With radical lawmakers mounting a filibuster of the budget bill to press the case for a universal pension scheme, government ministers yesterday said the public would be consulted soon on a retirement protection scheme.
A public consultation was "inevitable" once a government study of options was completed early next year, the treasury and welfare ministers said.
People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip, a driving force behind the filibuster, which is holding up passage of the bill, welcomed their message.
Writing on his official blog, labour and welfare chief Matthew Cheung Kin-chung reiterated that a task force under the Poverty Commission, headed by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, was studying retirement protection.
Cheung, the task force's deputy chairman, indicated a public consultation might come as early as next year. "The study will finish by early , and it will provide the foundation for an in-depth, rational and comprehensive discussion in society on the issue, and for a consensus to be reached."
Speaking on Commercial Radio, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Professor Chan Ka-keung said a consultation was inevitable.
"For any important policy, and for things the people and the legislature have demanded, the government will not ignore the matter … we need to discuss them," Chan said. "The government cannot do [its job] alone; we need to discuss with the people the different proposals."
Albert Chan and three other lawmakers vowed to continue filibustering after saying a meeting on Friday with the financial secretary "failed to meet their demand" for a consultation on pensions or a cash handout.