• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 10:00am
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 4:05am

I'll say it again: payout for all elderly is lunacy

BIO

Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.
 

Public Eye has never wavered from speaking out for Hong Kong's needy.

Time and again we have mocked our overpaid bureaucrats for ignoring the obscene income disparity. We have asked how they can justify being the second-highest-paid in the world when so many Hongkongers live in poverty, the air is unfit to breathe, and homes are so unaffordable that people live in subdivided slum flats. But Public Eye will state again: it is idiocy for legislators to insist we hand out taxpayers' money to everyone aged 70 and above - poor or rich.

It's lunatic logic to argue that the only way to help the elderly poor is by putting HK$2,200 every month into the pockets of even seniors who don't need it. The legislators say rich seniors won't bother to collect. Wanna bet? Thousands of middle-class seniors would.

Let's be honest; how many of you can say, hand on heart, that you didn't claim last year's HK$6,000 government handout because you didn't need the money?

Public Eye has yet to hear a logical argument that to help the elderly poor we must give all senior residents money. The legislators are pushing this lunacy so as to buy popularity. But by politicising a straightforward plan to help the needy they are tying a huge mortgage round the necks of future generations that would end up paying out more billions as our population ages.

Our legislators need to understand that an old-age allowance of HK$2,200 is not a substitute for a universal pension plan. Fight for a pension plan by all means. Give the government hell for having done virtually nothing to help retirees. But don't use a blunt instrument that also gives money to those who don't need it.

 

Retirement funds an excuse for highway robbery

While our lamebrain legislators focus on buying popularity for themselves, our shameless bankers are robbing people's retirement savings.

The truth is out - not that we didn't already know it. The investment houses that handle the Mandatory Provident Fund charge much higher fees than anywhere else. Not only do they skim the people's savings through exorbitant fees, nearly half the investments they handle lost money in the past five years. Heads they win, tails the people lose.

Our government is too gutless to impose tougher rules. No wonder the rich are getting richer. Why aren't our legislators demanding we replace the MPF with a real pension plan? They're busy trying to give the people's money to rich guys.

 

It's tough living in a rich man's world

No, you didn't read it wrong. Super-rich Hong Kong has 1.15 million people living in poverty. Poor means a single person earning HK$3,500 a month or a family of four with a household income of HK$13,250. How can people survive on that?

Want to know how much our top officials make? One hundred times more than poor people. Why pay them such obscene salaries when they have done so little to reduce poverty? Maybe they are preoccupied with more pressing matters while they ride around in their chauffeured cars. It can be time-consuming keeping track of their properties and finding the best overseas schools for their children at taxpayers' expense.

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