Carrie Lam

Commission on Poverty unveiled with call for concrete action

Revived commission unveiled with calls for far-reaching action, not just more reports

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 4:33pm

Fresh, proactive and far-reaching policies are required if Hong Kong wants to battle poverty, members of the reinstated Commission on Poverty say.

"The government needs to look further and wider, deal with the root problems and not just cover up the issue," Stephen Fisher, director-general of Oxfam Hong Kong and former director of social welfare, said after his appointment yesterday.

"Hong Kong doesn't need another financial report on how to use money just to minimise the effects of poverty," he said.

The commission has four officials and 18 members from social welfare, business, academia, education and training - including a billionaire property tycoon.

Seven of the non-government members were part of the former commission, which was was dismantled in 2007. The tycoon is Henry Cheng Kar-shun, son of property mogul Cheng Yu-tung and chairman of New World Development.

Also included are social welfare figures Rosanna Wong Yick-ming, director of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, and Ho Hei-wah, director of the Society for Community Organisation

Veteran journalist and director of news and public affairs for Commercial Radio May Chan Suk-mei was also appointed.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the commission's chairwoman, said it would handle both policy-making as well as practical and immediate poverty-alleviation efforts.

The commission has the task of establishing Hong Kong's first internationally recognised poverty line and reviewing welfare policies.

Another member, lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee said the commission should focus on new policies, like a pension plan and developing more types of jobs.

Amy Chan Lim-chee, former professional athlete turned educator, said she hoped to work on expanding the jobs available for young people.

"It doesn't have to be finance and banking," she said. "We need to give our young people hope, let them know there are choices."

The commission will also be in charge of the Community Care Fund and a new HK$500 million Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund.

It will tackle social security and retirement protection plans, education and employment, as well as developing social enterprises. The members, appointed for two years, will have their first meeting next month.