The historical handover of Hong Kong took place smoothly and with
dignity on 1st July 1997. As expected, this momentous event had
attracted wide press coverage from all over the world. Nonetheless,
even the many suspicious prying eyes of the media have found the
turnout of the whole event hard to criticise.
Our Chief Executive lost no time to embark on his `Speak for Hong
Kong' mission. Although he might not have convinced everyone of
his visions for Hong Kong Mr. Tung was clearly accepted by all as
our undisputed political leader who is sincere with his intentions.
The signs about the restoration of normal trade relationship between
China and Britain are coming fast and clear. The old team of `warring'
diplomats from both sides are being entirely replaced; senior British
politicians e.g. the Lord Chancellor now openly admits that the
Provisional Legco (PLC) is a political reality; and recent press
reports suggested that the Chief Executive will be visiting London
in October and take the occasion to arrange for a 140 strong trade
delegation from China (lead by a top leader) on a visit to U.K.
in the spring of 1998.
|II. Committees and Panels
||Public Accounts Committee (PAC):
||I was re-elected chairman of the PAC unopposed in the PLC
and was warmly congratulated by the Chief Secretary in her most
positive response to the last report of the PAC in the PLC sitting
on 10 September 1997. She described the recommendations of PAC
under my chairmanship as fair, valuable and constructive.
||Financial Affairs Panel:
||The Panel held 2 meetings (Agenda attached as Appendix 1):
no significant item for HKSA.
||Welfare Services Panel:
||The Panel held 2 meetings: no significant item for HKSA.
||I have joined this panel in place of the Administration of
Justice and Legal Services Panel. Education is set to be a priority
issue for the new Administration. The Panel held 3 meetings:
no significant item for HKSA.
||Finance Committee and House Committee:
||There were 6 meetings of Finance Committee and 19 meetings
of House Committee.
||PLC was given a list of Bills (Appendix II) by the Administration
as the essential Bills to be passed by PLC. We understand that
all other legislation will be withheld until we have formed
the first elected Legislature of the HKSAR around mid 1998.
As the list indicates, the Securities and Futures Commission
(Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1996 has been withheld as non-essential
for the time being.
III. Bill Committees Joined
||Bills of last Legco:
||Most Bills passed as predicted in my last report to Council.
However, the Legal Services Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments)
Bill 1996 went through a stormy passage and every vote and every
public speech made could have tipped the fine balance. Given
the flexible stance of the Council, I had given some real support
to the lawyers which was much appreciated.
||Legislative Council Bill:
||This Bill confirms the intentions of the Preparatory Committee
and left the Accountancy Functional Constituency intact. With
a large number of other proposed amendments, the Bill is due
to be voted upon on the 27th September 1997.
IV. Motion Debates
List attached as Appendix III. Speeches on my web page and highlights
will be published in my circular to members.
V. General Political Background
The 15th NPC meeting, the World Bank meeting next week and the
maiden Policy Address by the Chief Executive will set the scene
for the coming few months.
The HKSAR has calmly sailed through a major currency crisis of
the `Asia Pacific region and another mini-upheaval in the Securities
market. It seems that little else will threw her off course for
a while. Domestic `bread and butter' issues, for a change, might
just return to the centre of Hong Kong's politics as the preparation
for the 1998 elections warm up amongst potential candidates and
the growing number of political parties all trying to find their
own distinctive political identities.