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  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 4:05am
NewsHong Kong

Lack of trust in Hong Kong government 'hampers poverty fight'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 August, 2013, 10:30am

A lack of public trust in Leung Chun-ying's administration may hamper efforts to fight poverty, says the outgoing head of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.

Christine Fang Meng-sang said Hong Kong had the resources to alleviate poverty, but she was worried about how society could reach consensus in the current environment.

It is the lack of trust and solidarity in the government which is our big concern. Poverty is an issue which we need to harness in solidarity
Christine Fang Meng-sang

"It is the lack of trust and solidarity in the government which is our big concern," said Fang in a discussion with the South China Morning Post, which was also attended by her designated successor, Chua Hoi-wai. "Poverty is an issue which we need to harness in solidarity."

About 1.2 million Hongkongers live in poverty, and their situation is worsening as the income gap widens.

The government has faced a number of scandals recently and critics have accused the chief executive of making provocative speeches that have increasingly divided society.

At a meet-the-people event earlier this month, Leung said former executive councillors Franklin Lam Fan-keung and Barry Cheung Chun-yuen deserved apologies from those who reported them to the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Lam was accused of using insider information, while Cheung was accused of borrowing money from a developer while he was head of the Urban Renewal Authority. The ICAC found that the allegations were unsubstantiated.

Leung also told the meeting that he had ordered the Education Bureau to prepare a report on teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze, who was filmed swearing at police over their handling of a dispute.

The administration has also struggled to push ahead with recent policies and funding applications, including a failed landfill extension plan and delays to the implementation of an old age living allowance.

Yet Fang said she still had hopes that Leung would tackle poverty. "We need the political will," she said. "If the government is poor we have to find other ways to solve the problem, but we have money. We have expectations with Leung coming in and the establishment of the Commission on Poverty."

Fang compared Hong Kong with how Singapore tackled poverty through its Central Provident Fund.

"If you look at the Central Provident Fund, [the government] takes a strong hand in investing the fund and people rest assured: no matter how much cash we pay in, we get the security ... [it is] trust and solidarity."

Fang also said there had been progress compared with what the previous administration had achieved. "When [former chief executive] Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was here, we think political will was a big obstacle because he didn't really think poverty was a problem. He thought when the economy went up poverty would get better, but it did not turn out that way."

Chua said an official definition of poverty - likely to cover households living on less than half the city's median income - would be announced at a poverty summit on September 28.

"It is only a proxy to understand the poverty problem. We need to take many other indicators, such as conducting deprivation studies, to help families in real need," Chua told the South China Morning Post.



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This article is now closed to comments

It always pains me deeply whenever I see elderly people rummaging through bins to find extra paper scraps forgoing welfare because they wish to survive with their "hard work and two hands."
Then on the other end of the spectrum, you've got government officials like Paul Chan and many like him who believes that their income is well deserved and even go as far as to abuse their position when they are suppose to serve the public.
It is sad that as a citizen, the best you could do sometimes is help some elderly you past on the street by picking up things they may drop or just help them push their enormously heavy carts out of the way of traffic. Makes me worry if my grandmother had to do this, if anyone will help.
Silly enough, most ministers are financially independent already, if I was in their position, I would openly donate all the income I receive back into the community while challenging others to do so, if you're really serving and trying to improve Hong Kong, you should have no hesitation with agreeing with that, sadly, most politicians will think about their pockets and their face (even going as far as to blame their wives in many repeating cases) before thinking about the lives of people in need.
Very sorry for SAR
Is this was our SAR. Till 1997?
Corruption and cruelty is on high rise in SAR departments
We have Rafael ****, the convicted Mak Chai-kwong and Paul CHAN who is widely perceived to be embroiled in 'conflict of interest' doubts in senior Government ranks. They have either abused their positions or have misused taxpayers' money for their own benefits. All this when hundreds of thousands are suffering in poverty. The perks given to many incompetent senior officials would easily have fed many poor families and given them decent shelters/accomodation to boot.
breaks my heart seeing the elderly being treated so cruelly here
this can be fixed so quickly if the will was there, selfish dogs
Another Social Critics...
Don't be Distracted...
Even this Administration is doing a lot of Social Welfare jobs, as Normal as most Countries worldwidely Should do...
Normal as It should Be as Paid-For as Governmental Officials...Right!!!???
Don't be Fooled...
If this Administraton is doing something Extras that are Against most Population, like ...
No Affordable Housing, Corruption as well as, Triad Involvement & Etc...
Adnormal as It shouldn't Be as Paid-For as Governmental Officials...Right!!!???
Lack of Trust...
That 'CY' & Its Related Group like Barry Cheung, Paul Chan, some DAB members, few still intending to got senior Positions in Returns like Chow Yung & Etc...
Intend to us Shortest Time to got Profiteering the Most from its Positions Remained...
Yet Don't know How Long can It Be...!!!???
IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL of 'CY' & Its Related Group...'Evil Nature'
Coming Administration will Do the Same, Without those 'Evil Nature' Acts...At Least!!!
Time to get rid of the perks given to these public servants. Why such perks are still in place? Such perks were the remnant of the colony era, and Hong Kong is not under colonial rule anymore.
Being poor in HK is bad. Being poor in mainland is much much worse.
the real meaning of the statement of CY Leung is to address the problem that some people use ICAC as their political tool.
does the reporter of this article miss this point deliberately or in fact because of poor cantonese listening ability?


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