New scheme not the answer

I REFER to the letter from Mr Alex Woo, which appeared in the South China Morning Post, on January 28.

The Government has proposed that an old age pension scheme be adopted. Under the scheme every person who is 65 or above will be paid $2,100 a month. The money will be funded by every wage earner paying around three per cent of his/her monthly wage. Even though it is only a small portion of the wage, there are some people who are not willing to pay it.

There are some poor families who may be on a low income, and who have to look after children and dependent elderly relatives.

To these families, this contribution will seem like an additional tax.

Also this scheme will replace the existing system of financial aid to the elderly, so the Government will be able to escape its responsibility to look after old people.

It will effectively be handing over responsibility to the public with this new form of government tax. I take Mr Woo's point; there is an urgent need for the Government to overcome the housing and medical problems of destitute old people. These can be addressed, without charging full steam into this proposed old age pension scheme.

Old people without friends or relatives need someone to take care of them. So, the Government should set up rest homes and give them medical care free of charge.

Otherwise, it may have difficulty knowing how to distribute monthly payments. This proposed scheme will not address the real needs of old people.