Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(2) 81

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, 18 July 1997

Members present :

Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP (Chairman)
Hon IP Kwok-him (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
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 YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Hon LO Suk-ching
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk

Members absent :

Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, JP
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP

Clerk in attendance :

Mrs Justina LAMClerk to the House Committee

Staff in attendance :

Mr Ricky C C FUNG, JPSecretary General
Mr LAW Kam-sang, JPDeputy Secretary General
Mr LEE Yu-sangSenior Assistant Legal Adviser
Ms Pauline NGAssistant Secretary General 1
Mr Ray CHANAssistant Secretary General 3
Miss Anita HOAssistant Legal Adviser 2
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
Mrs Eleanor CHOW Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8

I. Confirmation of the minutes of the 12th meeting held on 11 July 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 34/97-98)

    1 The minutes were confirmed, subject to the amendment to paragraph 10 of the minutes - the name of Mr Eric LI should be replaced by Mr Edward HO.
II. Matters arising
    Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration

    Retrospective effect of bills

    2 The Chairman said that at the last meeting, a member had suggested that the Administration be requested to advise the number of bills which, if enacted, would have retrospective effect. The Director of Administration had advised that there would be adaptation bills in the pipeline which would have retrospective effect, but these would not affect the public.
III. Business arising from previous Council meetings
  1. Legal Service Division's report on bill referred to the House Committee in accordance with Rule 54(4)

  2. Chinese Nationality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill
    (PLC Paper No. LS 3/97-98)

    3 The Chairman said that at the last meeting, members agreed in principle that a Bills Committee was not necessary, subject to confirmation by the Legal Service Division that the Bill was in order from the drafting point of view.

    4 The Senior Assistant Legal Adviser introduced the paper and said that the Administration would move an amendment to clause 3(2) of the Bill. Details of the Administration's amendment were set out in the letter from the Secretary for Security tabled at the meeting (circulated vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 62).

    5 Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 23 July 1997 as proposed by the Administration. They noted that the President had agreed to extend the deadline for giving notice of Committee stage amendments (CSAs) to 12:00 noon on Tuesday, 22 July 1997.

  3. Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 16 July 1997 (gazetted on 11 July 1997)

  4. (PLC Paper No. LS 7/97-98)

    6 Referring members to the paper, the Senior Assistant Legal Adviser said that out of the six items of subsidiary legislation, four were Commencement Notices. The subsidiary legislation was legally in order.

    7 Members raised no queries on the subsidiary legislation.
IV. Further business for the Council meeting on 23 July 1997
  1. Questions

  2. (PLC Paper No. CB(3) 34/97-98)

    8 A total of 18 questions (six oral and 12 written) had been scheduled for the Council meeting.

  3. Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

    1. Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1997

    2. Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997

    3. Electoral Affairs Commission Bill

    9 The Chairman said that the above Bills would be considered by the House Committee on 8 August 1997. He added that the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs had requested that a Bills Committee on the Electoral Affairs Commission Bill, if considered necessary, be formed as soon as possible in order that the Bill could be enacted by the end of August. He invited members* views on the matter.

    10 As some members would be away from Hong Kong in the following few weeks, members agreed that a decision on whether a Bills Committee should be set up would be made at the House Committee meeting on 8 August 1997.

  4. Motion

  5. Resolution under section 34(4) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) - to be moved by Dr LEONG Che-hung

    11 The Chairman said that a Subcommittee had been set up to study the two sets of Rules made under the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance. As the first meeting of the Subcommittee would be held on 21 July 1997, he would move a motion in his capacity as the Chairman of the House Committee to extend the scrutiny period up to 20 August 1997.
V. Reports
  1. Position report on Bills Committees/Subcommittees
  2. (PLC Paper No. CB(2) 38/97-98)

    12 Members noted the report.

  3. Report of the Bills Committee on Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passports Bill
  4. (PLC Paper No. CB(2) 48 tabled at the meeting and circulated to members vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 62)

    13 Mr Howard YOUNG, Chairman of the Bills Committee, reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee as set out in the paper. He said that apart from some technical amendments, the Administration would also move CSAs to provide for an appeal mechanism, the detailed procedures of which would be made in the form of subsidiary legislation.

    14 Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 23 July 1997. The Chairman said that the President had agreed to extend the deadline for giving notice of CSAs to 12:00 noon on Tuesday, 22 July 1997.

  5. Report of the Subcommittee on resolution under section 29 of the Public Finance Ordinance (Cap. 2)
  6. (PLC Paper No. CB(1) 57 tabled at the meeting and circulated to members vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 62)

    15 Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Chairman of the Subcommittee, reported on the deliberations of the Subcommittee. He said that the resolution sought to set up the Land Fund with effect from 1 July 1997 to receive, hold and invest the assets of the HKSAR Government. The Administration had yet to decide on the long term use of the assets and had assured members that the use of the Land Fund was subject to the supervision of the Council by way of resolution. The Subcommittee supported the resolution and recommended that the President*s permission to waive the notice period be sought should the Administration decide to move the Resolution at the Council meeting on 23 July 1997. Members agreed.

    16 Mr NGAN Kam-chuen said that he would propose an amendment to repeal Clause 4(b) and substitute it with a provision to the effect that after deduction of all the expenses relating to the administration and management of the Land Fund, all sum earned by way of interest or dividends relating to the investment of the Land Fund should be transferred to the general revenue, instead of the Land Fund. The Administration should be allowed flexibility to use the sum for other purposes such as improving services for the elderly.

    17 Dr Philip WONG pointed out that Mr NGAN*s proposed amendment deviated from the object of the resolution which was related to the administration and management of the Land Fund. Mr NG Leung-sing supplemented that the long term investment strategy or use of the Land Fund was still unknown, and that investment would not necessarily yield profits. Mr Edward HO said that the amendment was unlikely to achieve its intended objective unless there was a provision stating that all sum earned by way of interest or dividends as a result of investment of the Land Fund had to be allocated for specific use. Mr Eric LI pointed out that the principle underlying the Government*s management of public expenditure was that the expenditure growth should not exceed the trend growth of gross domestic product, and that the Government at present had huge surplus each year.
    18 In response to the Chairman, Mr NGAN said that his proposal had not been discussed by the Subcommittee, nor was the Administration aware of it. The Chairman concluded that it was a matter for the President to decide whether the proposed amendment was in order and whether the notice requirement for moving the amendment would be waived.
VI. Any other business
  1. Election of Members for appointment to the Public Accounts Committee
    (PLC Paper No. CB(3) 35/97-98)
    19 Members endorsed the paper. The following members were elected for appointment by the President to serve on the Committee -

    Mr WONG Siu-yee
    Mr NG Leung-sing
    Mr Eric LI
    Mr Ronald ARCULLI
    Mrs Sophie LEUNG
    Mr CHAN Kam-lam
    Mr Kennedy WONG

    The meeting was adjourned for a few minutes for the members elected to elect among themselves a Chairman. Members noted that Mr Eric LI was elected Chairman of the Committee.

  2. Nomination and Election of Members to serve on Public Bodies, Advisory Boards and Committees

  3. (PLC Paper No. CB(2) 40/97-98)

    20 Members noted the paper.

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

  5. (PLC Paper No. CB(2) 41/97-98)

    21 Members endorsed the paper. The Chairman advised that the nominations for members to serve on the above advisory bodies would be made at the next House Committee meeting on 8 August 1997.

  6. Fun day 1997

  7. (PLC Paper No. AS 17/97-98)

    22 Members agreed that a Fun Day should be held on 20 December 1997, and that an Organizing Committee should be formed. The Secretariat would circularize a paper inviting members to join the Committee.
  8. Motion on *Reduction of rates percentage charge* - to be moved by Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

  9. 23 The Chairman said that Mr NGAN Kam-chuen had withdrawn the above motion scheduled for the Council meeting on 16 July 1997 and would like to seek the House Committee*s agreement for him to move the motion for debate at the next Council meeting on 23 July 1997. The Chairman advised members that while the Rules of Procedure were silent on the number of motion debates that could be held at a Council meeting, the House Rules provided that no more than two motion debates should be held at each Council meeting. He invited members* views on the matter.

    24 Members agreed that a third motion debate should be held at the Council meeting on 23 July 1997 and that Mr NGAN*s motion should be moved ahead of the two motions originally scheduled. Members also agreed that a recommendation should be made to the President to waive the notice requirement. 25 The Chairman said that at the last two Council meetings, outstanding agenda items had been deferred to the following Council meeting. He invited members* views as to whether rules should be laid down for the conduct of outstanding business of a Council meeting. Mr CHAN Kam-lam said that the arrangements at the last two Council meetings had been unusual as a result of urgent introduction of a number of bills by the Administration. Mrs Selina CHOW suggested that the matter be referred to the Working Group on Rules of Procedure for consideration. Members agreed.

  10. Formation of Panels

  11. 26 Assistant Secretary General 1 reminded members that the deadline for signifying membership for the 18 Panels was 12:00 noon on Monday 21 July 1997. She urged members to complete the reply slip as early as possible.
  12. Meeting arrangements

  13. 27 Members noted that committee meetings should normally be held in Conference Rooms A or B or the Chamber and arranged within two-hour time slots as follows -

    8:30 am - 10:30 am
    10:45 am - 12:45 pm
    2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

28 The meeting ended at 3:23 pm.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
6 August 1997