Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(2) 371/96-97

Ref : PLC/HC/4

House Committee of the Provisional Legislative Council
Minutes of the meeting
held at the Main Hall, Huaxia Art Centre, Shenzhen
at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, 31 May 1997

Members present:

Dr the Honourable LEONG Che-hung (Chairman)
The Honourable IP Kwok-him (Deputy Chairman)
The Honourable WONG Siu-yee
The Honourable TIEN Pei-chun, James
The Honourable CHU Yu-lin, David
The Honourable HO Sai-chu
The Honourable HO Sing-tin, Edward
Dr the Honourable HO Chung-tai
The Honourable NG Leung-sing
The Honourable LI Ka-cheung, Eric
The Honourable LI Kwok-po, David
The Honourable LEE Kai-ming
The Honourable LEE Peng-fei, Allen
The Honourable Mrs TU, Elsie
The Honourable Mrs CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, Selina
The Honourable Mrs LAM, Peggy
The Honourable WU, Henry
The Honourable NGAI Shiu-kit
The Honourable TANG Ying-yen, Henry
The Honourable ARCULLI, Ronald
The Honourable YUEN Mo
The Honourable MA Fung-kwok
The Honourable CHEUNG Hon-chung
The Honourable Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
The Honourable LEUNG Chun-ying
The Honourable Mrs LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, Sophie
The Honourable MOK Ying-fan
The Honourable HUI Yin-fat
The Honourable CHAN Choi-hi
The Honourable CHAN Yuen-han
The Honourable CHAN Wing-chan
The Honourable CHAN Kam-lam
The Honourable TSANG Yok-sing
The Honourable CHENG Kai-nam
The Honourable FUNG Kin-kee, Frederick
Dr the Honourable WONG Yu-hong, Philip
The Honourable WONG Ying-ho, Kennedy
The Honourable YOUNG, Howard
The Honourable YEUNG Chun-kam
The Honourable YEUNG Yiu-chung
The Honourable LIU Sing-lee, Bruce
The Honourable LAU Kong-wah
The Honourable Mrs LAU Kin-yee, Miriam
The Honourable LAU Hon-chuen, Ambrose
The Honourable CHOY Kan-pui
The Honourable CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr the Honourable TANG Siu-tong
The Honourable KAN Fook-yee
The Honourable NGAN Kam-chuen
The Honourable LO Suk-ching
Dr the Honourable LAW Cheung-kwok
The Honourable TAM Wai-chu, Maria
The Honourable TAM Yiu-chung

Members absent:

Prof the Honourable NG Ching-fai
The Honourable WONG Wang-fat, Andrew
The Honourable CHIM Pui-chung
The Honourable LAU Wong-fat
The Honourable CHENG Ming-fun, Paul
The Honourable FOK Tsun-ting, Timothy

Clerk in attendance:

Ms Pauline NGClerk to the House Committee

Staff in attendance:

Mr Arthur CHEUNG Legal Adviser
Miss Salumi CHAN Committee Clerk 2
Mr Raymond LAMAssistant Committee Clerk 5

I. Confirmation of the minutes of the 6th meeting on 24 May 1997
(PLC Paper No. 321/96-97)
    The minutes were confirmed.
II.Matters arising
  1. Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Secretary for Policy Co-ordination of the Chief Executive's Office

  2. 2. The Chairman reported that as advised by the Secretary for Policy Co-ordination, at least three bills would be introduced to the Council on or before 1 July, including the "Reunification" Bill which would be presented on 1 July. The other two bills were the Immigration (Amendment)(No. 3) Bill 1997 and the Oaths and Declaration (Amendment) Bill 1997. The Chairman said that he had reminded the Secretary to present the two bills not later than 7 June in order that the bills could be dealt with by the Council on or before its meeting on 21 June, which would be the last meeting of the Council before 1 July 1997.

  3. Seating arrangements for Members at Council meetings on and after 1 July 1997

  4. 3.The Chairman referred members to the summary of returns on Members' preferences on the seating arrangements. Members deliberated on the definition of "legislative service" and voted in favour of the definition proposed by Mrs Selina CHOW that it should refer to accumulative service in the National People's Congress and the Hong Kong legislature. Members then voted on the three options for which Members had indicated support. In voting, members noted that they could vote in favour of more than one option and the one with the most support would be adopted. The three options were put to vote and the results were as follows:

    1. 17 members voted in favour of seating arrangements in accordance with accumulative legislative service;

    2. 34 members voted in favour of seating arrangements in accordance with the number of strokes in the characters of Members' names in Chinese;

    3. 8 members voted in favour of seating arrangements by ballot.

    4. The Chairman declared that option (b) had the majority support of members. The Chairman then invited members to consider the suggestion of having the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the House Committee seated in the first two seats respectively. After discussion, members decided not to proceed with this suggestion. The Chairman and Deputy Chairman would therefore be seated in the same way as other Members. Finally, the Chairman announced that no change to the present seating arrangement would be required.

III. Business arising from previous Council meetings
  1. Legal Adviser's report on bills referred to the House Committee in accordance with Rule 54(4)

    The Legislative Council Commission (Amendment) Bill 1997
    (PLC Paper No. 324/96-97)

    5. The Legal Adviser advised members that apart from some minor textual amendments, the drafting of the Bill was in order. Members agreed that since the proposals in the Bill had been considered by the Council, no Bills Committee needed to be formed.
IV. Business for the Council meeting on 7 June 1997
  1. Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

  2. 6.The Chairman advised that no formal notice had so far been received on the first and second readings of bills, but he understood that the Immigration (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1997 would likely be presented to the Council at this meeting.

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

  4. 7. The Chairman said that although no notice had been received on the resumption of bills, he understood that the Bills Committee on Urban Council (Amendment) Bill 1997, Regional Council (Amendment) Bill 1997 and District Boards (Amendment) Bill 1997 had completed its work and would be reporting to the House Committee at this meeting. The Chief Executive (CE)'s Office had indicated that they wished that the Bills could resume second reading debate on 7 June.

  5. Motion on the Transitional Budget for 1997-98

  6. 8. The Chairman advised that the CE's Office had given notice to resume the debate on the motion. Mr FUNG Kin-kee had also given notice to move amendment to the motion. The wording of the amendment was tabled. Members noted that in the case of a motion the debate on which had been adjourned, the deadline for moving amendments to the motion was 5 clear days before the motion was considered in the Council. However, there was no deadline as such for amendment to amendment. Members who wished to move amendments to Mr FUNG's amendment would therefore have to forward their amendments to the President for her ruling as soon as possible.

    9. On speaking time, members agreed that no time limit should be imposed on the Director, CE's Office, the mover of the motion. As for other speakers, members agreed that the following restrictions should be recommended to the President for the purpose of this motion debate:
    time allowed
    Mover of amendment to the motion
    - Speech (including moving the amendment)7 minutes
    - To speak on other Members' amendment(s) provided that he had not been able to do so, if permitted by the President5 minutes
    Other speakers7 minutes each
    Member who had been given permission to reword his original proposed amendment to a motion which had been amended earlier onadditional 3 minutes
V. Business for the Council meeting on 14 June 1997
  1. Bills

  2. 10. Members noted that no notice had so far been received on the first and second readings of bills and resumption of debate on the second reading of bills for the Council meeting on 14 June 1997. However, the Chairman pointed out that the Bills Committee on National Flag and National Emblem Bill and Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Bill recommended that the second reading debate on the two Bills be resumed at the Council meeting on 14 June 1997, subject to the proposed Committee Stage amendments to be moved by the CE's Office.

  3. Motions

  4. 11.Members also noted that no notice of motions from Members or from the CE's Office had been received so far.
VI. Reports of Bills Committees

  1. Report of the Bills Committee on National Flag and National Emblem Bill and Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Bill
  2. (PLC Paper No. 322/96-97)

    12. Mr HO Sai-chu, Chairman of the Bills Committee, briefed members on the deliberations of the Bills Committee and the Committee Stage amendments (CSAs) which the CE's Office had proposed. The CSAs which were tabled at the meeting included the introduction of a lower level of penalty for desecrating the regional flag/emblem. Apart from the original conviction on indictment punishable with a fine at level 5 and imprisonment for 3 years, the CE's Office had introduced a summary conviction punishable with a fine at level 3 and imprisonment for 1 year. In view of this amendment, Mr LIU Sing-lee informed members that he had decided not to move CSAs to reduce the penalty for conviction.

    13. Mr HO Sai-chu suggested and members agreed that the CE's Office should be informed that the second reading debate on the Bills could resume on 14 June 1997. The Chairman reminded members that the deadline for moving CSAs would be 4 June 1997.

  3. Report of the Bills Committee on Urban Council (Amendment) Bill 1997, Regional Council (Amendment) Bill 1997 and District Boards (Amendment) Bill 1997

  4. (PLC Paper No. 340/96-97 tabled at the meeting)

    14. Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Chairman of the Bills Committee, informed members that the Bills Committee had concluded the scrutiny of the Bills and studied the CSAs proposed by the CE's Office. Dr LAW Cheung-kwok would be moving CSAs to the membership of the provisional bodies in these Bills. In this respect, Mr LEUNG Chun-ying pointed out that the Preparatory Committee (PC) had passed a resolution on the setting up of provisional district organizations in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. He questioned if an amendment which contradicted the decision of the PC would be in order. Members noted that the President would have to make a ruling in this respect.

    15. Mr CHAN Kam-lam suggested and members agreed that the CE's Office should be informed that the second reading debate on the Bills could resume on 7 June 1997. Any further amendments to the Bills would require the leave of the President.

    16. On the presentation of reports of Bills Committees, Mrs Selina CHOW, Convenor of the Working Group on Rules of Procedure, reported that the Working Group had considered the committee system of the Council. It came to the view that since Bills Committees were committees of the Council, Bills Committees' reports should be presented first to the House Committee and then, to the Council. The chairman of a Bills Committee could address the Council, if he so wished, when presenting the report to the Council.

    17. Members agreed that this arrangement would formalise the relationship between the Bills Committee and the Council and allow the chairman to have a chance to speak on the bill in his own capacity during the debate on the bill. The Chairman said that this arrangement could be implemented under the present Rules of Procedure.

VII. Any other business
  1. Draft House Rules (English version)
  2. (PLC Paper No. 289/96-97)

    18. Members adopted the English version of the House Rules as proposed by the Working Group on Rules of Procedure.

  3. House Committee meeting dates

  4. 19.The Chairman advised members that in order that Bills Committees could make use of the weekend of 14 June to meet and complete their work, the House Committee would meet on 15 June instead of 14 June to allow the Bills Committees to report back to the House Committee before the Bills resumed second reading debates at the Council meeting on 21 June.

  5. Provisional meeting dates of the Council for the period from July to September 1997

  6. 20.The Chairman invited members to note the schedule of the provisional meeting dates of the Council tabled at the meeting and alerted members that the President might call additional meetings if there was such a need. He also drew members' attention to certain subsidiary legislation which would be presented to the Council in July. The subsidiary legislation might require detailed examination.

    (Post meeting note: The schedule was issued to all Members after the meeting vide PLC Paper No. 329/96-97.)

  7. Social functions on 14 and 21 June 1997

  8. 21.The Chairman asked members to reserve time for social functions on 14 and 21 June 1997, the preliminary arrangements for which were as follows:

    Luncheon on 14 June (Saturday)

    The President and all Members would invite the relevant units of the Shenzhen authorities to a luncheon in the Shenzhen Bay Hotel to thank them for their logistical support and assistance to the PLC.

    Dinner on 14 June (Saturday)

    1. The Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town Economic Development Company would invite the President and all Members to visit the "Window of the World" and the "China Folk Culture Villages' and to have a dinner there;

    2. The President and all Members would take this opportunity to invite members of the press to join this evening gathering and have a dinner there;

    3. Members might bring along their family members to this social function.

    Dinner on 21 June (Saturday)

    The relevant units of the Shenzhen authorities would invite the President and all Members to a dinner. Members would be informed of further details of the functions in due course.

    22. The meeting ended at 11:45 a.m.

    Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
    2 June 1997