LCQ18: Replies of the government officials to the questions of the LegCo Members

     Following is a question by the Hon Paul Tse and a written reply by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (July 11):


     The tourism sector and some members of the public have repeatedly relayed to me their disappointment at the irrelevant and hasty replies of the government officials to the questions of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Members.  For instance, I once raised a question to query the Civil Aviation Department's justifications for approving the implementation of zero commission paid to travel agents by airlines in respect of air tickets sold and the method used for calculating passenger fuel surcharges of airlines, and the reply made by the Transport and Housing Bureau was regarded as irrelevant by the tourism sector and some tourists.  Moreover, the Government has not given any concrete reply to my question which requested that the tourism facilities in Lei Yue Mun be enhanced and more tourism facilities be expeditiously constructed there to complement the commissioning of the cruise terminal next year.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) what mechanism is in place to ensure that the various policy bureaux will reply earnestly to the questions of LegCo Members in the future after the restructuring of the new Government and that their replies will not be irrelevant;

(b) whether it has assessed if the inadequate replies to LegCo Members' questions previously made by various policy bureaux on many occasions have or will have any adverse impact on the interaction and relation between the executive authorities and the legislature; if it has, of the assessment results; if not, the reason for that; whether it can conduct such an assessment expeditiously with the restructuring of the new Government and prorogation of LegCo; and

(c) whether in the past four years it had conducted any consultation or review of LegCo Members' satisfaction level towards the Government's replies to their questions and striven to raise the quality of the replies and ensured their relevance; if it had, of the results; if not, the reasons for that; of the policies and measures which the governing team of the new Chief Executive will adopt to avoid recurrences of the aforesaid situation?



     My consolidated reply to the questions raised by the Hon Paul Tse is as follows:

     The Chief Executive attaches great importance to the relationship between the legislature and the executive.  In his speech at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Fourth Term Government, he made it clear that the relationship between the legislature and the executive is an integral part of governance, and hoped that his Government would strengthen communication and co-operation with the Legislative Council (LegCo).

     We respect the role of LegCo in monitoring the work of the Government and will actively coordinate with LegCo Members to facilitate them in performing this role.  As regards Members' questions put to the Administration, we will strive to address Members' concerns raised therein by explaining our policies and furnishing Members with the information required.  If the public officer concerned cannot provide the information requested, he/she will explain in the reply the reasons for not being able to do so.  For example, the question seeks a large amount of information or historic information which cannot be provided given the time constraint.

     There is a time limit for public officers to reply to questions raised at Council meetings.  If Members wish to explore the relevant matters further, they may request the Administration to provide supplementary information in writing, and may also follow up and discuss the matters at meetings of relevant panels and subcommittees.  Members may also contact policy bureaux direct anytime to further discuss points of details of their questions and related policies.  As such, we consider that there are sufficient channels to ensure that policy bureaux will earnestly and seriously reply to Members' questions.

Ends/Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:50