Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(2) 128

Ref : PLC/HC/4

House Committee of the Provisional Legislative Council

Minutes of the meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber at 2:30 pm on Friday, 8 August 1997

Members present :

Hon IP Kwok-him (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk

Members absent :

Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP (Chairman)
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon LO Suk-ching

Clerk in attendance :

Mrs Justina LAMClerk to the House Committee

Staff in attendance :

Mr LAW Kam-sang, JPSecretary General (Acting)
Mr LEE Yu-sangLegal Adviser (Acting)
Mr Stephen LAMSenior Assistant Legal Adviser (Acting)
Mr LAW Wing-lokAssistant Secretary General 3 (Acting)
Miss Connie FUNGAssistant Legal Adviser 3
Mr Arthur CHEUNGAssistant Legal Adviser 5
Ms LEUNG Siu-kumChief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
Ms Kathleen LAUChief Public Information Officer
Mrs Percy MAChief Assistant Secretary (2)5
Miss Flora TAISenior Assistant Secretary (2)3

In the absence of the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman took the chair.

I.Confirmation of the minutes of the special meetings held on 8, 9 and 15 July 1997 and the 13th meeting held on 18 July 1997
(PLC Papers Nos. CB(2) 37, 42, 46 and 81)

2.The minutes of the special and regular meetings were confirmed.

II.Matters arising

Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration

3.The Deputy Chairman said that he had spoken to the Chief Secretary for Administration about the unsatisfactory situation whereby the President's leave had to be sought on a number of occasions recently to dispense with notice requirements of certain items of Council business. The Chief Secretary for Administration had agreed that, with the disposal of the urgent business, the Administration would try its best to adhere to the notice requirements in the future.

4.The Deputy Chairman suggested and members agreed that the following matters would be raised with the Chief Secretary for Administration at the coming meeting-

  1. to allow sufficient time for scrutiny of bills, the Administration should be requested not to introduce bills later than mid-February 1988 and to provide details of the bills to be introduced;

  2. the Administration should be requested to advise whether any of the Government Bills/subsidiary legislation/resolutions introduced into the former LegCo and which had not been dealt with (a total of 27 items) would be re-introduced into the Provisional Legislative Council. In this connection, members noted Mr James TIEN's comments that the subsidiary legislation relating to the Mandatory Provident Fund System should be re-introduced in the current session in order to meet the target implementation date of 1 January 1999.

III.Business arising from previous Council meetings

(a)Legal Service Division's report on bills referred to the House Committee in accordance with Rule 54(4)

(i)Electoral Affairs Commission Bill

(PLC Paper No. LS 10)

5.The Acting Legal Adviser briefly explained the object of the Bill and advised that the Legal Service Division was still examining the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill. He drew members' attention to the time frame proposed in respect of the first election of the HKSAR Legislative Council i.e. the Electoral Affairs Commission should report its recommendations on geographical constituency boundaries to the Chief Executive by 31 October 1997.

6.The Deputy Chairman supplemented that the Administration hoped that this Bill could be passed before the end of August 1997, and that another bill on electoral arrangements would be introduced into the Council by the end of August.

7.In view of the tight legislative timetable, a few members said that if the structure of the proposed Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) was similar to that of the former Boundary and Election Commission (BEC), there was no need to set up a Bills Committee. Mr LAU Kong-wah said that a number of complaints were lodged against the BEC after the 1995 elections and suggested that a Bills Committee be set up to study the Bill.

8.In response to the Deputy Chairman, the Acting Legal Adviser said that the Legal Service Division could request the Administration to provide information on the differences and similarities between the BEC and EAC in terms of their composition, functions, powers and duties, and make a further report to members at the next meeting.

9.After discussion, members agreed that a Bills Committee should be set up immediately to commence study of the Bill. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee: Mr WONG Siu-yee, Dr Raymond HO Chung-tai, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr TSANG Yok-shing, Dr Charles YEUNG Chun-kam, Mr Bruce LIU, Mr LAU Kong-wah, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen and Miss CHOY So-yuk.

(ii)Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1997
Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997

(PLC Paper No. LS 8)
10.Referring to the paper, the Acting Legal Adviser said that the legal and drafting aspects of the Bills were in order.

11.On Mr James TIEN's concern that the Government of the United Kingdom was still exempt from excise duty, the Acting Legal Adviser said that the matter would be dealt with in a future adaptation of legislation exercise. Members agreed that Mr TIEN's concern should be reflected to the Administration. In response to Mr Howard YOUNG, the Acting Legal Adviser said that the Hong Kong Reunification Ordinance had provided for the reference to 'the Governor' to be construed on or after 1 July 1997 as a reference to 'the Chief Executive of the HKSAR'. However, as to whether the term 'the Government of the United Kingdom' could be construed as 'the Government of the People's Republic of China' in relation to import duty, the Acting Legal Adviser said that this was not covered in the Ordinance.ALA3

12.Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bills be resumed.

(b)Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 23 July 1997 (gazetted on 18 July 1997)
(PLC Paper No. LS 9)

13.Members raised no queries on the subsidiary legislation.

(c)Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation to be tabled in Council on 20 August 1997 (gazetted on 25 July 1997)
(PLC Paper No. LS 11)

14.In response to the Deputy Chairman's question concerning the Pleasure Grounds (Urban Council) (Amendment) Bylaw 1997, the Acting Legal Adviser said that the relevant official of the Regional Services Department had advised that there was no urgency for it to make similar Bylaw.

15.Members raised no other queries on the subsidiary legislation.

(d)Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation to be tabled in Council on 20 August 1997 (gazetted on 1 August 1997)
(PLC Paper No. LS 12)

16.Members raised no queries on the subsidiary legislation.

17.Members noted the respective deadlines for giving notice of amendments (if any) to, and for extending the scrutiny period (if necessary) of the subsidiary legislation listed in agenda items (b)-(d) above.

IV.Business for the Council meeting on 20 August 1997

  1. Questions

  2. (PLC Paper No. CB(3) 71)

    18.Members noted that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been scheduled for the Council meeting.

  3. Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

  4. 19.No notice had been received.

  5. Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading

  6. 20.No notice had been received.

  7. Motions

    1. Resolution under section 5(3)(b) of the Public Bus Services Ordinance (Cap. 230) - to be moved by the Secretary for Transport

    2. (PLC Paper No. LS 13)

      21.The Acting Legal Adviser said that the purpose of the resolution was to seek the Council's approval to exclude the application of the profit control scheme to the new franchise granted by the Chief Executive in Council to the Kowloon Motor Bus Company commencing on 1 September 1997. The legal and drafting aspects of the resolution were in order.

      22.After discussion, members agreed that the policy aspect of the resolution should be examined in detail, and to allow sufficient time for scrutiny, the Administration should be requested to defer the resolution to the Council meeting on 27 August 1997. Noting that the next meeting of the Panel on Transport would be held on 12 September 1997, and as both the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Panel were not at the meeting, members decided to form a subcommittee to study the resolution. The following members agreed to join the subcommittee: Dr Raymond HO Chung-tai, Mr LEE Kai-ming, Mr Henry WU, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr LAU Kong-wah, Mrs Miriam LAU (as advised by Mr James TIEN), Dr TANG Siu-tong, Mr NGAN Kam-chuen and Dr LAW Cheung-kwok.

    3. Motion on "Vietnamese boat people"
    4. 23.The Deputy Chairman said that only one motion debate was scheduled for the Council meeting on 20 August 1997. Although one of the two debating slots was originally allocated to Mr LAU Kong-wah, Mr LAU had subsequently decided to defer moving his motion to the Council meeting on 3 September 1997. The Deputy Chairman urged Members who had secured a debating slot to try not to withdraw his/her application after expiry of the deadline for giving notice of motions for that particular Council meeting as this would deprive other Members of the opportunity of sponsoring motion debates.

      24.The Deputy Chairman referred members to the wording of the motion to be moved by Mrs Selina CHOW and that of Mr LAU Kong-wah's amendment to Mrs CHOW's motion tabled at the meeting. He said that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the motion was 12 August 1997.

      25.With reference to the amendment proposed by Mr LAU, Mr HO Sai-chu asked whether it was appropriate for the Council to be involved in foreign affairs i.e. to urge the HKSAR Government to sign an agreement with the Vietnamese Government. The Deputy Chairman suggested Mr LAU to take into account Mr HO's comment in finalizing the wording of his amendment.

V.Advance information on motions for the Council meeting on 27 August 1997

(a)Motion on "Assisting Hong Kong's farming and fishing industries"

26.Members noted that Mr LO Suk-ching had given notice to move the above motion.

(b)Motion on 'Strengthening the transport network with the mainland'

27.Members noted that Dr TANG Siu-tong would change the subject of his motion.

28.The Deputy Chairman said that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments, if any, to the above motions were 11 August 1997 and 20 August 1997 respectively.


Report of the Subcommittee on Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Rules and Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Fees Rules

(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 109)

29.On behalf of the Chairman of the Subcommittee, Mr TSANG Yok-shing reported on the deliberations of the Subcommittee. He concluded that subject to the technical amendments to be moved by the Administration, the Subcommittee had proposed no other amendments to the Rules.

30.The Deputy Chairman said that the scrutiny period of the Rules had been extended to 20 August 1997. The deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the Rules was 12 August 1997.

VII.Any other business

(a)Nomination of Members for appointment to Disaster Relief Fund Advisory Committee, Po Leung Kuk Advisory Board and Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Advisory Board

(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 96)

31.In accordance with the procedures set out in paragraph 3 of the paper, the Members nominated and elected to serve on the following advisory committee/boards were-

  1. Disaster Relief Fund Advisory Committee
    -Mrs Elsie TU and Mr NGAN Kam-chuen

  2. Po Leung Kuk Advisory Board
    -Mr David CHU Yu-lin (Mr WONG Siu-yee advised that Mr CHU who was then not at the meeting had agreed to accept the nomination)

  3. Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Advisory Board
    -Mr CHENG Kai-nam

(b)Meeting/Luncheon with Provisional District Board Members
(PLC Paper No. CB(1) 100)

32.The Deputy Chairman introduced the paper and seek members' view on the frequency of meetings-cum-luncheons with the Provisional District Boards (PDBs). In response to members, he said that in order to complete one cycle of meetings with members of the 18 PDBs within the term of the Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) and on the basis of the attendance of about 10 PLC Members per PDB meeting, each Member would be required to attend about three PDB meetings.

33. After discussion, members agreed that meetings should be held concurrently with two PDBs in different conference rooms with a joint luncheon for members of both PDBs. The frequency of meetings should be, as suggested by the Director of Home Affairs, once every two weeks so that the cycle could be completed by end of 1997/early 1998.

34.Members noted Mr Howard YOUNG's comment that meetings of PDBs in the vicinity of each other should be scheduled on the same day as far as possible, as this would facilitate exchange of views on issues of common interest at luncheons.

(c)Special meetings of Panels

35.The Deputy Chairman advised members that apart from regular meetings of Panels already scheduled, special meetings could be held to discuss major issues of wide public concern in the relevant policy areas.

36.In response to members, Acting Secretary General said that the Rules of Procedure stipulated that a Panel should sit at the time and the place determined by the chairman of the Panel. If a request for a special meeting was received when the chairman of a Panel was out of town, the Secretariat could try to get in touch with the chairman and seek his/her advice on the request. If a Panel meeting was held in the temporary absence of both the chairman and deputy chairman, the Panel could elect a chairman to chair that meeting.

37.The meeting ended at 3:52 pm.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
13 August 1997