LC Paper No. CB(2) 79/99-00
Ref : CB2/H/5
House Committee of the Legislative CouncilMembers present :
Minutes of the 1st meeting
held in the Legislative Council Chamber
at 2:30 pm on Friday, 8 October 1999
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, SBS, JP
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, SBS, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
Ir Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Martin LEE Chu-ming, SC, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming, SBS, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming, JP
Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Margaret NG
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 CHAN Kwok-keung
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam, JP
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon LAU Chin-shek, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Hon SZETO Wah
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, GBS, JP
Hon FUNG Chi-kin
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JPMembers absent :
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon Bernard CHAN
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, SBS, JP
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP
Clerk in attendance :
Staff in attendance :
Mrs Justina LAM
- Clerk to the House Committee
- 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 Eva LIU
- Head (Research and Library)
- Ms Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Mr KAU Kin-wah
- Assistant Legal Adviser 6
- Mrs Vivian KAM
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Miss Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Ms Estella CHAN
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)4
- Miss Salumi CHAN
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)5
- 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
I. Confirmation of the minutes of meeting on 24 September 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 2902/98-99)
1. The minutes were confirmed.
II. Matters arising
Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS)
(a) Legislative Programme
2. The Chairman said that the Director of Administration's letter of 6 October 1999, enclosing a list of Government Bills to be introduced into the Council during the 1999/2000 session, had been circulated to members vide LC Paper No. CB(2) 35/99-00 dated 6 October 1999.
3. The Chairman further said that he would continue to impress upon the Administration to introduce the Bills as early as possible, preferably not later than February next year, so as to allow members adequate time for scrutiny.
4. The Chairman informed members that he had reminded the Administration that the public should be consulted when drafting new legislative proposals. CS's response was that the Administration would always conduct wide-ranging consultation before legislative proposals were introduced into the Council, and members of the public were free to make representations to Members after the introduction of such proposals.
(b) Visits of Leaders of Central Government
5. The Chairman said that he had written to the Chief Executive (CE) again reiterating Members' request that the Administration should make arrangements for leaders of the Central Government visiting Hong Kong to meet with Members to discuss issues of public concern, as well as urging CE to convey Members' request to the Central Government.
6. The Chairman further said that at the last meeting, a member had suggested inviting the President to consider sending a letter to the Central Government on the matter. The Chairman informed members that the President had considered the suggestion and was of the view that it would not be appropriate for her to write to the Central Government at this point in time in the light of the follow-up letter he had sent to CE, but she would continue to keep the matter in view.
(c) Taiwan Earthquake
7. The Chairman said that in response to Members' request, the Administration had provided a note (tabled and also issued vide LC Paper No. CB(2) 91/99-00 dated 12 October 1999) setting out the facts of the Taiwan trip undertaken by the team of fire services personnel.
8. The Chairman informed members that according to press reports, the Disaster Relief Fund Advisory Committee (the Advisory Committee) had met and decided to make a donation of $2.5 million to help the earthquake victims. The Chairman added that he would ask Mr LAU Chin-shek and Mrs Sophie LEUNG, who were members of the Advisory Committee, to report on the deliberations of the Advisory Committee on the matter at the next meeting of the House Committee.
III. Legal Service Division's reports on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 6 October 1999 (gazetted on 24 and 30 September 1999)
(LC Papers Nos. LS 7 & LS 6/99-00)
9. The Legal Adviser introduced the two papers which detailed the 24 items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 24 and 30 September 1999. He added that the subsidiary legislation were legally in order.
10. Members raised no queries on the subsidiary legislation.
11. The Chairman reminded members that the deadline for giving notice to amend the subsidiary legislation was 27 October 1999 or 3 November 1999, if extended by resolution.
IV. Further report by the Legal Service Division on outstanding bills
Housing Managers Registration Bill
(LC Papers No. LS 9/99-00)
12. The Legal Adviser said that with the Administration's clarifications on the definition of "Member of the Institute" in clause 2 of the Bill as well as on the purpose of introducing a voluntary registration system, the Legal Service Division was of the view that the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were in order.
13. Mr Edward HO pointed out that the voluntary registration system already existed in other professions such as surveying and town planning. He added that the merit of having a registration system was to assure the public that those who were registered members of a professional institute had the necessary qualifications and experience and would observe a code of conduct during practice.
14. Members did not raise objection to the resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Bill.
V. Further business for the Council meeting on 13 October 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 42/99-00)
15. The Chairman said that Mr NG Leung-sing had withdrawn his oral question as the information he sought was already available in CE's Policy Address delivered on 6 October 1999.
16. Members noted that that 19 questions (five oral and 14 written) had been scheduled.
(b) Bills - First and Second Readings
(i) District Court (Amendment) Bill 1999
(ii) Industrial Training (Construction Industry) (Amendment) Bill 1999
17. The Chairman said that the above two Bills, together with the three Bills of which he had informed members at the last meeting, would be introduced into the Council on 13 October 1999 and considered by the House Committee on 15 October 1999.
(c) Bills - resumption of debate on Second Reading, Committee Stage and Third Reading
(i) Adaptation of Laws (No.5) Bill 1998
(ii) Adaptation of Laws (No.9) Bill 1998
18. The Chairman said that members had agreed at the meeting on 24 September 1999 that the Second Reading debate on the two Bills be resumed.
(d) Members' motions
(i) Motion on "Protecting the environment"
19. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr LAW Chi-kwong.
20. The Chairman drew members' attention to Mr LAU Kong-wah's proposed amendment to the motion as set out in LC Paper No. CB(3) 60/99-00 tabled at the meeting.
(ii) Motion on "Referendum on the two Municipal Councils"
21. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr Fred LI Wah-ming.
22. The Chairman said that the speaking time limits stipulated in rule 17(c) of the House Rules would apply.
VI. Business for the Council meeting on 20 and 21 October 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 43/99-00)
23. Members noted that 20 written questions had been scheduled.
(b) Debate on the motion "That this Council thanks the Chief Executive for his address"
24. The Chairman said that he would move the above motion in the capacity as the Chairman of the House Committee.
25. The Chairman further said that at the meeting on 9 July 1999, members expressed support for the recommendation of the Committee on Rules of Procedure that pending amendments to be made to the Rules of Procedure, advance notice of five clear days should be given for amendments to the Motion of Thanks in respect of the 1999 Policy Address. The Chairman informed members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments to the motion was 12 October 1999.
26. The Chairman added that a Member had already proposed an amendment to the motion and the President was considering whether the proposed amendment was in order.
27. Mr Martin LEE said that Members belonging to the Democratic Party would propose an amendment to the motion addressing democracy and livelihood issues.
28. The Chairman reminded members that the maximum speaking time for each Member would be 15 minutes.
(a) Position report on Bills Committees/subcommittees
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 19/99-00)
29. The Chairman said that there were 14 Bills Committees and six subcommittees in action. He added that the Bills Committee on Interpretation and General Clauses (Amendment) Bill 1999 would recommend under agenda item VII(e) below that its work be held in abeyance.
30. The Chairman added that as there were two vacant slots, the Bills Committees formed to study the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (Amendment) Bill 1999 and Hong Kong Sports Development Board (Amendment) Bill 1999 should be activated. Members agreed.
(b) Report of the subcommittee to study the Human Organ Transplant (Amendment) (No.2) Regulation 1999 and Human Organ Transplant (Amendment) Ordinance 1999 (7 of 1999) (Commencement) Notice 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 22/99-00)
31. Dr TANG Siu-tong, Chairman of he subcommittee, highlighted the main deliberations of the subcommittee as detailed in the paper. He said that the subcommittee had recommended that the Amendment Regulation made by the Human Organ Transplant Board and the Commencement Notice made by the Secretary for Health and Welfare be supported.
(c) Report of the subcommittee to study three items of subsidiary legislation gazetted on 9 July and 20 August 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 34/99-00)
32. Mr Ambrose LAU, Chairman of the subcommittee, said that the subcommittee had recommended that the Post Office (Amendment) Regulation 1999 and Telecommunication (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulation 1999 be supported.
33. Mr LAU further said that the subcommittee would continue to study the Solicitors (Professional Indemnity) (Amendment) Rules 1999 and would submit a further report in due course.
(d) Report of the Bills Committee on Electricity (Amendment) Bill 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 31/99-00)
34. Referring to the paper, Mr Fred LI, Chairman of the Bills Committee, said that despite members' divided views on the penalty provisions in the Bill, the Bills Committee supported the Bill and the Committee Stage amendments (CSAs) proposed by the Administration. He added that the Bills Committee had recommended that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 27 October 1999.
35. Members supported the recommendation of the Bills Committee.
36. The Chairman reminded members that the deadline for giving notice of CSAs was 16 October 1999.
(e) Report of the Bills Committee on Interpretation and General Clauses (Amendment) Bill 1999
37. Mr Albert HO, Chairman of the Bills Committee, said that as the Administration had indicated that it would need more time to respond to the queries raised by the Bills Committee, the Bills Committee had agreed that its work be held in abeyance pending the Administration's response.
38. Miss Margaret NG said that there was no urgency in completing scrutiny of the Bill. In her view, whether or not the Bill was passed had no practical effect on the use of extrinsic materials as an aid to statutory interpretation.
39. Members agreed that the work of the Bills Committee be suspended temporarily and the vacated slot be taken up by another Bills Committee on the waiting list.
(f) Report of the Panel on Constitutional Affairs on Arrangements arising from Articles 50 and 51 of the Basic Law
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 17/99-00)
40. Referring to the paper, Mr Andrew WONG, Chairman of the Panel, said that the Panel accepted the Administration's interpretation that the word "budget" in the context of Articles 50 and 51 of the Basic Law referred to the Appropriation Bill only. The Panel had also discussed the question as to whether it was necessary to provide an exception under the Rules of Procedure to allow the re-introduction of the Appropriation Bill after the "budget" was voted down by the Council, having regard to Rule 32(2) which stated that "where the Council has taken a decision on a specific question and the question has been decided in the negative, no further motion shall be moved in relation to that question during the current session". The Panel's recommendation was that the matter be followed up by the Committee on Rules of Procedure.
41. Mr LEE Wing-tat said there was apparently no in-depth discussion on the subject matter at the meeting of the Panel in July this year. He said that the matter involved important and complex issues and suggested that it be further deliberated by the Panel or the Committee on Rules of Procedure.
42. Mr James TO said that the matter also involved important constitutional issues which needed to be canvassed further.
43. Mr Andrew WONG said that he agreed that the Panel should further discuss the matter, which involved the relationship between the Executive and Legislature, if the House Committee so decided. He further said that the established practices over the years were to deal with expenditure and revenue proposals separately, hence the term "budget" in the context of Articles 50 and 51 could be taken to refer to the expenditure side only. However, it might be necessary to seek legal advice on whether this interpretation would give rise to legal problems.
44. The Chairman suggested that the Panel should further deliberate the matter. Members agreed.
(g) Report of the Panel on Constitutional Affairs on Mechanism for Legislative Council to monitor the making of subsidiary legislation
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 15/99-00)
45. Mr Andrew WONG, Chairman of the Panel, highlighted the main deliberations of the Panel as detailed in the paper. He said that the Panel noted the new arrangement adopted by the Administration whereby legal notices required to be tabled in Council pursuant to section 34(1) of Cap. 1 were published in Part A of Legal Supplement No.2 of the Gazette. The Panel had agreed to support the Administration's proposal to include an express provision in new legislation to specify whether a statutory instrument made under delegated authority was subsidiary legislation, and to resolve differences in opinion as to whether an instrument should be subsidiary legislation as and when these differences arose.
46. Members accepted the Panel's support of the Administration's proposal.
VIII. Nomination of Members for Election to The Legislative Council Commission
(LC Paper No. AS 10/99-00)
47. The Chairman said that as only 10 nominations were received by the deadline for nomination on 4 October 1999, he declared that the 10 nominees listed in paragraph 2 of the paper duly elected to The Legislative Council Commission, in accordance with the manner of election approved by the Council by resolution on 8 July 1998.
IX. Election of Member to the Committee on Rules of Procedure
48. The Chairman said that as Miss CHAN Yuen-han had resigned from the Committee on Rules of Procedure, he invited members to nominate another Member to serve on the Committee in place of Miss CHAN.
49. Mr CHAN Kam-lam nominated Mr Ambrose LAU and Dr TANG Siu-tong seconded the nomination. Mr Ambrose LAU accepted the nomination.
50. As there were no other nominations, the Chairman declared that Mr Ambrose LAU was nominated for appointment by the President to the Committee on Rules of Procedure.
51. The meeting ended at 3:05 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
13 October 1999