Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(2) 234

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, 29 August 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 Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Hon LEE Kai-ming
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, JP
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon CHAN Choi-hi
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon CHIM Pui-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 KAN Fook-yee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Hon LO Suk-ching
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk

Members absent :

Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, JP
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon LEUNG Chun-ying, JP
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok

Clerk in attendance :

Mrs Justina LAM
Clerk to the House Committee

Staff in attendance :

Mr Ricky C C FUNG, JP
Secretary General

Mr LAW Kam-sang, JP
Deputy Secretary General

Mr LEE Yu-sang
Senior Assistant Legal Adviser

Ms Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Mr LAW Wing-lok
Assistant Secretary General 3 (Acting)

Mr Stephen LAM
Assistant Legal Adviser 4

Mr Arthur CHEUNG
Assistant Legal Adviser 5

Ms LEUNG Siu-kum
Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)

Ms Kathleen LAU
Chief Public Information Officer

Mrs Eleanor CHOW
Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8

I.Confirmation of the minutes of the 16th meeting held on 22 August 1997
(PLC Paper No. CB(2) 204)

1.The minutes were confirmed.

II.Matters arising

  1. Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration
  2. (i) Introduction of bills into Provisional Legislative Council

    2.The Chairman said that the Deputy Chairman had conveyed to the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS) members ' request that the Administration should as far as possible brief members on the bills in advance and also explained why they were essential to the operation of the Special Administrative Region (SAR). CS had responded that the Administration would only introduce bills when it was satisfied that they were essential and the public officers in charge of the bills would explain the reasons at the Second Reading stage.

    3.In response to Mr Edward HO, Mr IP Kwok-him said that CS had made it clear that since it was the Administration ' s prerogative to introduce bills, she could not agree to the proposal that panels be approached in the first instance. However, the Administration would certainly brief the panels on major policy changes.

    4.Mr WONG Siu-yee said that members should trust the Administration and concentrate their efforts on scrutinizing bills rather than examining whether they were essential.

    5.The Chairman said that he had discussed the matter with the President who opined that PLC had a responsibility to ensure that only bills that were essential to the operation of the SAR would be dealt with. He said that the President had agreed to liaise with the Administration on the matter, if necessary. He added that if the Administration insisted on introducing bills which PLC considered to be not essential, Members could choose not to scrutinize them or to vote them down.

    (ii) Subsidiary legislation on Mandatory Provident Fund

    6.The Chairman said that in response to members ' request to have the draft subsidiary legislation in batches to facilitate early scrutiny, CS had agreed to consult the Secretary for Financial Services.

    (iii) Subsidiary legislation relating to first SAR Legislative Council election

    7.The Chairman informed members that at the first meeting of the Bills Committee on Legislative Council Bill, the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs had undertaken to prepare a paper outlining the subsidiary legislation relating to the first SAR Legislative Council election. The paper would be circulated to all Members when ready.

    (Post-meeting note : Paper circulated to members vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 236.)

  3. Consultation paper on the proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure recommended by the Working Group on Rules of Procedure

  4. (PLC Paper No. CB(2) 142 issued vide PLC Paper No. CB(2) 162 dated 20 August 1997)

    8.Referring to a concern raised at the last meeting about the relationship between the House Committee and Committee on Rules of Procedure, Mrs Selina CHOW, Convenor of the Working Group, explained that the House Committee would be consulted on any changes to the Rules of Procedure. As regards studies conducted at the request of individual committees and which did not involve any change to the Rules of Procedure, she suggested that a copy of the report be circulated to all Members upon completion of the study. Members agreed.

    9.Members also agreed that Mrs CHOW should seek the President ' s approval to dispense with the required notice so that the two resolutions on the proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure and the dissolution of the above-mentioned Working Group could be moved at the Council meeting on 10 September 1997.

III.Business arising from previous Council meetings

Legal Service Division ' s report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 27 August 1997 (gazetted on 22 August 1997)
(PLC Paper No. LS 21)

10.Referring members to the paper, the Senior Assistant Legal Adviser said that the two items of subsidiary legislation were legally in order.

11.Members raised no queries on the subsidiary legislation.

IV.Further business for the Council meeting on 3 September 1997

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

Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997

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

V.Business for the Council meeting on 10 September 1997

(a) Questions

(PLC Paper No. CB(3) 120)

13.A total of 17 questions (six oral and 11 written) had been tentatively scheduled.

(b) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

14.No notice had been received.

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

15. No notice had been received.

(d) Member ' s motions

(i) Motion on "Designating a Teacher ' s Day"

16. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr YEUNG Yiu-chung

(ii) Motion on "Review of district administration"

17. Mr CHAN Choi-hi, mover of the above motion, said that in view of the recent incidents involving the Hospital Authority, he would like to seek members ' support for him to change the subject of the motion to ' Review of the operation of the Hospital Authority ' without the required notice.

18. The Chairman informed members that House Rules 13 and 14(c) provided that not more than two motion debates should be held at each regular meeting and that subject to the House Committee ' s agreement, priority allocation might be given to debates on urgent, important and topical issues. He invited members ' views on Mr CHAN ' s proposal.

19. Mr IP Kwok-him and Mrs Selina CHOW pointed out that the subject matter required a detailed and in-depth discussion with the Hospital Authority as well as Health and Welfare Bureau and therefore would most appropriately be dealt with by the Panel on Health Services. Mrs CHOW added that a topic should be considered urgent only if it carried a deadline beyond which any action would be rendered ineffective. Mr IP also expressed concern that an undesirable precedent would be set.

20. The Chairman put the matter to vote. There were one vote for and 12 votes against Mr CHAN ' s proposal to change the subject of his motion scheduled for debate at the Council meeting on 10 September 1997. Members agreed that the concern raised by Mr CHAN should be followed up by the Panel on Health Services. CAS(2)4

21. The Chairman added that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 3 September 1997. The normal speaking time limits would apply.

VI. Any other business

(a) Proportional Representation Electoral System
(PLC Paper No. RL2 tabled at the meeting)

22. Members noted the report.

(b) Arrangement of business for the Council meeting on 24 September 1997

23. The Secretary General informed members that the Administration intended to resume the Second Reading debate on the Legislative Council Bill at the Council meeting on 24 September 1997. He sought members ' views as to whether debates on Member ' s motions should be scheduled for that meeting given that lengthy debates on the Bill were likely. He informed members that two applications for registration of motion debates had so far been received, one from Professor NG Ching-fai and one from Miss CHOY So-yuk.

24. A few members opined that motion debates should not be held at that meeting and those who had secured a debating slot for that meeting should be allowed to defer moving his/her motion until the following meeting. Some members were of the view that debates on Member ' s motions should be scheduled in the normal manner.

25. After some discussion, members agreed that the matter be further discussed at the next House Committee meeting on 12 September 1997.

26. The meeting ended at 3:16 pm.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
10 September 1997