1.The first quarter of 1996 turns out to be very eventful
with Legco activities intertwined with Preparatory Committee's
(PC) work. In between, I have also fitted in a week-long
lobbying trip to London and the European Parliament on
the British Nationality Scheme, visa arrangements and
residency issues. There were also the important Budget
Debate and my first report to Legco as Chairman of the
Public Accounts Committee.
2.A more detailed report of my London / European trip
will appear in the March/April 1996 issue of the Hong
Kong Accountant under the Legco column, an advanced copy
is attached as Appendix I. A full copy of my Budget speech
will be issued to all members in the name of my Legco
office and its translation into English is underway. My
speech was very extensively quoted by all forms of the
II. Committees and Panels
1. Public Accounts Committee (PAC):
my first report as Chairman of PAC to Legco on 7 February
1996 and a supplementary report on 13 March 1996. It
was generally regarded as the single most substantial
PAC report in the history of Hong Kong which contained
at least two highly contentious issues on the Hospital
Authority and the UNHCR handling of the Vietnamese boat
people. The whole process of public hearing etc. attracted
intense media interests but the final report was generally
well received as true and fair by the parties concerned.
To complete the exercise, I have sponsored a motion
debate at the request of all PAC members on the access
of government information by the PAC to be held on 24
April 1996 and also present a major paper on behalf
of HK Legco to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
on 14 May 1996. The second Director of Audit report
will be received by me on 24 April 1996 and work will
commence straight afterwards.
2. Financial Affairs Panel:
The Panel had held another four meetings (agenda attached
as Appendix II) since the last report. The most significant
meeting to HKSA was the meeting on 5 February 1996 where
HKSA made a strong representation against the proposed
legislation on statutory protection for auditors. Lobbying
work will continue to stall the proposed legislation
until HKSA has time to devise a comprehensive response.
Another initiative is to create a forum for HKSA to
present its report on corporate governance. The panel
chairman has already met with HKSA informally and indicated
3. Administration of Justice and Legal Services Panel:
The proposed reorganisation of the two legal branches
: lawyers and barristers, has come to a stand off. The
Administration will consider the way forward.
4. Welfare Services Panel:
The panel has studied a report on the comprehensive
review of Hong Kong Comprehensive Social Security Assistance
(CSSA), the first of its kind in some 20 years since
the scheme commenced. I was also Chairman of the Social
Welfare Advisory Committee which undertook the review.
5. Finance Committee and House Committee:
No significant event. TD of HKSA being kept informed
on progress of all bills on a continuous basis.
III. Bills Committee Joined
1. Prevention of Bribery (Miscellaneous Provisions)
(No. 2) Bill 1995:
Since my last report, the Administration and Bills
Committee both agreed with me that IRD records need
to be better safeguarded. The latest position after
much deliberation is that the Administration has agreed
with most of my recommendations and to introduce Committee
Stage Amendments to specify in law the public interest
grounds on which ICAC can seek information from IRD
records; the ICAC will issue internal guidelines to
ensure that only the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner
can make such a request and that if information is sought
from an innocent third party, the Administration will
have to notify him and grant him a fair chance to contest
the matter in court. The Administration's response is
enclosed as Appendix III. The Bill drags on because
of other unresolved issues.
2. Sub Committee to study the Leveraged Foreign Exchange
Trading (Calls) Rules: completed.
3. Rehabilitation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill 1995:
4. Medical Registration (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995:
The Academy of Medicine and Medical Council still have
problems in resolving on a formula to accreditate medical
5. Inland Revenue (Amendment)(No. 3) Bill 1995:
HKSA submission on secrecy of tax information with respect
of Double Tax Agreements has very quickly been resolved.
The Administration will provide both the Committee Stage
Amendments agreed with HKSA and a policy assurance during
second reading debate which will be reflected on the
record in Hansard. Work completed.
6. Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 4) 1995:
The case of tax penalty for traffic control purpose
was strongly opposed by HKSA and others. The Committee
has held two meetings on 11 April 1996, the HKSA attended
the second meeting in which it made a strong representation.
I am actively lobbying to have this Bill voted down
in its entirety.
7. Evidence (Amendment) Bill 1996
HKSA will make submission. Bill on waiting list.
8.Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 1996
HKSA will make submission. Bill on waiting list.
IV. Motion Debates
List attached as Appendix IV. All my speeches will
be placed on Internet (http://www.ppn.com.hk/erickcli.html).
Main points will be highlighted in my upcoming circulars
Since my last report, I have asked another six written
questions on a variety of issues. The subject matters
of these questions are attached as Appendix V for reference.
More are in the queue.
VI. General Political Background
Since my last report, I was appointed a member of the
Preparatory Committee and as expected, the work of the
PC has galvanised the attention of the media, senior
civil servants, main political parties and politicians
alike. I have joined two sub-groups of the PC i.e. economy
and provisional legislature. As far as it affects the
HKSA, I have been keeping the President, Vice President
Tim Lui and our Registrar apprised of the situation
on the Selection Committee and generally. The next major
topics are likely to be the method of choosing the Chief
Executive, Provisional Legco and the civil servants
co-operation with the provisional legislature.