LC Paper No. FC13 /98-99

Ref : CB1/F/1/2

Finance Committee of the Legislative Council

Minutes of the second meeting
held at the Legislative Council Chamber
on Friday, 10 July 1998, at 2:30 pm

Members present :

Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP (Chairman)
Hon CHAN Kam-lam (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon HUI Cheung-ching
Hon CHAN Kwok-keung
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Bernard CHAN
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Members absent :

Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
Hon Martin LEE Chu-ming, SC, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Margaret NG
Hon Christine LOH
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon LAU Chin-shek, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP

Clerk in attendance :

Ms Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Staff in attendance :

Mr Jimmy Y T MA
Legal Adviser

Mrs Vivian KAM
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)5

Miss Polly YEUNG
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)3

Ms Anita SIT
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)8

Ms Sarah YUEN
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)4

Item No. 1 - FCR (98-99)14


The Deputy Chairman presented the paper which sought members' approval for the adoption of the Finance Committee (FC) Procedure as set out in the Enclosure to the discussion paper.

2. The Chairman drew members' attention to paragraph 45 of the FC Procedure which stipulated inter alia that the Committee made decisions on all matters by a majority of the members present and voting. He pointed out that pursuant to the said paragraph, the "majority vote" in the context of the FC would mean the majority of those voting in favour of as compared to those voting against. Abstentions would be disregarded in this case. This voting method would differ from that currently provided for Council meetings in the Rules of Procedure. In the case of Council meetings, the majority vote of the members present meant that the total number of votes in favour of the motion had a majority over the remainder which included those voting in abstention. Since the Estimates, as contained in the Appropriation Bill, were voted on in Council and financial proposals before the FC were variations to the approved Estimates, the Chairman sought members' views on whether the FC should adopt a different and apparently less stringent voting procedure in approving the financial proposals.

3. A few members shared the Chairman's concerns about the need for consistency in the voting methods of the Council and the FC. Arising from the Department of Justice's opinion about the Council's voting procedure which they considered to be incompatible with the Basic Law, these members were concerned about the possible adverse implications caused by the existence of two different sets of voting procedures. Some members however considered that the Department of Justice's opinion should not have a bearing on the FC Procedure and members should focus on the circumstances of the FC in determining its procedure.

4. In response to some members' enquiry about the applicability of the voting requirements specified in Annex II of the Basic Law, the Legal Adviser advised that the said requirements would only apply to Council meetings but not other committees of the Council. Under the Rules of Procedure, the FC was at liberty to determine its own practice and procedure. He nevertheless pointed out that if members adopted a set of procedures which incorporated the voting requirements in Annex II of the Basic Law, members might need to consider its implications on the procedures of other committees of the Council, as well as the quorum requirements of the FC having regard to the need for a majority vote from both Group I and Group II Members for Members' motions as specified in the Annex.

5. A member shared the view that Annex II of the Basic Law provided for certain special voting arrangements which were not necessarily applicable in other circumstances. Referring to Rule 71 of the Rules of Procedure, some members considered that the FC should determine its own procedure and they saw no need for aligning the voting procedure of the FC with that of the Council. They stressed that the FC should, as far as practicable, adopt the established voting procedure which had served previous legislatures well. In order to ensure the smooth conduct of FC proceedings, members in general were not in favour of introducing drastic changes to the established voting procedure and supported the voting method set out in paragraph 45 of the FC Procedure.

6. Members noted and agreed to a newly added provision in paragraph 22 of the FC Procedure which would enable a motion from any member of the Committee to be included as an agenda item.

7. The Committee noted the following typographical corrections to the FC Procedure: -

  1. reference to "Rule 68" in paragraph 1(a) should be replaced by "Rule 67" ; and

  2. the expression in paragraph 7 of the Chinese version should be replaced by wherever it appeared.

8. The Chairman put the motion on the adoption of the FC Procedure to the vote. The FC Procedure was approved with effect from 10 July 1998.

Item No. 2 - FCR(98-99)15


9. The Deputy Chairman presented the paper which sought members' approval to -

  1. set up the Establishment Subcommittee (ESC) and the Public Works Subcommittee (PWSC) under the FC;

  2. adopt the procedures of the ESC and the PWSC as set out in Enclosures 1 and 2 of the discussion paper; and

  3. set the deadline for signification of membership of the ESC and PWSC at 11 July 1998.

10. The Chairman put the motion to the vote. Members approved the setting up of the ESC and PWSC under the FC with effect from 10 July 1998. The procedures for ESC and PWSC were adopted. Members also agreed to the proposed deadline of 11 July 1998 for signification of membership.

11. The Committee was adjourned at 3:15 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
24 July 1998