• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 5:54pm
CY Leung policy address 2014
NewsHong Kong

Lam convinced Leung to shelve plan to scrap MPF 'offsetting' mechanism: source

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 3:23am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 January, 2014, 4:17pm

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor persuaded her boss to ditch a plan to abolish the mechanism allowing employers to offset severance pay against their contributions to employees' Mandatory Provident Fund accounts, according to a person familiar with the issue.

She urged Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to remove the proposal from his policy address, saying it would be "impracticable" because of the political pressure from big companies it would generate, the person said.

There had been widespread speculation that the move would be in the address, delivered last week, but Leung later said that had been a misunderstanding.

The source said Leung had wanted to abolish the offsetting mechanism but "Lam had a discussion with him … eventually the part was taken out from the final version of the address".

The apparent disagreement between the top duo once again pointed to tension at the highest levels of the government, highlighted last week by a public warning from finance minister John Tsang Chun-wah that Hong Kong could run out of money if its lavish spending continued. Tsang was speaking after Leung announced measures that would add HK$100 billion a year to recurrent expenditure.

No comment could be obtained from the Chief Executive's Office last night but a government source confirmed Lam had met Leung to discuss the issue before his policy address.

"They had a meeting specifically on the problem," the source said, but it "cannot be proved" that this was the decisive factor as business groups had also pressed Leung to ditch the plan.

"The business chambers asked to meet with Leung once they knew of his abolition plan … Leung's eagerness to include it in the address diminished after the meeting," the source said.

Under the system, employers can offset severance and long-service payments to employees against their contributions to an employee's MPF.

Labour minister Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said last week that the offsetting mechanism was included in a deal with employers, agreed to by employee representatives, to secure business leaders' agreement to establishing the MPF in 2003.

Treasury minister Professor Chan Ka-keung told the Legislative Council yesterday that the issue had to be examined "in a holistic and careful manner" because of its complexity and the competing interests in play.

Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said that if Lam really had convinced Leung to ditch the plan, it showed she was helping businesses to further her own political ambitions.



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This article is now closed to comments

LAM has made her position clear. Her family are in the UK, her kids were educated in the UK and its apparent she will head there once she has finished 'serving' Hong Kong and drawn her massive pension. Her actions speak volumes. She only has her own interests at heart, plus the businessmen she is cosy with. The interests of ordinary Hong Kong workers are not something that she needs to be bothered about. In many ways she is no different from our former colonial masters.
John Adams
It's reports like this that make CY start to sound like the good guy with some good ideas and intentions
It's the system, stupid.

Lam has her eyes on 2017. It is already a grotesque disgrace that she is in charge of the 'public consultation' on the upcoming electoral reform, which will lead to an election in which she herself is very likely to be a prime candidate. This is a conflict of interest so blatant that it is just mind-boggling. One only has to look at the life-size Carrie Lam posters promoting the 'consultation' that grace the MTR stations these days to know the real agenda here: one that serves Lam, not the public.

And so, with the semi-new electoral system that the lengthy 'consultation document' has not-so-vaguely defined already (the 'contours' I believe this is called), any CE candidate will basically only need to have the tacit support of the home team (the anti-democrats, ie the DAB, ie Beijing) + that of the key functional constituencies. Things like this MPF charade are precisely what can get Ms Lam the latter. Throw in some token popular support and voila, a new Chief Nitwit is born.

And so we all keep slaving away to line the pockets of employers and MPF managers, while many elderly roam the streets for carton boxes, or fade away in 'homes' for the elderly that many a developing country would still feel ashamed of.
Chief Secretary? Chief Chicken more like!!
Lam is no better than Turdus Minimus but of course she's a civil servant to the core so what can we expect. She has a nice civil servants pension, not the rip-off MPF that Rafael Huiset up. She has made her way through the ranks making sure the tycoons and 'business' are happy. If she becomes CE we are all doomed to be at the mercy of the tycoons again. CY should dump her and Whiskers as they are merely fifth columnists waiting to try and advance themselves.
For all her talk in this administration and the last, please tell me what she can actually say she has achieved ?


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