Following is a question by the Hon Chan Yuen-han and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, in the Legislative Council today (July 17):
At present, quite a number of Legislative Council (LegCo) Members are also serving as District Council (DC) members (Members with dual membership). However, as the meeting schedules of these two Councils frequently clash, such Members have often found it difficult to attend the meetings of both Councils. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the numbers of Members with dual membership in the current term and the past three terms of LegCo (set out in table 1);
(b) of the situations of Members with dual membership being absent from full meetings of the two Councils from October 1 last year to June 30 this year:
(i) of the highest number of times of absence from LegCo meetings among the LegCo Members returned by geographical constituencies (GCs), and the absence rate of the Member concerned;
(ii) of the highest number of times of absence from LegCo meetings among the LegCo Members returned by functional constituencies (FCs) and the absence rate of the Member concerned;
(iii) of the highest number of times of absence from DC meetings among the LegCo Members returned by GCs and the absence rate of the Member concerned; and
(iv) of the highest number of times of absence from DC meetings among the LegCo Members returned by FCs and the absence rate of the Member concerned;
(c) whether the authorities have conducted studies and surveys on the difficulties encountered by Members with dual membership when performing the duties of the two Councils, so as to understand their situations and collect their views; if they have, of the details; if not, whether they will expeditiously conduct such studies and surveys with a view to making improvements;
(d) given that currently LegCo Members returned by the two FCs of DC must be DC members and that the meeting schedules of LegCo and DC frequently clash, whether the authorities have assessed the impacts of such a situation on the operations of the two Councils; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(e) given that Members returned by the DC (Second) FC (commonly known as "super DC members") not only need to attend to both the businesses of LegCo and DC, but also need to serve over three million voters who do not have voting right in other FCs, whether the authorities will, in the long run, review the functions of, the difficulties faced by and the resources issues for Members of this FC, so as to provide more support for Members of this FC in future?
The Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is the legislature of the HKSAR. LegCo Members are returned by election in accordance with the Legislative Council Ordinance. The 18 District Councils (DCs) are important local consultative bodies and their composition is specified under the District Councils Ordinance. The LegCo and the 18 DCs have their respective unique functions and roles in the political structure of the HKSAR, it is inappropriate and unsuitable for the Administration as the executive branch to comment on the performance of the LegCo, the 18 DCs, or individual Members.
The Administration's reply to the five parts of the question is as follows:
(a) According to information provided by the Home Affairs Department (HAD), the numbers of LegCo Members who are/were also DC members in the current term and the past three terms of LegCo are set out in table 2.
(b) According to information provided by the LegCo Secretariat, from October 1 last year to June 30 this year (in total nine months), among the LegCo Members who are at the same time DC members, information regarding the Member who has the highest number of times of absence from LegCo meetings is set out in table 3.
According to information provided by the HAD, from October 1 last year to June 30 this year (in total nine months), among the DC members who are at the same time LegCo Members, information regarding the member who has the highest number of times of absence from DC meetings is set out in table 4.
(c) The Administration has not conducted and will not conduct studies or surveys described in part (c) of the question.
(d) The HAD has indicated that the 18 DCs in general do not hold their DC meetings on Wednesday. Therefore, the meeting schedules of LegCo and DC usually do not clash. Nevertheless, the LegCo and 18 DCs have full discretion to decide on their own matters, including the dates of meetings and other administrative arrangements, in accordance with the relevant legislation. The Administration will continue to respect the decisions and arrangements made by the LegCo and the 18 DCs in performing their duties.
(e) For the remuneration package of LegCo Members, the Administration Wing has advised that in reviewing the remuneration package for the Members of the Fifth Term LegCo, the Independent Commission on Remuneration for Members of the Executive Council and the Legislature, and Officials under the Political Appointment System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Independent Commission) has considered whether Members to be returned by the then newly established District Council (second) functional constituency (DC (second) FC) should be accorded a different arrangement. After considering the relevant factors carefully, the Independent Commission concluded that LegCo Members returned from geographical constituencies and functional constituencies (including those returned from the DC (second) FC) should be entitled to the same remuneration package on grounds that they are exercising the same constitutional powers and functions under the Basic Law.
Ends/Wednesday, July 17, 2013
LCQ8 Table 1
LCQ8 Table 2
LCQ8 Table 3
LCQ8 Table 4