LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1948/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5
Minutes of 22nd meeting
held on Friday, 18 April 1997 at 3:22 p.m.
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 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 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, OBE, FEng, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
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 Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon IP Kwok-him
Hon LAU Chin-shek
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon LO Suk-ching
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon Margaret NG
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon TSANG Kin-shing
Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
Members absent :
Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon LAW Chi-kwong
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling
Clerk in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Assistant Secretary General 2
Staff in attendance :
- Mr Ricky C C FUNG
- Secretary General
- Mr Jimmy MA
- Legal Adviser
- Mr Ray CHAN
- Deputy Secretary General (Acting)
- Mr LEE Yu-sang
- Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
- Mrs Vivian KAM
- Assistant Secretary General 1 (Acting)
- Mr Jonathan DAW
- Consultant (Legal Service)
- Ms Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Ms Kitty CHENG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 2
- Miss Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Mr Stephen LAM
- Assistant Legal Adviser 4
- Ms Anita HO
- Assistant Legal Adviser 5
- Ms LEUNG Siu-kum
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Ms Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Mrs Percy MA
- Chief Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
- Mrs Eleanor CHOW
- Senior Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 11 April 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1830/96-97)
The minutes were confirmed.
II Matters arising
(a) Report on Chairmans meeting with the Chief Secretary
Written reply to a LegCo question
2. On the missing details of the Chinese version of a written reply to a LegCo question at the sitting on 9/10 April 1997, the Chairman said that he had requested the Administration to be more careful in future.
(b) Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulation
(c) Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1997
Mr Ronald ARCULLI
3. The Chairman said that at the last meeting, members had agreed to allow more time for Mr Ronald ARCULLI to study the above two items. Mr ARCULLI had advised that he was still waiting for the Administrations reply to the queries raised by him. Members agreed to defer a decision to the next meeting.
III Legal Service Division report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 16 April 1997 (gazetted on 11 April 1997)
(LegCo Paper No. LS 167/96-97)
4. Members raised no queries on the subsidiary legislation.
IV Further reports by the Legal Service Division on outstanding bill
(a) Hong Kong Institute of Housing Bill - Members Bill introduced by Mr Edward HO
(LegCo Paper No. LS 168/96-97)
5. The Chairman said that in response to the Legal Service Division, the solicitors responsible for drafting the Bill had proposed some Committee stage amendments (CSA). The Bill was now in order.
6. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill might resume.
(b) Auxiliary Medical Service Bill
Civil Aid Service Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS 172/96-97)
7. The Legal Adviser said that the Legal Service Division was seeking comments from the Administration on some technical points. Apart from these, the legal and drafting aspects of the Bills were in order.
8. Members agreed to support the Bills in principle, pending a further report from the Legal Service Division.
(c) Security and Guarding Services (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Mr CHAN Wing-chan
(LegCo Paper No. LS 173/96-97)
9. The Legal Adviser said that the Legal Service Division was seeking clarifications from the Members office on some technical points.
10. Mrs Miriam LAU suggested that a Bills Committee should be set up to study the Bill which involved new policy issues. Members agreed. The following members agreed to join the Committee: Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Mr Zachary WONG Wai-yin, Mr CHAN Wing-chan and Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung.
(d) The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (Amendment) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Mr Paul CHENG
(LegCo Paper No. LS 159/96-97)
11. The Legal Adviser said that the drafting aspect of the Bill was in order and recommended that members support the Bill.
Mr James TO
12. Mr James TO said that he would need more time to study the Bill. Members agreed to defer a decision by one week.
V Legal Service Division report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order 42(3A)
(a) Cross-Harbour Tunnel (Cross-Harbour Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Bill 1997
Eastern Harbour Crossing (Eastern Harbour Crossing Road Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Bill 1997
Tates Cairn Tunnel (Tates Cairn Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Bill 1997
(Members Bills introduced by Mr IP Kwok-him)
(LegCo Paper No. LS 169/96-97)
13. The Legal Adviser said that subject to certain technical points being sorted out with the Member in charge, the legal and drafting aspects of the Bills were in order.
14. Mrs Miriam LAU referred members to paragraph 10 of the Legal Service Divisions report which stated that the Administration was not prepared to bring the existing standards of air quality control of the three tunnels in line with the standards enshrined in the Practice Notes on Control of Air Pollution in Vehicle Tunnel unless agreement with the tunnel companies concerned had been reached. She suggested that a Bills Committee be set up to listen to the views of the tunnel companies.
15. Mr IP Kwok-him had reservation about setting up a Bills Committee. He said that the Bills sought to improve the air quality standards to the benefit of the public. No legal sanction could be imposed on the tunnel companies for breach of obligations specified in the Regulations. The Bills, if passed, would facilitate early compliance with the international air quality standards by the companies.
16. Mr James TO said that while he supported the spirit of the Bills, he was concerned whether the proposal would have financial and other implications on the part of the Government. Miss Margaret NG said that Mr IPs Bills had raised an important principle of whether legislative means should be used to change the terms of a private contract. She urged members to consider the Bills carefully. Mrs Selina CHOW expressed concern as to whether the Bills, if passed, would result in the Government having to unilaterally change the terms of the contracts made with the tunnel companies. Dr John TSE agreed that the concerned parties should be consulted. They supported the setting up of a Bills Committee.
17. The Chairman put the matter to vote. There were 18 votes for and no vote against the proposal of setting up a Bills Committee.
18. The following members agreed to join the Committee : Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, Mr Howard YOUNG, Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung, Mr IP Kwok-him and Dr John TSE Wing-ling.
(b) Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung
(LegCo Paper No. LS 171/96-97)
19. The Chairman said that the Member in charge would brief the Panel on Manpower on 28 April 1997 and also refer the Bill to the Labour Advisory Board for discussion.
20. The Legal Adviser briefly explained the objects of the Bill and recommended that a Bills Committee be formed. Members agreed.
21. The following members agreed to join the Committee : Mrs Selina CHOW, Mr Michael HO Mun-ka, Mr Henry TANG Ying-yen, Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung and Mr MOK Ying-fan.
(c) Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Dr LEONG Che-hung
(LegCo Paper No. LS 170/96-97)
22. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to prohibit all forms of tobacco advertisement and also extend the scope of designated no smoking areas. A number of submissions on the Bill had been received.
23. Dr Philip WONG suggested and members agreed that a Bills Committee should be set up. The following members agreed to join the Committee : Dr LEONG Che-hung, Mrs Selina CHOW, Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing, Dr Philip WONG Yu-hong, Mr James TIEN Pei-chun, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr MOK Ying-fan, Mr TSANG Kin-shing and Dr John TSE Wing-ling.
24. The Chairman said that the Government would introduce the Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1997 into LegCo on 23 April 1997. Should members decide to study the Bill in detail, he was inclined to suggest that the Bill be allocated to the same Bills Committee.
VI Further business for the LegCo sitting on 23 April 1997
Resolution under section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) - to be moved by Mr IP Kwok-him
25. Mr IP Kwok-him said that, subsequent to the discussion at the previous meeting, he had revised his proposed resolution to include an implementation date of 23 October 1997 so as to allow the franchisee of the Western Harbour Crossing sufficient time to make arrangements to meet the new air quality standards, if the resolution was approved by the Council.
26. In response to Mrs Miriam LAU, the Chairman said that he had already requested the Chief Secretary to provide Members with more information on the implications of Mr IPs resolution, if approved by the Council.
(b) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(i) Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997
(ii) Public Holiday (Special Holidays 1997) Bill
(iii) Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill
(iv) Interception of Communications Bill - to be introduced by Mr James TO
(v) Unfair Dismissal Bill - to be introduced by Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung
27. The Chairman said that a total of eight Bills including the above five Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 23 April 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 25 April 1997. Although the Administration had advised that items (ii) and (iii) above had to be passed before 1 July 1997, item (ii) had not been on the Administrations list of the 46 Bills which had to be passed before 1 July 1997.
28. The Chairman said that members had earlier agreed that apart from bills which were urgent or needed the clearance of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group, other bills should be introduced into LegCo on or before the sitting on 9/10 April 1997. Members had also agreed that the Administration should provide justifications for bills introduced after the agreed deadline. He sought members views on how to deal with such bills. He expressed concern that as the Legal Service Division had still to make initially efforts to prepare reports on bills referred to the House Committee, its efforts would be wasted if members were unable to scrutinize all the bills in time for resumption of Second Reading debates before 1 July 1997.
29. After discussion, members in general felt that it was the prerogative of the Administration to introduce bills, while Members would try their best to scrutinize the bills introduced. It was agreed that the Administration should provide justifications for bills that had to be introduced after the agreed deadline, and that the Legal Service Division should continue to prepare reports on bills introduced to assist Members in their consideration of the bills.
(c) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
(i) Social Workers Registration Bill
(ii) Coroners Bill
(iii) Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill 1997
(iv) Crimes (Amendment) Bill 1997
30. The Chairman said that members had agreed at previous meetings that the Second Reading debates on the above Bills should resume.
VII Business for the LegCo sitting on 30 April 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 849/96-97)
31. 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
32. No statement had been notified.
(c) Government Motion
33. No motion had been notified.
(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(i) Marriage and Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997
(ii) Merchant Shipping (Liability and Compensation For Oil Pollution) (Amendment) Bill 1997
(iii) Trustee (Amendment) Bill 1997
(iv) The Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong (Amendment) Bill 1997
(v) Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Amendment) Bill 1997
(vi) Child Abduction and Custody Bill
34. The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 30 April 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 2 May 1997.
(e) Motion debate on "Vetting of applications from residents in the Mainland for settlement in Hong Kong"
35. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Dr LAW Chi-kwong.
(f) Motion debate on "Services for mental patients and ex-mental patients"
36. The Chairman advised members that the wording of the motion to be moved by Dr HUANG Chen-ya had been considered at the previous meeting.
37. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 23 April 1997.
VIII Advance information on motion debates for the LegCo sitting on 7 May 1997
(a) Motion debate on "Welfare for elderly"
38. Members noted the subject of the motion to be moved by Mr CHAN Wing-chan.
(b) Motion debate on "Mother tongue education"
39. Members noted the subject of the motion to be moved by Mrs Selina CHOW.
40. The Chairman advised members that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments, if any, to the above motions were 22 April 1997 and
30 April 1997 respectively.
IX Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(a) Report of the Bills Committee on Education (Amendment) Bill 1996
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 1275/96-97)
Dr Anthony CHEUNG, Chairman of the Bills Committee, referred members to the report which set out the deliberations of the Committee. He said that the Bills Committee could not reach consensus on the Bill and recommended that the Second Reading debate on the Bill might resume at a date to be advised by the Member in charge. Members agreed.
42. Members noted that the Bills Committee slot had already been released and allocated at the last meeting.
(b) Report of the Bills Committee on Child Care Centres (Amendment) Bill 1996
43. Mr Howard YOUNG, Chairman of the Bills Committee, said that the Bills Committee had concluded scrutiny of the Bill and would make a written report to the House Committee at a later stage. It had agreed to release its slot for a Bills Committee on the waiting list.
(c) Report of the Panel on Broadcasting, Culture and Sport - Places of Public Entertainment (Amendment) Bill 1997
44. Mr MOK Ying- fan, Deputy Chairman of the Panel, reported that the Panel had considered the views of the Hong Kong Theatres Association Limited concerning the time taken for theatres to obtain licences. The Panel had agreed that the matter raised was not related to the Bill and should be resolved between the Administration and the Association. The Panel recommended that a Bills Committee for the Bill was not necessary.
45. The Chairman informed members that Mr James TO who had requested for more time to study the Bill had raised no further queries on the Bill. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill might resume.
(d) Report of the Panel on Transport - Overseas study tour of mass transit systems in overseas cities
46.. Mrs Miriam LAU, Chairman of the Panel and leader of the delegation on the overseas study tour, said that the study tour had achieved the intended objectives. She briefed members on the details of the study tour from 8 February 1997 to 18 February 1997. (A copy of her speaking note is attached in Appendix I). She referred members to the two-volume report. Volume I, which reported on the findings of the tour, had been issued to members of the Panel only. Non-Panel members were welcomed to approach the Secretariat if they wished to obtain a copy. She added that Volume II consisted of reference materials provided by overseas transport authorities and transport operators. It would be kept by the LegCo Library for the reference of those interested.
X Position reports on Bills Committees and Subcommittees and Bills which must be passed before 1 July 1997
(LegCo Papers Nos. CB(2) 1866 and 1832/96-97)
47. Members noted the reports.
48. Members noted and agreed to the new priority list proposed by the Director of Administration in his letter dated 17 April 1997, which was tabled at the meeting (Appendix II). The Chairman informed members that in accordance with the Administrations proposal, the slot vacated by the Bills Committee on Child Care Centre (Amendment) Bill 1996 would be reserved for the study of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, if a Bills Committee on the Bill was formed the following week.
XI Any Other Business
(a) Interception of Communications Bill
49. Miss Emily LAU said that she regarded interception of communications as a violation of human rights, and appropriate legislative control should be put in place as early as possible. At a recent joint meeting of the Panels on Information Policy and on Security, members had recommended that a letter be sent by the House Committee to the Governor urging immediate introduction of the Bill.
50. Members agreed to support the recommendation of the Panels.
(b) Nurses Registration (Amendment) Bill 1997
51. Mr Michael HO said that he had consulted the nurses associations which held diverse views on the minimum-age requirement for registration and the composition of the Nursing Council. As these were polices issues, he suggested that the Panel on Health Services should discuss the Bill and meet the deputations concerned. Members who had indicated their interest to join the Bills Committee would also be invited to attend the meeting. He sought members support for the proposal. Members raised no objection to the proposal.
52. The Chairman noted that five organizations had made submissions on the Bill and the Legal Advisers advice that, as the Administration had agreed to introduce some technical amendments, the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were now in order.
53. The Chairman reminded members that the arrangement of referring a bill to a relevant Panel should only be adopted for bills which were relatively straightforward. The arrangement would create additional work for the Secretariat if a Panel required a series of meetings to conclude its deliberations. The arrangement in case of the Medical Registration (Transitional Provisions) Bill 1997 was an example of an unsatisfactory situation. He pointed out that the arrangement could also pose problems to members who had joined a Bills Committee on the waiting list, as they might not be able to attend the Panel meeting(s) held to discuss the relevant bill. He reiterated that the functions of a Panel should not be confused with those of a Bills Committee.
54. Mr MOK Ying-fan suggested that a Panel should not hold more than one meeting to deliberate the policy aspects of a bill. A few members disagreed, on the ground that a limit should not be set on the number of meetings a Panel should hold in this regard.
55. Dr YEUNG Sum said that in order not to confuse the functions of a Panel with those of a Bills Committee, the Panel should only scrutinize the policy aspects of a bill.
56. The Secretary General said that a Bills Committee was empowered to consider the general merits and principles, as well as the detailed provisions, of a bill. When a Panel engaged in detailed discussion on the policy aspect of a bill and met deputations before the activation of a Bills Committee, it was in fact performing some of the Bills Committees functions. He was concerned about the implications of the arrangement.
57. Mr Michael HO said that when the Panel on Health Services was briefed on the Bill at its meeting on 17 February 1997, the members present were in support of the Administrations proposal. However, subsequent to the meeting, different views were expressed by a few nurses associations. He hoped that by referring the Bill to the Panel, the policy issues raised could be resolved and, since the legal and drafting aspects of the bill were already in order, hence obviating the need for the Bills Committee which was awaiting activation.
(c) Governors Question Time on 24 April 1997
58. Members noted that the Governor had proposed to answer questions on the following topics -
- Human rights reporting;
- Press freedom;
- Crimes (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996; and
- Civil liberties legislation.
59. Members agreed that the Governor should also be requested to answer questions on the topic of "Right of abode".
(d) Members attendance
60. Referring to a recent scheduled meeting of the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services, at which a quorum could not be formed until 20 minutes after the scheduled time, Miss Margaret NG urged members who had indicated their attendance at a particular meeting to make the best effort to attend punctually. Mr Edward HO added that members who were unable to attend a meeting should advise the Secretariat well in advance. Mr Howard YOUNG said that chairmen of committees should end their meetings on time in order not to delay the commencement of the meetings of other committees immediately following.
61. The meeting ended at 4:44 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
23 April 1997
Last Updated on 16 August 1999