Council Information Technology
and Broadcasting Panel

Year 2000 Compliance within Government and in
Non-Government Organisations Funded or Regulated by Government


This paper informs Members of the latest position of Year 2000 compliance within Government and in non-government organisations (NGOs) funded or regulated by Government since the last briefing to Members on 9 July 1998, and outlines the new initiatives in tackling the Year 2000 problem.

Progress within Government

2. As of August 1998, over 75% of Government's critical computer and embedded systems have been confirmed to be compliant.

3. According to our rectification timetable, 85% of Government's critical computer and embedded systems will be compliant by the end of 1998 and over 99% by the first half of 1999. For systems which cannot achieve compliance by 30 June 1999, the departments concerned have already started drawing up contingency plans.

Progress in NGOs

4. The compliance positions (as of July 1998) of NGOs providing essential services to the public (as well as that of the concerned government departments in the related sectors) are set out in the following paragraphs.

Financial Services

5. The majority of system rectification work in the sector is expected to be completed by the end of 1998. For instance, about 97% of the banking institutions are expected to achieve Year 2000 compliance for their critical systems by the end of this year. Arrangements are being made for industry-wide test planning and overall contingency planning for the sector.


6. The electricity and gas companies have confirmed that they could achieve compliance by the end of this year or within the first half of 1999. A working group has been set up between the China Light and Power, Guangdong Electric Power, Guangdong Nuclear Power Station and Guangzhou Pumped Storage Station to discuss the Year 2000 issue in relation to interconnection among the power stations.

7. As for water supply, the Water Supplies Department has scheduled to rectify all its critical systems by mid 1999. In addition, we have obtained confirmation from the Guangdong Water Authority that water supply from Dongjiang would not be affected by the Year 2000 problem.

Transport and Aviation

8. On land transport, KCRC expects to complete the rectification work for all its major systems by the end of 1998. For MTRC, its overall compliance position will be available shortly following a recent comprehensive compliance test and review. All other public transport operators have indicated that they could achieve compliance by mid 1999. (Note : The compliance position of New World First Bus which commenced operation on 1 September 1998 is not included above. The company will submit compliance report to Government starting from September 1998.)

9. On air transport, the Air Traffic Control systems maintained by the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) have already been tested and confirmed to be Year 2000 compliant. As for airport management, the Airport Authority (AA) aims to achieve compliance by the third quarter of 1999.

10. A task force led by CAD, comprising representatives from AA, local airlines and other air service operators has been formed to coordinate compliance work in the sector.

Telecommunications and Broadcasting

11. For Fixed Telecommunication Network Services (FTNS) licensees, Hong Kong Telecom has confirmed that it can achieve compliance by the end of 1998. The other licensees also aim to achieve compliance by the second quarter of 1999.

12. For mobile phone and paging services, all mobile phone service providers and major paging operators expect to complete their rectification work by mid 1999.

13. A Forum on Y2K Compliance of the Telecommunications Sector has been established by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority. Telecommunications service providers are required to report to the Forum progress of their rectification work. The Forum will also discuss and coordinate testing among different telecommunication networks.

14. On the broadcasting side, all licensees, including both TV and radio broadcasters aim to achieve full compliance by mid 1999. For Radio Television Hong Kong, systems relating to studio, broadcasting and transmission which are not already compliant will be rectified by June 1999.

Public Health Services

15. The Hospital Authority plans to rectify its critical systems by 30 June 1999. Contingency plans will be formulated for systems which cannot be confirmed to be rectified by this date.

16. For medical subvented organisations and private hospitals, the Department of Health has requested those which cannot achieve compliance by mid 1999 to submit contingency plans.

Social Welfare Services

17. The Director of Social Welfare has set up a Y2K Monitoring Group, comprising representatives from the Hong Kong Council of Social Services and subvented social welfare organisations, to coordinate compliance efforts in the sector. Rectification work for critical systems is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 1999.

Universities and Training Authorities

18. For the universities, all institutions have formulated their individual Year 2000 compliance work plans. Most of the institutions aim to complete the rectification work for critical systems in the summer of 1999. A combined application from all tertiary institutions funded by the University Grants Committee will be submitted to the Finance Committee on 18 September 1998 for funding the Year 2000 rectification projects in the institutions.

19. For other training authorities, such as the Vocational Training Council and the Construction Industry Training Authority, their compliance work will be completed latest by June 1999.

New Initiatives

Strengthened Monitoring Mechanism

20. The monitoring mechanism in respect of rectification work within government and in NGOs providing essential services to the public will be strengthened by increasing the frequency of reporting progress from bi-monthly/quarterly at present to once every month starting from January 1999.

Survey on Year 2000 Compliance

21. To assess the latest position of the Year 2000 problem in Hong Kong, in particular, the level of awareness and readiness among the small and medium sized enterprises, we are working with the Hong Kong Productivity Council in conducting a comprehensive survey on Year 2000 compliance. The survey will be completed later this year.

Efforts to Enhance Transparency and Dispel Misconceptions

22. To enhance the transparency of our compliance work, information on the latest compliance position and progress of rectification work within Government has been published on our Year 2000 web site ( Some government departments such as the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, Office of the Commissioner of Insurance have already published their compliance information on their respective Internet homepages.

23. As regards the essential services providers, some of them such as the Hospital Authority and Hongkong Telecom have already published their compliance work plan on the Internet. We will continue to encourage other service providers through the respective policy bureaux to follow Government's example in enhancing transparency.

24. We notice that certain misconceptions might have been generated as a result of some alarmist reports about the impact of the Year 2000 problem. To help remove the misconceptions and to minimise unnecessary anxiety in the community in the run up to the new millennium, we plan to launch another phase of publicity programmes later this year aimed at presenting the correct picture to the public.

Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau
September 1998