LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 333/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5
Legislative Council House Committee
Minutes of 5th meeting
held on Friday, 1 November 1996 at 3:30 pm
in the Legislative Council Chamber
Members present :
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
Hon Martin LEE, QC, 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 Michael HO Mun-ka
Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
Hon LEE Wing-tat
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 Zachary WONG Wai-yin
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
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 LAU Chin-shek
Hon LAW Chi-kwong
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
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
Members absent :
Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
Hon SZETO Wah
Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon LO Suk-ching
Clerk in attendance :
- Mrs Percy MA
- Chief Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
Staff in attendance :
- Mr Ricky C C FUNG
- Secretary General
- Mr Jimmy MA
- Legal Adviser
- Mr LAW Kam-sang
- Deputy Secretary General
- Mr LEE Yu-sang
- Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
- Miss Pauline NG
- Assistant Secretary General 1
- Mr Ray CHAN
- Assistant Secretary General 3
- Ms Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Miss Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Mr Stephen LAM
- Assistant Legal Adviser 4
- Mr Arthur CHEUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 5
- Ms LEUNG Siu-kam
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Ms Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Mrs Betty LEUNG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 3
- Mrs Eleanor CHOW
- Senior Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 25 October 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 252/96-97)
The minutes were confirmed.
II Matters arising
(a) Report on Chairmans meeting with the Chief Secretary
2. The Chairman said that no particular items need to be reported to members.
(b) House Committee delegation to observe the House of Commons debate on Hong Kong
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 285/96-97
Chinese version of the paper was tabled at the meeting (at Appendix I)).
3. The Chairman said that the delegation had sought members agreement to include two more issues in the Position Paper, in addition to the four issues endorsed by the House Committee at its last meeting.
4. Miss Emily LAU, leader of the delegation, said that members of the delegation had agreed to leave Hong Kong for London on 11 November 1996. Arrangements would be made for them to meet with various parties on 12, 13 and in the morning of 14 November 1996. Press Conferences of the delegation would be held before departure from Hong Kong on 11 November 1996 and from London on 15 November 1996. As there had been news about deferment of the debate for a week, she asked the Secretariat to keep the members concerned informed of developments.
(Post-meeting note : The LegCo London Office has subsequently confirmed that the debate will be held on 14 November 1996 as originally scheduled.)
5. Members endorsed the draft Position Paper at Appendix to the paper.
(c) Report of the Panel on Transport - Overseas Study Tour
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 215/96-97)
6. Mrs Miriam LAU introduced the revised proposal which had taken into account members views expressed at the last meeting. The House Committees support was sought for the allocation of a sum of $200,000 for the Panel to conduct the study tour.
7. In response to members, the Secretary General said that-
- The Legislative Council Commission had not discussed the proposal;
- under the existing system, the Secretariat had to make resource bids to the Administration for financial provisions for the following financial year in May/June each year;
- the provision of $400,000 approved by The Legislative Council Commission for Members overseas visits to be undertaken in 1996/97 was made on the basis of the pattern of visits undertaken in the previous financial year. At present, the available uncommitted balance was only $40,000;
- as a controlling officer, he had the authority to authorize expenditure of funds for the proposed study tour. However, in view of the financial position and since the proposal had neither been budgetted for in the Estimates nor made known in the beginning of the session, he would have to identify savings to fund the proposal if the proposal was supported by the House Committee; and
- savings were normally derived from interest accrued from deposits in bank accounts and salaries from staff vacancies in the Secretariat.
8. Mrs Miriam LAU responded to members questions on the timing; budget and objectives of the study tour, as well as membership and itinerary of the two study groups.
9. Mr Albert CHAN expressed concern about the stringent manner in which some members examined this proposal vis-à-vis other funding requests in respect of overseas delegations in the past. Mrs Selina CHOW echoed Mr CHANs view and said that the proposed study tour, albeit the first conducted by Members, should be encouraged and supported.
10. Miss Emily LAU was concerned about the difficulty in evaluating achievements of the delegation which consisted of Members with divergent views on the subject matter under study. Miss Margaret NG said that seeking more information would facilitate her understanding of the proposal, the nature of which was different from delegations formed to attend UN Committee hearings.
11. Mr James TIEN and Dr YEUNG Sum said that the proposal was worthy of support and that funds should be made available to finance the study tour as far as possible.
12. On a matter of principle, Mr LEE Wing-tat and Miss Emily LAU said that The Legislative Council Commission should be consulted on the use of any savings identified by the Secretariat. The Secretary General explained that any savings identified could only support one-off projects, but not those involving recurrent expenditure.
13. After some discussion, members agreed to support the Panels proposal. In response to the Chairman, the Secretary General said that he would report at the next meeting whether funds could be made available to finance the proposed study tour (including the costs for the two accompanying staff members)
14. Mr LEE Wing-tat and Miss Emily LAU suggested that The Legislative Council Commission be invited to consider the mechanism of bidding for and allocation of funds in respect of Members overseas visits. The Chairman said that one possibility was to ask Panels to forecast their requirements on overseas visits in the context of the resource allocation exercise so that a more realistic bid could be consolidated for submission to the Administration.
(d) Membership of the Select Committee to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the departure of Mr LEUNG Ming-yin, former Director of Immigration, from the Government and related issues
15. Members agreed to recommend to the President the appointment of Dr Philip WONG Yu-hong as a member of the Select Committee. The Chairman said that he would convey the House Committees recommendation to the President.
16. Mr IP Kwok-him, chairman of the Select Committee, said that the first meeting had been scheduled for 8 November 1996.
(e) Diaoyu Islands incident
17. The Chairman referred members to the two letters from the Principal Representative of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Japan and the Consul-General of Japan (tabled at the meeting and at Appendices II and III respectively). He said that he would give an appropriate reply to the Consul-General of Japan. In response to Mr James TIEN on paragraph 2 of the letter from the Consul-General, he said that the reply would be "Whilst I share your regret over the intrusion into your consulate, I may clarify that those persons who were reportedly involved in the incident acted in their personal capacity. I must categorically point out that the Legislative Council had no part to play in the incident and cannot assume responsibility for individuals acting in their personal capacity."
18. The Chairman added that The Legislative Council Commission did not support the use of public funds to finance the delegation to Japan. The Secretariat would prepare a paper incorporating the Legal Advisers advice on the matter for discussion at the next meeting.
III Legal Advisers report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 30 October 1996 (gazetted on 25 October 1996)
(LegCo Paper No. LS 23/96-97)
19. Some members made comments on the following items of subsidiary legislation -
(a) Post-Release Supervision of Prisoners Regulation
20. The Legal Adviser said that the Complaints Division had received about 200 submissions from prisoners in the past two months. The submissions were related to policy issues which had been considered by the Bills Committee formed to study the Bill. Mr James TO indicated that he would need some time to study this item.
(b) Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Regulation 1996
21. Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that, in view of the substantial increase in fees, he would like to study this item.
(c) Medical Laboratory Technologists (Registration and Disciplinary Procedure) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulation 1996
Occupational Therapists (Registration and Disciplinary Procedure) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulation 1996
Physiotherapists (Registration and Disciplinary Procedure) Regulation
22. The Chairman said that both he and Mr Michael HO would like to study the above items in more detail.
23. Members noted that the above members would move a motion to extend the scrutiny period of the subsidiary legislation if considered necessary.
24. Members raised no other queries on the subsidiary legislation.
IV Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 272/96-97)
25. The Chairman said that there were two Subcommittees and 15 Bills Committees in action, one Bills Committee held in abeyance and 17 Bills Committees on the waiting list.
V Further report by the Legal Adviser on outstanding bill
Hong Kong Institute of Education (Amendment) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. LS 21/96-97)
26. Members agreed that the Bill should have its Second Reading debate resumed.
VI Legal Advisers report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order 42(3A)
(a) Tsing Ma Control Area Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS 20/96-97)
27. The Chairman advised that the Bill was one of the 41 Bills which had to be enacted before 1 July 1997.
28. The Legal Adviser informed members that he was seeking clarification from the Administration on some drafting points and that the Panel on Transport had agreed at its meeting on 23 October 1996 that a Bills Committee should be set up.
29. Mr Zachary WONG said that at the last Panel meeting, members had no time to consider the Bill in detail. He pointed out that the Tsing Ma Control Area (TMCA), an integrated expressway system linking North Lantau with the Kowloon Peninsular, was scheduled to commence operation in May 1997. In view of the large number of Bills Committees currently on the waiting list and the time constraint in scrutinizing the Bill, he suggested to defer the decision for two weeks to allow the Panel to discuss the Bill.
30. Mr James TIEN referred members to paragraph 7 of the paper and said that the Bill involved complicated issues. He suggested that a Bills Committee be formed and put on the waiting list, pending discussion by the Panel.
31. In response to Mr Ronald ARCULLI, the Legal Adviser said that the Discovery Bay Tunnel Link Bill, for which a Bills Committee was formed at the last meeting, empowered the Discovery Bay Road Tunnel Company Limited to construct a Tunnel Link connecting the existing development at Discovery Bay with Sin Ho Wan in North
Lantau. The TMCA Bill, on the other hand, provided for the operation and management of the TMCA to be contracted out to a private operator whose performance would be monitored by the Government under a management agreement. The policy issues of the two Bills were different. However, it was for the House Committee to decide whether the two Bills should be studied by one Bills Committee.
32. Mr LEE Wing-tat said that he had no strong view on Mr Ronald ARCULLIs suggestion. However, he pointed out that some members might only be interested in one Bill but not the other.
Panel on Transport
33. In response to the Chairman, Mrs Miriam LAU, chairman of the Panel on Transport, agreed that the Panel would discuss the policy aspects of the two Bills and report to the House Committee as soon as possible.
34. The Chairman suggested and members agreed that, pending discussion of the Panel on the two Bills, a Bills Committee on TMCA Bill should be set up. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee: Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, Mr LEE Wing-tat and Mr Zachary WONG Wai-yin.
(b) Whaling Industry (Regulation) Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS 22/96-97)
35. The Legal Adviser said that the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were in order. A further report would be made to members upon receipt of the Administrations comments on some technical points.
36. The Chairman advised members that the Bill was one of the 41 Bills which had to be enacted before 1 July 1997.
VII Further business for the LegCo sitting on 6 November 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 135/96-97)
37. The Chairman advised members that Mr Zachary WONG Wai-yin and Mr LEE Wing-tat had changed their questions before the deadline for giving notice of questions.
He reminded members that early notice for change of questions should be given so as to give reasonable time for the Administration to prepare replies.
(b) Government Motion
Resolution in relation to the Rabies (Amendment) Regulation 1996 - to be moved by the Secretary for Economic Services
(LegCo Paper No. LS 24/96-97)
38. Members agreed to support the amending Regulation.
VIII Business for the LegCo sitting on 13 November 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 134/96-97)
39. The Chairman said that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
40. No statement had been notified.
(c) Government Motion
41. No motion had been notified.
(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(i) Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Planners Registration (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1996
(ii) Motor Vehicles (First Registration Tax) (Amendment) Bill 1996
(iii) Wild Animals Protection (Amendment) Bill 1996
42. The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 13 November 1996 and considered by the House Committee on 15 November 1996.
(e) Motion debate on "Political platform of the Chief Executive candidates of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region"
43. Members noted the wording of Mr LEE Cheuk-yans motion.
44. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice to amend the above motion was 6 November 1996.
45. The Chairman said that there was only one motion debate at the sitting on 13 November 1996 because Miss Emily LAU had withdrawn the notice of her motion. However, after the expiry of the notice period, Mr SIN Chung-kai had indicated his intention to move a motion on "Strengthening the supervision of the Hong Kong and China Gas Co. Ltd." at the sitting (Wording of the motion tabled at the meeting and at Appendix IV). The President was prepared to exercise his discretion to waive the 12 clear days notice requirement, subject to the support of the House Committee. The Chairman invited members views on the matter.
46. Miss Emily LAU informed members that as she would be leading a delegation to London, she had therefore withdrawn the notice of her motion scheduled for the sitting on 13 November 1996. She had subsequently applied for the next available debating slot and managed to secure one for the sitting on 20 November 1996 as there was only one application from Dr Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung.
47. Assistant Secretary General 3 briefed members on how the debating slots were allocated for the sitting on 13 November 1996. He said that three members, namely Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, Miss Emily LAU and Dr Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung had applied for a debating slot for the sitting on 13 November 1996. Following a ballot, the two slots were allocated to Mr LEE Cheuk-yan and Miss Emily LAU. Dr Anthony CHEUNG had subsequently been allocated a slot for the sitting on 20 November 1996 because there was no other application. Upon Miss LAUs withdrawal of her notice of motion for the sitting on 13 November 1996, the Secretariat had approached Dr Anthony CHEUNG who preferred to move his motion on 20 November 1996, instead of 13 November 1996.
48. Miss Emily LAU, Dr YEUNG Sum and some members were in support of allocation of the vacant slot at the sitting on 13 November 1996 to Mr SIN Chung-kai.
49. Mr CHAN Kam-lam drew members attention to a previous case involving Mr Frederick FUNG Kin-kee in which members had agreed that debating slots were not transferable. He said that the House Committees previous agreement should be followed. Since the deadline for giving notice of motions for the sitting on 13 November 1996 had already expired, Mr SIN should apply for a debating slot at another sitting.
50. Members noted that Mr Frederick FUNGs case was different in that the House Committees agreement was sought for him to swap his debating slot with another member. In the present case, Mr SIN had applied for the vacant slot on his own accord. It was only the President who had the discretion to decide whether to waive the required notice.
51. After some discussion, the matter was put to vote. There were 18 votes for and three votes against allocating the debating slot at the sitting on 13 November 1996 to Mr SIN. The Chairman said that a recommendation would be made to seek the Presidents agreement to dispense with the required notice.
52. Mr CHAN Kam-lam clarified his stance that his vote was cast on a matter of principle i.e. the handling of Mr SINs request, and that he was not against the motion per se.
53. Members had some discussion on the question as to whether the Secretariat should approach members in the event that a vacant debating slot arose. Members noted Mr Zachary WONGs advice that the vacant slot at the sitting on 13 November 1996 had come to his attention upon receipt of a circular on the position of motion debates for the 1996/97 session issued by the Secretariat on a regular basis. Members agreed that the existing arrangement should remain unchanged.
IX Advance information on motion debates for the LegCo sitting on
20 November 1996
(a) Motion debate on "Election of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region"
54. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Miss Emily LAU.
(b) Motion to be moved by Dr Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
55. Members noted that the subject and wording of Dr CHEUNGs motion was not yet available.
56. The Chairman advised members that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments to, the above motions were 5 November 1996 and 13 November 1996 respectively.
X Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(a) Report of the Subcommittee on subsidiary legislation gazetted from 5 July 1996 to 13 September 1996
57. Mr Ronald ARCULLI, chairman of the Subcommittee reported as follows-
- the Subcommittee agreed to move a motion at the sitting on 6 November 1996 to amend the Dutiable Commodities (Liquor) (Amendment) Regulation 1996. On the proposed amendment to extend the specified hours during which a person under the age of 18 years was prohibited from being employed on a premises licensed for the sale of liquor, the Regional Council and the Urban Council had different views. However, the Subcommittee noted that applications for exemption were subject to the approval of the Liquor Licensing Boards of the two Municipal Councils.
- the Subcommittee agreed not to repeal the Professional Accountants (Amendment) Ordinance 1995 (85 of 1995) (Commencement) Notice 1996. Further information on matters relating to the implementation of rules made by the Council of the Hong Kong Society of Accountants (HKSA) in connection with the incorporation of accountant practices would be provided by the Administration and HKSA.
58. Mr MOK Ying-fan explained that the Urban Council had reservations about the Subcommittees proposed amendment on the ground that relaxation of the specified hours would go against the principle of protection of minors.
(Post-meeting note : The Subcommittees report (LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 334/96-97) was issued on 5 November 1996.)
(b) Observations by the Panel on Home Affairs on the Third Periodic Report in respect of Hong Kong under Articles 2-16 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 244/96-97)
59. Miss Emily LAU reported on behalf of Mr Albert HO Chun-yan, chairman of the Panel on Home Affairs, who was then not at the meeting.
60. The Chairman advised that at the House Committee meeting on 5 July 1996, members had agreed in principle to allocate a provision of $80,000 for the delegation. The provision would be adequate to enable two members to travel on business class. In the event that more than two members were interested to join the delegation, any expenses in excess of the approved budget should be shared amongst participating members. He sought members view on paragraph 7 of the paper.
61. Mr NGAN Kam-chuen said that Members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) had reservations about paragraphs 4, 6 and 7 of the draft submission. The points made by him were summarized below-
- reports on the human rights situation in Hong Kong should be submitted to the UNCESCR by a signatory to the Covenant, and not by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as suggested in paragraph 4 of the draft submission. The suggestion might not be legally in order. It was the view of DAB that China should be requested to become a signatory to the Covenant and to submit periodic reports on Hong Kong to the UN after 1997;
- the setting up of a Human Rights Commission referred to in paragraph 6 of the submission was not necessarily the best means to safeguard human rights in Hong Kong. Rule of law and an independent judicial system were more effective; and
- DAB shared the Administrations view that anti-discrimination legislation should be introduced step-by-step, having regard to the impact of the legislation on social, economic and legislative systems in Hong Kong.
62. Mr James TO and some members were surprised at the comments made by Mr NGAN, as the draft submission had been discussed by the Panel for a few months. He said that comments of this kind should be provided in advance for members consideration and that the relevant Panel, rather than the House Committee, was the more appropriate forum for discussion.
63. In response to the Chairman, the Secretary General said that the draft submission was endorsed by the Panel on Home Affairs at its meeting held on 25 October 1996. No member present during the discussion had raised objection to the draft submission.
64. Mrs Elizabeth WONG, chairman of the Working Group set up under the Panel to consider the draft submission, said that the Group had done a very meticulous job in drafting the submission to ensure that it reflected the views of members accurately. The wording in paragraph 4 of the submission had been used in previous reports to UN Committees and no member had voiced any objection on previous occasions.
65. Miss Emily LAU said that the Panel had a meeting with two members of the UN Human Rights Committee recently. They had indicated that the Committee would consider whether reports from NGOs could be accepted.
66. Mr IP Kwok-him responded that DAB was not only concerned about the legal aspect, but also the proper approach to deal with the issue. DAB felt strongly that reports on human rights should only be submitted by a signatory state. While he apologized for failing to express DABs comments earlier, he considered that the House Committee was an appropriate forum for members to express views on the matter.
Panel on Home Affairs
67. Dr YEUNG Sum suggested that the report be revised to incorporate both majority and minority views. Members agreed that Mr NGAN Kam-chuen should forward DABs comments to the Working Group for consideration. The Panel would prepare a revised submission for consideration by the House Committee at the next meeting.
68. In response to the Chairman, the following members indicated their interest in joining the delegation : Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Miss Christine LOH Kung-wai, Mr Albert HO Chun-yan, Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee and Mrs Elizabeth WONG.
(c) Report of the Panel on Security - Visa-free facilities for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport holders
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 287/96-97)
69. Members endorsed the paper. The Chairman of the House Committee would write to the British, Chinese and Hong Kong Governments urging each of them to set up a special team to promote actively visa-free access to foreign countries for HKSAR passport holders.
XI Any Other Business
Report of the House Committee delegation to attend the hearing of the United Nations Human Rights Committee on 23 October 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 273/96-97. Chinese version of Appendix to the paper will be issued to members separately)
70. Members noted the report and Miss Emily LAUs advice that the Concluding Observations of the Committee would be available on 8 November 1996.
71. The meeting ended at 5:43 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
6 November 1996
Last Updated on 16 August 1999