Refusal to act 'could result in violence'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 October, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 October, 1998, 12:00am

Violence may break out if the Government fails to come up with concrete measures to help the economy, a pressure group has warned.

The Hong Kong Policy Viewers fears that a sense of anxiety will spread in the community and eventually threaten government legitimacy.

A survey released by the group yesterday showed about half of people believing the economy will worsen and two-thirds predicting more joblessness in the coming year.

Only 14 per cent of people interviewed believed the economy would improve, while 33 per cent said the economic downturn would continue in the coming year.

The concern group interviewed 539 people last week and found 49 per cent believed the economic situation would deteriorate in the coming year.

Sixty-five per cent also predicted a higher jobless rate.

Twenty per cent thought unemployment would remain as serious as it is now and only 12 per cent believed unemployment would ease.

Social worker and vice-chairman of the group Wallace Shiu Ka-chun said he was worried by the vicious circle.

'With a poor economy and a high jobless rate, people will be scared away from spending. Poor consumption will only worsen our economy,' he said.

Findings showed 54 per cent believed prices would fall next year but 55 per cent said so would their consumption.

More than 67 per cent also feared they or their family members would be sacked or have salaries slashed.

Ninety-two per cent said firms should not cut salaries if they earn profits, and 64 per cent said employers should lower their profits if necessary.

Chairman Wong Cheong-wing said: 'The Government should not keep saying the poor economy is because of external factors. It should come up with long-term measures to stimulate the economy.

'If unstable feeling spreads in the community, the Government's legitimacy could be threatened and result in crisis.'