LC Paper No. CB(1)1527/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref: CB1/PL/ES/1

Legislative Council Joint Panel Meeting
Panel on Economic Services,
Panel on Home Affairs,
Panel on Planning, Lands and Works and
Panel on Public Service

Minutes of meeting held on
Wednesday, 14 April 1999, at 4:30 pm
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :

Panel on Economic Services

Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP (Chairman of joint meeting)
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
* # Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
# Hon MA Fung-kwok
@ Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
# Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon HUI Cheung-ching
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
* Hon WONG Yung-kan
@ Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
* # Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo

Panel on Home Affairs

Hon CHOY So-yuk
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP

Panel on Planning, Lands and Works

# Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP

Panel on Public Service

* Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
# Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming, JP
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP

Member attending :

Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, JP

Members absent :

Panel on Economic Services

Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Martin LEE Chu-ming, SC, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
# Hon Christine LOH
Hon Bernard CHAN
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon LAU Chin-shek, JP
Hon FUNG Chi-kin

Panel on Home Affairs

Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
* Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
@ Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
* Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Dr Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP

Panel on Planning, Lands and Works

Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LAU Kong-wah

Panel on Public Service

Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon CHAN Kwok-keung

Public officers attending :

For Agenda Item II

Economic Services Bureau

Mr Stephen IP, JP
Secretary for Economic Services

Mr Arthur HO
Deputy Secretary for Economic Services

Mr Howard LEE
Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services
(New Airport)

Civil Aviation Department

Mr Alex AU
Acting Director of Civil Aviation

Home Affairs Bureau

Mr David TSUI
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs

Mr Parrish NG
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs

Works Bureau

Mr Danny MOK Yick Fan
Government Engineer (Infrastructure Co-ordination Office)

Civil Service Bureau

Mr D W Pescod
Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service

Attendance by invitation :

Airport Authority Hong Kong

Mr Billy LAM
Acting Chief Executive Officer

Mr Richard SIEGEL
Management & Operations Adviser

Clerk in attendance :

Ms Estella CHAN
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)4

Staff in attendance :

Miss Odelia LEUNG
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)1

Miss Salumi CHAN
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)5 (designate)

Mr Daniel HUI
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)5

Mr Matthew LOO
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)7

I. Election of Chairman

Members agreed that Mr James TIEN Pei-chun should preside over the election of Chairman of the joint meeting.

2. Mr James TIEN was nominated by Mr Edward HO Sing-tin and seconded by Mr CHAN Kam-lam to be the Chairman of the joint meeting. Mr TIEN accepted the nomination. There being no other nomination, Mr TIEN was announced Chairman of the joint meeting.

II. Follow-up on the recommendations of the three inquiry reports on the opening of the new airport
(LC Paper No. CB(1)1012/98-99 (04) - A checklist of recommendations of the three inquiry reports
LC Paper No. CB(1)1104/98-99 - Information paper provided by the Administration)

Airport Operation

3. Referring to paragraph 29 of the information paper provided by the Administration, Mr CHAN Kam-lam noted that further improvement work on the flight information display system (FIDS) would need to be carried out. He pointed out that FIDS was very important to the smooth operation of the airport and enquired about the progress in respect of the improvement work and whether there would be contingency plan in case that the FIDS could not function properly because of the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem or any other unexpected problems. In response, Mr Billy LAM, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Airport Authority (AA), advised that the AA Board recognized the importance of FIDS to the operation of the airport. A consultant had been appointed to examine the causes leading to problems of FIDS during the opening of the airport and to recommend measures to improve FIDS including an enhanced standby system as a contingency measure. The consultancy study had entered its final stage and the consultant had found that FIDS was a very complicated system interfacing with a number of external systems making it susceptible to external influences. The consultant was looking for ways to simplify the system in order to enhance its performance stability. Meanwhile the current focus of work was on Y2K compliance of the system. Relevant tests by the contractor of FIDS on Y2K compliance of the system was targetted to be completed in April 1999. Thereafter, AA's own experts would also conduct live tests on the system at night time when FIDS was not in operation. As regards contingency plans, the existing standby system for FIDS would need to be enhanced to make it an effective standby system. AA aimed to complete the enhancement work for the standby system in June 1999.

4. Mr Fred LI Wah-ming said that the computerised access control system of the new airport had not functioned properly since the opening and this had caused AA employing additional security guards manning the numerous entrance/exits, incurring huge expenses. He requested AA to provide written information on the amount of additional expenditure arising from the employment of security guards for this purpose since July 1998 and the expected time for restoring the access control system back to normal operation. He also enquired whether the contractor concerned would be liable for paying compensation to AA. Mr LAM advised that the malfunctioning of the access control system was mainly related to the software of the relevant computer system. As the functioning of the access control system was important to the security of the airport, security guards had to be deployed to man the entrance/exit where the system was not functioning properly. Nonetheless, the contractor concerned had been carrying out rectification work and the size of the problem was reducing. The additional security guards needed had been reduced to about one quarter of the number required during the opening of the airport. The contractor aimed to complete the rectification work by end of June 1999. AA would examine the case to require the contractor to compensate for the damage caused. The Secretary for Economic Services (SES) explained that the additional expenditure in employing security guards to man the entrance/exit was necessary to maintain airport security and should not be considered as a waste of public funds. As requested by Mr LI, Mr LAM agreed to provide further information in writing.AA

5. Replying to Mr Kenneth TING Woo-shou's question on AA's crisis management plan, Mr Richard SIEGEL advised that his team was reviewing the various operating procedures of the airport with a view to ensuring swift and effective responses to different crisis situations. Review on the first volume of the document covering aircraft emergency had been completed and sent to the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) for approval. His team was working on the second volume which covered airport security issues. He emphasized that these reviews were on-going work and would be conducted on a regular basis. As regards contingency plans, he advised that in addition to the existing building contingency plans, AA was working on a contingency plan for the Y2K issue which would be completed by June 1999. The contingency plans would be merged to form an integrated contingency plan. A fully co-ordinated test on the contingency plan would be carried out in September 1999.

6. Members expressed grave concern about AA's slow progress in carrying out rectification work to ensure that its computerized systems were Y2K compliant. They strongly urged AA to learn from lessons of the opening of the new airport in handling the Y2K issue. Mr LEE Wing-tat was of view that it was alarming that AA would start conducting Y2K compliant tests only in June 1999. Mr LAM explained that by June 1999, AA would have completed Y2K compliance tests in respect of more than 90% of its system. In fact, testing of different components of the various systems had been going on. He further advised that the tests were differentiated into simulated and live tests. While simulated tests could be conducted in the laboratory or in a controlled operating environment, live tests could only be conducted for a few hours after mid-night when the airport was not in operation. There would be large scale tests with interfacing with major systems in June 1999 to check on the Y2K compliance of these systems. As regards contingency plans for the Y2K problem, he advised that preparation of the contingency plans had started in December 1998. The plans covered major operations of the airport including the baggage handling system, FIDS, passenger handling, etc., and cargo handling involving operations interfaced with AA's business partners including the air cargo terminal operators and ramp handlers. The contingency plans would be completed in June 1999 and would be subsequently subject to testing and drilling to ensure that they could be implemented effectively if necessary.

7. Mr LEE Wing-tat pointed out that most of AA's computer systems were purchased in recent years and enquired whether the sales and purchase agreements for the systems had included a condition that the computerised systems supplied had to be Y2K compliant. He opined that if such a condition was not included, AA had to explain the reasons for the omission. Referring to paragraph 22 of the information paper provided by the Administration, he said that the information provided therein was inadequate to give members a full picture of AA's progress in respect of rectification work on the Y2K issue. He requested AA to provide further information listing all the major systems and indicating the progress made including the target date of completion of Y2K compliant testing on each of the system listed. In response, Mr LAM advised that although the contracts had not specified that the computerised systems supplied had to be Y2K compliant, the "fitness for purpose" clause in the contracts would require the suppliers concerned to supply Y2K compliant systems to AA. In exercising its right under the contract, AA had requested all the relevant suppliers to confirm in writing whether the systems were Y2K compliant, and if not, rectification work had to be taken to ensure compliance. Hitherto, suppliers had confirmed, and AA had tested to its satisfaction, that 43 of the existing 128 systems were Y2K compliant. Rectification work and testing on the remaining number of systems had entered their final stage and significant progress would be achieved in the coming two months. As regards detailed information on AA's progress in its Y2K rectification work, SES explained that as the information paper for the meeting had focussed on follow-up action on recommendations of the three inquiry reports, only a brief progress report was provided on AA's progress on the Y2K compliant exercise. A detailed information paper solely on the subject would be prepared for discussion at the meeting of the Panel on Economic Services scheduled for 26 April 1999. As requested by members, SES agreed that the information paper to be provided would also cover progress made by the Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (HACTL) on its Y2K compliant programme and that representatives of the company would be invited to attend the meeting on 26 April 1999. AA

8. Ms CHOY So-yuk said that according to a survey of air cargo shippers conducted by her office, more than 50% of the respondents considered that the quality of service of HACTL had deteriorated and more than 60% were of the view that HACTL's charges were too expensive. About 40% of the respondents had indicated that they would consider using air cargo terminals in Macau and the Mainland as an alternative. She opined that one way of lowering HACTL's charge was to introduce more competition in the market and in this regard, she enquired about the Administration's plan in opening up the market in air cargo terminal operation in Hong Kong. SES responded that HACTL was operating under the terms of a franchise agreement with AA. Any proposed market opening measures had to take into consideration the terms of the franchise agreement. He further advised that the amount of cargo handled by HACTL was on a rising trend and that AA had recently been working on an enhanced monitoring system with a view to achieving better quality of service rendered by HACTL. Mr LAM supplemented that AA had begun discussion with HACTL on an enhanced monitoring system on top of the provisions in the franchise agreement on the operation of the air cargo terminal. As regards quality of service, HACTL had been discussing with Hong Kong Association of Freight Forwarding Agents (HAFFA) and other users concerning the standard of services rendered and would keep AA informed of development on the subject.

9. In reply to Ms CHOY's question on problems relating to the permanent electricity supply system for HACTL, Mr LAM confirmed that some operational problems on the permanent electricity supply system for HACTL occurred in October 1998 but such problems had not affected the normal operation of HACTL. Meanwhile, AA was closely monitoring the development of the matter.

10. Noting that AA might incur a deficit in its first year of operation, Mr HUI Cheung-ching enquired whether AA had any plan to streamline its staffing structure and if so, the number and level of staff who would be affected. Mr LAM advised that the staffing structure of AA would be re-organized as the major function of the AA had shifted from planning and construction of the new airport to operation of the airport. AA would also take the opportunity to streamline its staffing structure to enhance operational efficiency. A consultant had been engaged to study the staffing requirement of AA and the findings of the consultant were being awaited. As regards AA's financial position, he explained that the three major categories of AA's expenses were day-to-day operating expenses including staffing costs and supplies, payments to the Government for air traffic control services, airside fire and rescue service and meteorological service and depreciation of capital costs. As construction of the airport involved a very huge capital outlay, the amount of annual depreciation was substantial. AA had to exercise stringent control in daily operating expenses in order to be able to achieve a balanced budget. As such, streamlining of staffing and organization structure was unavoidable. AA would examine the consultant's report due in June 1999 before reaching a firm decision.

11. Ms CHOY So-yuk opined that AA should also look for additional revenue in parallel with cost saving measures in order to achieve a balanced budget. She wondered whether AA had considered strengthening marine transportation link for cargoes to and from the airport with a view to attracting more cargo business. SES agreed that it was important to increase AA's revenue base and that providing sites on the airport for the development of logistic centres would be one of the means to increase revenue. Mr LAM supplemented that AA recognized that strengthening marine transportation link through the usage of existing pier facilities for cargoes to and from the airport would help relieve pressure on road transportation and increase cargo turnover. In fact AA had received a proposal in this regard and would conduct a public tender exercise on the proposal to see if there was any interest from the private sector in taking the proposal further.

12. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum enquired whether AA would consider providing trolleys for use by departing passengers after passing through the immigration counters, the provision of which was quite common in overseas airports. Mr LAM replied that AA had received similar enquiries before. As metallic barriers would need to be installed in areas where trolley were allowed in order to protect the glass panels, and the carpets might also need to be replaced to facilitate movement of the trolleys, substantial expenditure would be incurred. There would also be other practical difficulties that needed to be resolved. In view of the difficult financial position, implementation of the proposal was unlikely for the current year. He undertook to keep the proposal under review.AA

13. Mr TAM Yiu-chung said that there were serious delays for many arrival and departure flights during the Easter Holiday on 2 April 1999. He considered that such delays would present a negative image of the airport and enquired about reasons for the delays and whether such delays could be avoided with the opening of the second runway. The Direct of Civil Aviation (Acting) (DCA(Atg)) confirmed that oil leakage from an aircraft of China Airlines on the runway at about 5:10 pm on 2 April 1999 had led to closure of the runway for 40 minutes causing delays to arrival and departure flights. He supplemented that the problem was aggravated because there were 120 additional flights on that day. He advised that similar hiccups would not arise in future as final testing on the equipment of the second runway would be completed before end April and the second runway could be used as an alternative under similar situation as a contingency measure in early May. SES said that the airport had handled about 117,000 passengers during one day in the Lunar New Year Holiday which was the highest record for Hong Kong. Moreover, the airport also handled more than 110,000 passengers for three days during the Easter Holidays. These records demonstrated that the airport was able to operate smoothly even with heavy passenger flows. Mr LAM supplemented that about 83% of the flights could depart or arrive within 15 minutes of scheduled time and this was very efficient by any international standard.

Reappointment of the Airport Authority Board Members

14. Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee opined that the airport had to provide quality service to its users on a commercially viable basis in order to be successful. In this regard, she urged that AA had to be proactive in conducting user surveys to gauge the needs of its users. She also enquired whether the Administration would take into account the new role of AA in considering new membership of the AA Board. She considered that the AA Board should maintain the existing level of Government representation and enquired about the criteria which would be used in assessing the suitability of a person for appointment/reappointment to the AA Board. Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo was of the view that paragraph 7 of the information paper had not set out the criteria for reappointment clearly. In response, SES agreed that the focus of AA had shifted to successful operation of the airport and that the Administration would take this into account in recommending new membership of the AA Board for the consideration of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (CE). In considering a candidate's suitability for reappointment, the Administration would consider the criteria mentioned in paragraph 7 of the information paper. Particular emphasis would be placed on the ability of the candidates, their past record of community service and their achievement and contribution in a particular field. The attendance record at meetings would also be taken into consideration. He stressed that the authority in appointing AA Board members was the prerogative of CE. Membership of the new AA Board would be announced before end of May 1999. On AA Board Members' attendance record, Mr LAM supplemented that the contribution of an AA Board member was not necessarily directly proportionate to the attendance of the member at Board meetings because a member might be heavily involved in meetings of a committee under the Board. Moreover the quality of advice provided by the member concerned was also an important consideration.

15. Referring to paragraph 26 of the information paper provided by the Administration in which AA undertook to be frank and forthcoming in its messsages to the public, Mr Andrew CHENG enquired about measures to enhance communication between AA and the public and whether AA Board would consider holding open meetings to enhance transparency. Mr LAM advised that AA had been actively communicating with airport users including passengers and tried to ascertain users' needs through user surveys. As regards opening up AA Board meetings for public observation, he said that this was a matter to be decided by the AA Board. He cautioned however that as AA had to operate under commercial principles, the Board had to consider the current practice of other statutory organizations of similar nature such as the Mass Transit Railway Corporation and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation before reaching a decision. SES recognized the need for AA to enhance its communication with the public, including users of the airport. In this regard, he noted that AA had established a number of committees for development of better communication with users, business partners, etc. He emphasized that there should be two-way communication between AA and the public.

16. Ms CHAN Yuen-han pointed out that the criteria for considering appointments and reappointments to governing bodies of executive authorities mentioned in paragraph 7 of the information paper were general criteria which had been adopted for many years. She wondered whether the Administration had learned from lessons of the opening of the airport and revised and improved upon the set of criteria used. In response, the Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs advised that in addition to the general criteria mentioned in the information paper, the Home Affairs Bureau was considering issuing administrative guidelines reminding Bureaux and Departments about particular issues that needed to be taken into account in considering appointments and reappointments to governing bodies of executive authorities. These administrative guidelines would be applicable to appointments to the AA Board as well as for other appointments.

17. Mr Kenneth TING enquired about measures taken to streamline the committee structure of AA to avoid duplication of functions. Mr LAM advised that as the major function of AA had shifted to operating the airport, some committees with terms of reference related to overseeing the construction of the airport had ceased to exist. Moreover, he would critically examine the terms of reference of the committees in order to avoid duplication of functions and rationalize the committees structure.

Guidelines for the Development of Major Infrastructure Projects

18. Noting that the Administration was preparing draft Guidelines for the Development of Major Infrastructure Projects, Mr Ambrose CHEUNG enquired about the time-table for implementation of the Guidelines and whether Legislative Council Members would be consulted before the Guidelines were finalised. He also enquired about the Bureau/Department which would be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Guidelines and application of sanction for failure in observing the procedures mentioned in the Guidelines. The Government Engineer/Infrastructure Co-ordination Office (GE/ICO) replied that the draft Guidelines had been circulated among relevant Bureaux and Departments for comments a few times and would be finalized very soon. The intention was to implement the Guidelines by end of April 1999. The Guidelines would be administrative guidelines for Bureaux and Departments to follow in implementing major infrastructure projects and there was a built-in check and balance mechanism. As a normal practice, administrative guidelines for internal use would not contain penalty provisions.

19. As regards consultation with LegCo members, SES said that the Works Bureau would consider members' request for prior consultation with Members before finalizing the draft Guidelines.Admin

20. Referring to the section on "Check and Balance" on page 2 of the Brief Description of the Key Elements in the Draft Guidelines, Ms Emily LAU said that the section was unclear in respect of the different functions and roles of the project management office (PMO) and the works agent. She enquired whether the envisaged working relationship between PMO and the works agent would be different from that between the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office (NAPCO) and AA. She also wondered whether this proposal would lead to a huge expansion in the civil service as PMO might require a lot of resources to be able to exercise overall programme management and control, thereby duplicating some of the function of the works agent. GE/ICO confirmed that the role of PMO would be quite different from that of NAPCO in that PMO would be given bigger authority in obtaining data from the works agent for monitoring purpose. Being responsible for overall management and control of the project at a macro-level, PMO would become a central point of monitoring and control with sufficient authority over scope, schedule and budgetary control, whereas the works agent would be responsible for actual project management work. There would not be duplication of work and the resources requirement would depend on project size, but should not be very substantial.

21. Ms Emily LAU noted that the "Use of an Auditor" section of the Brief Description of the Key Element in the Draft Guidelines mentioned that "A separate auditor can be drawn from within the organization or from outside to carry out additional auditing of the project." She opined that in this regard, an auditor from outside would better serve the purpose of check and balance. GE/ICO noted Ms LAU's comments. He supplemented that a separate auditor drawn from within the organization would also be appropriate if the auditor and the works agent did not have a supervisor-and-subordinate relationship.

22. Mr Edward HO Sing-tin enquired that in the light of the lessons learnt from the opening of the new airport, whether AA had made comprehensive risk assessment and contingency planning for the opening of the second runway and the construction of the extension to the passenger terminal building of the airport. He was also concerned about the current staffing situation in the Information Technology Division of AA with the termination of the contract of Mr CHATTERJEE, former head of the Division. Mr LAM advised that having learnt from lessons of the opening of the new airport, AA would certainly make comprehensive risk assessment and contingency planning for the opening of the second runway and the extension of the passenger terminal building. AA would ensure full co-ordination with all parties concerned, in particular the end users, before opening of the facilities. In addition, all relevant systems would be fully tested before putting to live operation. As regards staffing of AA's Information Technology Division, he advised that a new Head of the Division had reported duty and that AA had also appointed a consultant to advise on its Y2K compliance programme.

Aircraft Noise

23. Referring to paragraph 12 of the information paper provided by the Administration, Mr LEE Wing-tat said that he was disappointed that CAD continued to use noise exposure forecast (NEF) 25 as a target level in reducing aircraft noise, despite the Select Committee's recommendation that the best practice noise reduction level should be adopted as the target. He requested the Administration to provide detailed written information on measures taken by CAD in lowering the aircraft noise level to below the NEF 25 level. He noticed that recently there were flights after mid-night and enquired whether the airport had started 24-hour operation. He opined that the Administration had to inform/consult the public before the airport actually started to operate on a 24-hour basis. He requested the Administration to provide further information on its implementation plan regarding the 24-hour operation of the airport. DCA(Atg) replied that the NEF 25 standard was used because it was an internationally accepted standard. CAD was aware of the Select Committee's view on adopting a best practice approach in reducing aircraft noise and had already adopted various mitigating measures to reduce aircraft noise since September/October 1998. The two specialist advisers employed by the Select Committee had confirmed that these measures had been effective and in accordance with international best practice. Specifically, CAD had tried to arrange aircraft operating during small hours to approach the airport from the south-west direction as far as possible so as to avoid overflying residential areas. CAD and the airlines were also jointly examining whether certain changes to the taking-off procedures for aircraft would help reduce noise. As regards flights after mid-night, he said that the new airport was already operating 24 hours a day. However, there was no indication of increasing trend on after-mid-night flights. SES and DCA(Atg) agreed to provide further information as requested by Mr LEE. Admin

Personal Responsibility of Individual Civil Servants

24. Referring to the conclusions of the Select Committee in respect of responsibilities of individual civil servants involved in the issue, Ms Emily LAU emphasised that the Select Committee had studied a lot of documents before coming to the conclusions, and it was very disappointing that the Administration responded to the relevant conclusions in such a broad-brush manner as in paragraph 9 of the information paper. She enquired whether the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) and CE had studied the documents and the different conclusions reached by the Select Committee. In response, the Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service (DS/CS) said that the Administration was not undermining the authority of the Legislative Council. He advised that CE had reviewed the inquiry reports, the information leading to the conclusions in those reports and the CSB's comments on individual officers' performance in the incident. Weighing all the information involved, the CE was of the view that the officers could not be accused of misconduct and there was no prima facie evidence to support disciplinary action. On that basis, CE had come to the conclusion on his own assessment that the officers had acted in good faith and with due diligence and there was no case for disciplinary action.

25. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG pointed out that whilst the Administration had indicated in the information paper that there was no prima facie evidence to conclude misconduct by the officers concerned, it had not been clearly set out in the information paper that there was no prima facie evidence to support the allegations of negligence and dereliction of duties. He enquired whether the Administration was of the view that the officers concerned could be charged for negligence and dereliction of duties but that displinary actions were not taken only because the officers concerned had acted in good faith and performed their duties with due diligence. DS/CS advised that the fact that there was no prima facie evidence to support disciplinary action covered the Administration's response to all the allegations against the officers concerned. Since there was no prima facie case to support disciplinary action, there was no evidence to substantiate the allegation of negligence or dereliction of duties. He also advised that due diligence and having acted in good faith on the part of a civil servant would be sufficient ground to remove doubt of negligence or dereliction of duties. Mr CHEUNG maintained his view that even though a civil servant had exercised due diligence and acted in good faith, the officer could still be negligent or had exercised bad judgement in making decisions.

The way forward

26. Members agreed that the Chairman should make a verbal report on the outcome of this meeting at the House Committee meeting on 16 April 1999 and let Members decide on the way to pursue the outstanding issues arising from this meeting.

(Post-meeting note : At the House Committee meeting held on 16 April 1999, Members agreed to form a Subcommittee under the Economic Services Panel to follow up the recommendations of the three inquiry reports on the opening of the new airport. The decision to form the Subcommittee was confirmed by the Economic Services Panel on 26 April 1999. The first meeting of the Subcommittee was held on 11 May 1999.)

III Any other business

27. There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6:45 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
16 June 1999

# also a member of the Panel on Home Affairs

* also a member of the Panel on Planning Lands and Works

@ also a member of the Panel on Public Service