Businesses urged to join poverty commission
Commission’s first meeting calls for more involvement but fails to draw a poverty line
Members of the Commission on Poverty have called for business to be more involved in its work to, as one put it, help "teach people how to fish".
The view was expressed at the commission's first meeting yesterday, which did not draw a new poverty line.
"We should teach people how to fish but not just feed them with fish," businessman and legislator Michael Tien Puk-sun said in a reference to the anti-handout saying, "give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you feed him for life".
Tien, a member of the New People's Party, also called on commerce minister Greg So Kam-leung to join the 23-strong commission.
"The formulation of an anti-poverty policy should include participation from the business sector, so the secretary for commerce and economic development should sit in the commission," Tien said. He also suggested the body's societal engagement task force be renamed to include the term "business".
Philemon Choi Yuen-wan, vice-chairman of the education, employment and training task force, said he would like each of the six task forces to include business professionals. "Businesses can provide more job training opportunities for the needy."
But Society for Community Organisation director Ho Hei-wah, a commission member, said he did not see the need to have members of the business elite in each task force and proposed the societal engagement task force be responsible for co-ordinating participation of business sector.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the commission chairwoman, said after the two-hour discussion that a new poverty line had not been set.
Another member Frederick Fung Kin-kee said the social security and retirement protection task force would study how to draw the poverty line, with Ho adding that there was no timetable for the job.
At the start of the meeting, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said that the commission would define the poverty line and expressed confidence that it could live up to people's expectations.
Earlier at a meeting of the Legislative Council's welfare services panel, the government revealed that an interdepartmental task force would be set up to study the chief executive's election pledge to extend the monthly disability allowance to those with one limb were disabled.
Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare Annie Tam Kam-lan said the task force would report to the Poverty Commission's social security and retirement protection task force from time to time.