LegCo Paper No. HB 678/95-96
Ref : HB/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee
(1995/96 Session)

Minutes of 17th meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Friday, 9 February 1996 at 4:40 p.m.

Present :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Absent :

    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok

In attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)













(1) Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting held on 2.2.96

(LegCo Paper No. HB 610/95-96)

The minutes were confirmed.

(2) Matters arising

Workings of Committees of the Council

Members noted that an information paper No. HB 621/95-96 entitled "Workings of Committees of the Council" had been issued to Members on 5.2.96.

(3) Legal Adviser’s report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 7.2.96

(LegCo Paper No. LS 82/95-96)

Referring Members to the paper, the Legal Adviser said that item 4 of the subsidiary legislation involved increase in fees payable for various matters relating to proceedings in the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board.

Mrs Selina CHOW said that Mr Ronald ARCULLI, who was absent then, would like to suggest that item 4 be studied by a Subcommittee. Mrs CHOW suggested that the Subcommittee set up to study the Land Registration Fees Regulations etc. under her chairmanship could include item 4 in the study. This was agreed. Members noted that the next meeting of the Subcommittee would be held on 12.2.96.

Members supported the remaining items of subsidiary legislation.

(4) Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. HB 629/95-96)

Members noted the report and that the Bills Committee to study the Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1995 and the Road Traffic (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995 could be activated.

(5) Legal Adviser’s report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order No. 42(3A)

(a) Coroners Bill

(LegCo paper No. LS 85/95-96)

The Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to implement a number of recommendations of the Law Reform Commission and raised a number of important policy issues. He recommended and Members agreed to set up a Bills Committee to study the Bill. The following Members agreed to join : Dr LEONG Che-hung, Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Miss Margaret NG, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen and Mrs Elizabeth WONG.

(b) Immigration Service (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 84/95-96)

Introducing the paper, the Legal Adviser drew Members’ particular attention to the existing arrangement for members of the Immigration Service to deliver an arrested person to a police station, whereas under the proposals of the Bill they would be given the option of handling the arrested person without any reference to police procedures. He recommended and Members agreed to form a Bills Committee to study the Bill. The following Members agreed to join : Mrs Selina CHOW, Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing, Mr James TO Kin-sun, Mr IP Kwok-him and Miss Margaret NG.

(6) Outstanding Business for the LegCo sitting on 14.2.96

(a) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Bill

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (Merger of Subsidiaries) Bill

Members noted that the Second Reading debates of the two Bills introduced by Dr David K P LI would resume on 14.2.96.

(b) Other business

The Chairman said that, as a number of divisions would likely claimed on the motions to be moved by Mrs Selina CHOW in relation to the nine items of subsidiary legislation under item

7(b) below, he sought Members’ agreement for him to move a motion to shorten the duration of the division bell in respect of those divisions to one minute. This was agreed. For the benefit of the Members who were absent, the Secretariat would issue a circular to inform all Members of the arrangement.

(Post-meeting note : LegCo Paper No. HB 674/95-96 issued on 10.2.96 refers.)

Mr James TO Kun-sun said that, having regard to the views expressed by some Members, he would withdraw the notice of his motion under the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance originally scheduled for the sitting on 14.2.96. The resolution would be discussed at a joint Panels meeting to be held on 13.2.96. Pending the outcome of the discussion, he would consider moving the motion at the sitting on 13.3.96.

(7) Reports by Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

(a) Report by the Bills Committee to study the Pneumoconiosis (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 1995

(LegCo paper No. HB 612/95-96)

Dr LEONG Che-hung, chairman of the Bills Committee, introduced the report. He advised Members that the Administration had agreed to give a reply on a minor point raised by the Bills Committee i.e. whether a proposal under the Bill to enable all pneumoconiotics under the Scheme to receive $2,100 (for PSLA) irrespective of the degree of their incapacity could have retrospective effect from July 1993 when the Ordinance was last amended. The Bills Committee recommended that the Second Reading debate on the Bill should resume on 13.3.96. Members agreed.

(b) Report by the Subcommittee to study seven items of subsidiary legislation tabled in LegCo on 10.1.96 and two items of subsidiary legislation tabled in LegCo on 17.1.96

(LegCo Paper No. HB 637/95-96)

Mrs Selina CHOW, chairman of the Subcommittee, reported. With the exception of the fee items relating to foreign seafarers under the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers) Fees Regulation, the Subcommittee recommended that the fee increases in respect of other items of the subsidiary legislation be repealed.

In response to Mr Edward HO, Mrs Selina CHOW said that the reason for increasing the fee of issuing employment agency licence (paragraph 17 of the paper) was to achieve full recovery of costs. The Subcommittee recommended repealing the Regulation.

(c) Report by the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters - Quota of Bills Committees/Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. HB 639/95-96)

The Chairman briefed Members on the recommendation of the Subcommittee to designate a slot specifically for the study of subsidiary legislation under the quota of 16 Bills Committees and Subcommittees.

Members endorsed the recommendation and noted that, while the maximum number of active Bills Committees would be 15, there might be more than one subcommittee in action when warranted.

(d) Report by the LegCo Panel on Information Policy - Display of publicity materials in public places

(LegCo Paper No. PL 732/95-96)

Miss Emily LAU, chairman of the Panel, referred Members to the paper and said that the Panel had observed the current problem of unauthorised display of political advertisements put up in public areas by incumbent LegCo Members and their political parties. Being legislators, Members should comply with the present requirement of seeking prior permission from District Lands Officers (DLOs) before political advertisements were put up. The Administration had assured that it would review the procedure for processing applications for display of materials and would step up enforcement actions against unauthorised display. It also undertook to report progress to the Panel in May 1996 and, meanwhile, to consider issuing letters to various political parties urging them to remove their unauthorised political advertisements in public places.

Mr TSANG Kin-shing said that the time taken by DLOs to process applications for display of publicity materials was unduly long. For elected Members, especially those from the nine new functional constituencies, display of publicity materials in public places was an effective means to reach out to their constituents in the territory and to inform the public about their offices and activities.

Mr IP Kwok-him supported Mr TSANG’s view and said that the interests of the public had to be considered and that display of advertisements was the most practical and less costly means to disseminate information to the public.

Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung pointed out that certain information was not allowed for display such as Members’ enquiry hotlines. He said that the existing legislation concerning display of materials, which was enacted a long time ago, failed to take account of the political and social developments in recent years. In view of the inadequate provisions in the existing law, the Administration had in fact been tolerating the display of unauthorised publicity materials.

Members who shared Mr LEUNG’s view said that unauthorised display of materials was a result of the cumbersome procedures adopted by the Administration and was not a deliberate attempt by Members to flout the law.

While Miss Christine LOH acknowledged that the existing law might be outdated, she said that this should not be used as an excuse to breach the law. She suggested that Members should comply with the law, pending improvement measures to be introduced by the Administration. Her view was echoed by Miss Margaret NG who cautioned Members against taking any decision that would convey a wrong message to the public on the subject.

While Mr SIN Chung-kai agreed that one of the considerations in approving applications for display of materials should be public safety, he questioned whether the contents of the display materials should also be vetted by DLOs. Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo said that it might be more appropriate for District Officers to be the approving authority.

Mr Albert CHAN Wai-yip said that the subject had been discussed with the Administration for two years without much progress. In this respect, some Members were concerned that further delay in improving the application process would infringe freedom of expression.

In response to Miss Emily LAU on para 7 of the paper, Mr SZETO Wah disagreed that unauthorized political advertisements currently on display should be removed pending any improvement measures to be introduced by the Administration. His view was echoed by some Members.

Members agreed that further developments of the matter should be followed up by the Panel, and the Chairman of the House Committee was asked to raise the following with the Chief Secretary :

  1. The Administration should devise a system to process expeditiously applications for display of publicity materials and devise guidelines and criteria for approving such applications; and
  2. The Administration be requested to withhold enforcement actions, including issuing letters to political parties to require the removal of advertisements currently on display, pending the completion of (i) above.

(8) Any Other Business

(a) Revised membership of the Subcommittee on Authentic Chinese Texts of Existing Legislation

Members endorsed the addition of Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo as a member of the Subcommittee.

(b) House Committee delegation on the case of Messrs Paul AU Wing-cheung and WONG Chuen-ming

(LegCo Paper No. HB 640/95-96)

Miss Emily LAU reported on behalf of Mr Howard YOUNG, leader of the delegation who was not then at the meeting. She referred Members to the paper which set out the position since the last report to the House Committee on 8.12.95 and the outcome of the meeting of the delegation on 1.2.96.

Members endorsed the delegation’s proposal that the Chairman, House Committee write again to the President and Chief Justice of the Philippines to urge for the appeal to be processed expeditiously. They also noted that the delegation would meet again in March to review the situation and to plan the next course of action.

(c) Executive Council’s decision on the Black Point 400 kV Transmission System

The Chairman advised Members of the background concerning China Light and Power Company Limited (CLP)’s

Black Point 400 kV Transmission System. In view of the likely adverse health effects on the residents living in the proximity of the high voltage transmission lines, the Panels on Health Services and Environmental Affairs (the Panels) had discussed with the Administration, CLP and the affected residents since the last LegCo session about a possible re-alignment of the routing. At the joint Panels meeting held on 30.1.96, it was agreed that the Panels should make a request to meet ExCo Members direct to reflect their views on the matter. However, Members of the Panels were disappointed to learn that ExCo had already taken a decision on the matter at its meeting on 6.2.96, before the meeting with Members of the Panels could be arranged. He asked for Members’ view on how to further pursue the matter.

Miss Christine LOH, chairman of the Environmental Affairs Panel, supplemented that the representatives of the Administration and CLP present at the meeting on 30.1.96 were aware of Members’ decision to make a submission to ExCo Members together with a request to meet ExCo Members before ExCo made any decision on the matter. They were also aware that the draft submission prepared by the Research and Library Services Division would be ready in about one week’s time.

In response to the Chairman, Assistant Secretary General 1 advised that following the meeting on 30.1.96, the Secretariat had informed the ExCo Secretariat of the Panels’ request for a meeting with ExCo Members.

Members were gravely concerned about the fact that ExCo had made a decision on the matter in spite of the Panels’ request for a meeting. Miss Margaret NG was concerned about the relationship between ExCo and LegCo, and asked that the matter be raised with the Chief Secretary. Miss Christine LOH suggested that the draft submission, after circulation to the Members of the two Panels for comments, should be sent to ExCo together with a request for a meeting. ExCo should also be requested to reconsider its decision.

After some discussion, Members agreed to the Chairman’s recommendations as follows :

  1. The chairman of the Environmental Affairs Panel send a letter to Miss Rosanna WONG, Convener of the non-official Members of Executive Council, requesting that ExCo Members meet Members of the two Panels and that

    ExCo reconsider its decision made on 6.2.96. A copy of the Panels’ submission should also be sent.

    (Post-meeting note : The letter was issued on 13.2.96.)

  2. The Chairman of the House Committee write to the Chief Secretary and Miss Rosanna WONG conveying Members’ grave concern about the handling of the matter by ExCo.

    (Post-meeting note : The two letters were issued on 12.2.96.)

(c) Hong Kong-European Parliament Parliamentary Friendship Group Hong Kong Delegation’s visit to London on 26-27.2.96

Members noted the Chairman’s advice that the delegation had yet to receive a reply to Members’ request to meet the UK Prime Minister and senior UK officials in London . The delegation would solicit the Governor’s assistance in this respect at the meeting on Monday, 12.2.96.

The meeting ended at 6:00 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
14 February 1996

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