Social security for all Hong Kong residents is for the greater good

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 December, 2013, 3:31am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 December, 2013, 3:31am

Finally Hong Kong's top court proves that there is one bastion of hope left in this city ("Judges dismiss the seven-year rule on welfare", December 18).

The one reputable body of a judicial nature left in this territory has scored a victory for all the people of Hong Kong and those who cherish Hong Kong's one major advantage over its motherland: the legitimacy of the rule of law and its legal system.

The Court of Final Appeal has rightly ruled on the fact that residents, and not just permanent residents or those who have been here for an arbitrary seven years, can take advantage of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance benefits.

The public will probably view the decision of the court in a negative way. Hongkongers will claim that the ruling allowing all "residents" of Hong Kong the right to social assistance is unfair, and that it will only mean further immigration by any means necessary of mainland Chinese to the SAR to take advantage of it.

Hong Kong permanent residents living here will claim that this is their money and that so-called outsiders should not be allowed to take advantage of it.

What I would say to these people is that their issue is with the immigration policies of the government.

Don't knock a law that has been in place since the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR following the handover; knock the reason that people could potentially exploit it.

If the general will is not to allow people the freedom to migrate to this territory, then that should be limited. But be warned, while the major advantage Hong Kong has over the mainland is its legal autonomy and legitimacy, open and easy immigration is a secondary advantage.

Some of the most successful societies of the world afford their residents, not just citizens, the right to social assistance when required.

It is for the greater good. Yes, there are always problems with any system, but at the end of the day why take the right to claim assistance away from someone when there is a real need?

Hong Kong is not exactly broke, and not in a social assistance crisis. I hope that this ruling does not cause one among the collective consciousness of the people.

Chris Haalboom, Sheung Wan