LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 401/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5

House Committee

Minutes of 6th meeting
held on Friday, 8 November 1996 at 2:30 pm.
in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members present :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    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 Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, 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 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 CHENG Yiu-tong
    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    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 Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai

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
Assistant Secretary General 3
Ms Kitty CHENG
Assistant Legal Adviser 2
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 Anna LO
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2
Mrs Betty LEUNG
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 3
Mrs Eleanor CHOW
Senior Assistant Secretary (House Committee)

The Chairman reminded members to attend the Remembrance Day ceremony to be held on 10 November 1996.

I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 1 November 1996

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 333/96-97)

The minutes were confirmed.

II Matters arising

(a) Report on Chairman’s meeting with the Chief Secretary

The Chairman said that the Chief Secretary was concerned about the progress of work of Bills Committees in general. He was aware that a Bills Committee meeting was recently cancelled owing to the lack of a quorum, and that there was difficulty for members of some Bills Committees to agree on meeting dates because of their respective commitments. He urged members to make the best effort on Bills Committee work.

(b) Funding for the Transport Panel’s overseas study tour

Mrs Miriam LAU, chairman of the Panel on Transport, reported that as only five members had indicated their intention to join the overseas study tour, the Panel had decided at its meeting held that morning to modify its original proposal by sending only one study group to Europe. In the event that six or more members would join the study tour, they would then be formed into two study groups as originally planned. Members agreed.

In response to the Chairman, the Secretary General said that apart from the uncommitted balance of $40,000 from the approved provision for Members’ overseas duty visits in 1996-97, a sum of $160,000 could be made available for the proposed study tour.

(c) House Committee delegation to observe the House of Commons debate on Hong Kong

Mr Howard YOUNG explained to members the reason for his withdrawal from the delegation. His letter was tabled at the meeting (at Appendix I).

Having considered members’ views that it would be better to have a cross-party delegation representing the House Committee, Mr YOUNG agreed to join the delegation by attending meetings with various parties scheduled on 12 and 13 November 1996. However, he would not be able to observe the debate on 14 November 1996. Members raised no objection to such arrangement.

(d) 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) 364/96-97)

Mrs Elizabeth WONG, chairman of the Working Group set up under the Panel on Home Affairs to prepare the draft submission, highlighted the amendments made to paragraphs 4, 7 and 8 of the revised draft submission. The amendments had reflected the decision of the House Committee at the last meeting.

Mr CHAN Kam-lam suggested and members agreed that the words "A few of us" in paragraphs 7 and 8 be changed to "Some of us".

Members endorsed the revised submission which would be sent to the UNCESCR in the name of the House Committee.

(Post-meeting note : The submission was sent on 8 November 1996.)

III Legal Adviser’s report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 6 November 1996 (gazetted on 1 November 1996)

(LegCo Paper No. LS 25/96-97)

The Legal Adviser said that clarifications were being sought from the Administration on some drafting points regarding the Gas Safety (Gas Supply) (Amendment) Regulation 1996 (L.N. 455) and that examination of the drafting aspects was continuing in respect of the following three items:

    - Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulation 1996 (L.N. 452),

    - Dutiable Commodities (Liquor) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulation 1996 (L.N. 453); and

    - Dutiable Commodities (Marketing and Colouring of Hydrocarbon Oil) (Amendment) Regulation 1996 (L.N. 454).


He would provide a further report to members.

Members agreed to support the remaining items of the subsidiary legislation.

Mr Ronald ARCULLI suggested that a subcommittee be set up to study the Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Regulation 1996 which was considered by the House Committee at the last meeting. As no other member was interested in joining the subcommittee, Mr ARCULLI undertook to study the item.

IV Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 350/96-97)

Members noted the report.

The Chairman said that as the Bills Committee on the Evidence (Amendment) Bill 1996 had concluded its work, one Bills Committee slot would become available.

The Chairman referred members to the Director of Administration’s letter dated 6 November 1996 on an updated priority list for Government Bills which was tabled at the meeting (at Appendix II). He reminded members of the previous decision of the House Committee that the order of Member’s Bills on the waiting list should not be affected as a result of priority activation of Bills Committees on Government Bills. He sought members’ views on the Administration’s proposal.

Mr LAW Chi-kwong was concerned about the implications of the revised priority list on the Social Workers Registration Bill. He said that the Bill, which had significant implications on social workers, should maintain its present position on the waiting list to ensure its enactment before 30 June 1997.


Members raised no objection to the revised priority list proposed by the Administration, subject to the order of the Social Workers Registration Bill and the three Bills Committees on Member’s Bills on the existing waiting list not being adversely affected. The Chairman undertook to convey members’ view to the Chief Secretary.

V Further report by the Legal Adviser on outstanding bill

Employees’ Compensation (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 28/96-97)

The Legal Adviser said that the Administration had agreed to move Committee Stage amendments to improve some drafting points.

Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.

VI Legal Adviser’s report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order 42(3A)

(a) Securities and Futures Commission (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 26/96-97)

Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.

(b) Protection of Wages on Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. LS 30/96-97)

The Legal Adviser said that the Bill did not involve major policy changes.

Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.

(c) Fugitive Offenders Bill

(LegCo Paper No. LS 29/96-97)

The Chairman advised members that the Administration had proposed to move the Bill to the top of the priority list. He suggested and members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following members agreed to join: Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing, Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo, Mr Albert HO Chun-yan and Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee.

Members noted that the Bills Committee could be activated immediately.

(d) Education (Amendment) Bill 1996 - Member’s Bill introduced by Miss Christine LOH

(LegCo Paper No. LS 27/96-97)

The Legal Adviser advised members that the Panel on Education was consulted on the Bill at its meeting on 18 October 1996. The Administration had expressed concern over the merit of the Bill.

Dr Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung supplemented that the Panel had not voiced any objection to the Bill at the meeting.

Mrs Selina CHOW said that the Bill contained controversial issues. She suggested and members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following members agreed to join: Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong, Mr Henry TANG Ying-yen, Mr Howard YOUNG, Dr Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung and Mr IP Kwok-him.

VII Further business for the LegCo sitting on 13 November 1996


(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 161/96-97)

Mr Henry TANG said that the Administration had advised that the reply to his question would be technical in nature. He therefore decided to change his oral question to one seeking a written reply.

The Chairman advised that Miss CHAN Yuen-han had also changed her question.

VIII Business for the LegCo sitting on 20 November 1996

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 162/96-97)

20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.

(b) Statement

No statement had been notified.

(c) Government Motion

No motion had been notified.

(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

(i) Fraud Bill

(ii) Submarine Telegraph Bill

(iii) District Court (Amendment) Bill 1996

(iv) Landscape Architects Registration Bill

(Member’s Bill to be introduced by Mr Edward S T HO)

The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 20 November 1996 and considered by the House Committee on 22 November 1996.

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

Hong Kong Institute of Education (Amendment) Bill 1996

The Chairman said that members had agreed at the last meeting that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.

(f) Motion debate on "Election of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region"

The revised wording of Miss Emily LAU’s motion was tabled at the meeting (at Appendix III).

(g) Motion debate on "Garrison law"

The meeting noted that the revised wording of Dr Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung’s motion had been issued to members separately.

The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments to the above motion, if any, was 13 November 1996.

IX Advance information on motion debate for the LegCo sitting on
27 November 1996

Motion debate on "Special Administrative Region Chief Executive’s policy on people’s livelihood"

The Chairman advised that only one motion debate had been scheduled for the sitting on 27 November 1996. The deadline for giving notice of, and amendments to, the above motion were 12 November 1996 and 20 November 1996 respectively.

In response to Mr CHAN Kam-lam, the Chairman said that in the event that more than one application was received for the remaining debating slot before the deadline, the normal procedure should apply, i.e. by drawing lots.

X Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

(a) Report of the Panel on Financial Affairs - Mandatory Provident Fund System

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 260/96-97)

Dr HUANG Chen-ya, Panel chairman, introduced the paper and sought members’ endorsement of the recommendation of the Panel to set up a subcommittee under the House Committee to study the Mandatory Provident Fund system.

The Chairman asked members to consider the implications of the proposal on the workload of the Secretariat. He said that it might be better for the Panel to study the matter. Other interested members could join the discussion if they so wished. His view was echoed by Mr Ronald ARCULLI.

A few members were in support of the proposal to set up a subcommittee under the House Committee which would allow participation by interested members and discussion of the subject matter to be more focused. Other members felt that, as a matter of principle, the Panel should study the subject which was within its policy purview. To facilitate participation by non-Panel members and to ensure thorough discussion, the Panel should hold a series of special meetings for such purpose.

Assistant Secretary General 1 said that the implications of the workload on the Secretariat would be the same, irrespective of whether the matter was taken up by the Panel or by a subcommittee formed under the House Committee. The Secretariat had made appropriate staffing arrangements to service a subcommittee if formed.

After some discussion, members agreed to support the Panel’s proposal and that the first meeting of the subcommittee be held at 8:30 am on 18 November 1996. Members noted Mr Ronald ARCULLI’s suggestion that the subcommittee should continue study of the subsidiary legislation which was expected to be tabled in LegCo in April 1997. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee: Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Dr HUANG Chen-ya, Mr James TIEN, Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, Mr CHAN Wing-chan and Mr SIN Chung-kai.

(b) Report of the Bills Committee on the Evidence (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 362/96-97)

Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung, chairman of the Bills Committee, reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee. The Bills Committee had reservations about the introduction of a piece-meal legislation, as a stop-gap measure, at the time when a piece of more comprehensive legislation (the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill) was in the pipeline. It had agreed to move Committee Stage amendments to repeal all the clauses relating to obtaining of evidence for overseas jurisdictions. He added that Miss Margaret NG would also move Committee Stage amendments to re-introduce a form of corroboration warning along the lines suggested by the Hong Kong Bar Association.

Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed at the sitting on 27 November 1996.

The Chairman suggested and members agreed that he would move a motion without notice to reduce the duration of the division bell to one minute in the event that a large number of Committee Stage amendments involving divisions would be moved.

(c) Report of the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters - Order of business at LegCo sittings

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 356/96-97)

Referring members to the paper, the Chairman said that the Subcommittee had divided views on the Administration’s proposal to deal with Member’s items that had legislative effect (e.g. resolutions to amend subsidiary legislation and bills) before Member’s motions that had no legislative effect (e.g. motion debates) at LegCo sittings, and decided to report its deliberations to the House Committee for consideration.

The Chairman said that he had reservations about the Administration’s justification that Member’s items with legislative effect should be dealt with earlier at the sitting when the majority of the Members would be able to participate. He was of the view that Members should be present throughout the sitting and that the Administration’s proposal would further undermine the importance of motion debates.

Miss Emily LAU considered the Administration’s proposal acceptable because Member’s items with legislative effect would have significant impact on the community and should therefore be debated earlier at a sitting in order to get adequate media coverage. Mr Bruce LIU said that his party was also in support of the proposal.

Dr Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung disagreed with the logic of the proposal. In this connection, he pointed out that LegCo questions which had no legislative effect were dealt with at the beginning of a sitting. Dr YEUNG Sum recommended that no change be made to the existing order of business in respect of motions and bills.

The Administration’s proposal was put to vote. There were 11 votes for and 20 votes against the proposal. The Chairman declared that the proposal was defeated.

(d) Reports of the Subcommittee on Parliamentary Friendship Groups

(i) Legislative Council delegation’s visit to Australia on 8-15 September 1996

(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 138/96-97)

Members noted the report.

(ii) Proposed visit to the United States of America

(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 158/96-97)

Referring members to the paper, Miss Emily LAU said that the National Committee on United States-China Relations which sponsored the visit had suggested that the delegation should comprise Members from different groups. As the proposed visit was a study tour covering various aspects of legislative work, she suggested that, of the two staff members who would accompany the visit, one should be a legal adviser.

Members endorsed the recommendations of the Subcommittee as set out in paragraph 6 of the paper.

(iii) Proposed formation of a Hong Kong-Singapore Parliamentary Friendship Group

(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 157/96-97)

Members endorsed the recommendation of the Subcommittee to form a Hong Kong-Singapore Parliamentary Friendship Group.

XI Any Other Business

(a) House Committee delegation to Japan

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 348/96-97)

The Chairman referred members to the paper and drew their attention to the replies from the Consulate General of Japan and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Japan, the Legal Adviser’s advice on the constitutional issue involved and The Legislative Council Commission’s decision not to finance the delegation to Japan by public funds.

The Chairman suggested to pursue the matter further by writing directly to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Japan. Mr Fred LI added that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office should also be requested to provide assistance in the matter.

Mr Eric LI said that while he supported members’ stance on the Diaoyu Islands issue, he had reservations about writing to the various parties as suggested, and asked whether this was in order from the constitutional point of view.

The Legal Adviser said that the delegation would not have lawful power to undertake international diplomatic activities and should avoid giving the impression that the delegation was so acting. However, whether any action taken by the delegation would be construed as undertaking international diplomatic activities was a matter for consideration by members.

After some discussion and taking into account the views of some members and the Legal Adviser, the meeting agreed that the Chairman should write to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Japan seeking a meeting for the delegation to present the views of the Hong Kong community over the Diaoyu Islands issue.

b) Report 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 - Procedures in regard to determination of claims of "public interest immunity"

Mr IP Kwok-him, chairman of the Select Committee, introduced the paper (LegCo Paper No. CB(3)166/96-97) which was tabled at the meeting and attached at Appendix IV. At its meeting held in that morning, the Select Committee agreed to move an amendment to the 1994 Resolution to the effect that the authority for determining whether a claim of "public interest immunity" should be allowed was with the chairman of a select committee where there was no deputy chairman. In addition, the opportunity was also taken to adopt a Chinese text for the Resolution. The Select Committee would like to seek the House Committee’s support that the President be requested to waive the required notice for moving the resolution at the sitting on 13 November 1996. Members agreed to support the request.


Mr James TO suggested and members agreed that the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters be invited to consider whether amendments should be made to the Standing Orders to provide for the appointment of a deputy chairman for a select committee.

(c) Procedure for debating a motion

The Chairman said that as the President’s ruling concerning Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung’s amendment to Mr SIN Chung-kai’s motion moved at the sitting on 6 November 1996 had raised concern, the President would further explain the basis of his ruling at the coming sitting.


Mr Michael HO said that the new procedure deprived Members of the opportunity to declare their stance on the amended motion. Dr YEUNG Sum said that he disagreed with the new procedure. They requested that the matter be discussed by the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters. Members agreed.

The meeting ended at 4:10 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
13 November 1996

Last Updated on 16 August 1999