Policy address gives Leung Chun-ying the chance to give the poor a lift
The policy address this week is the only chance Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying gets to mitigate the agony of Hongkongers who have been suffering due to low wages and relentless inflation, by giving them some relief of general retirement benefit and some concessions in taxes.The rents, utilities, rates and costs of daily necessities keep on rising despite all efforts of the administration. The administration manipulates the figures but inflation defeats them.
The public thinks Leung is Muppet in the hands of China’s leaders. He is more interested to save his job, and hardly cares for them.
On the eve of the policy address, most people have no savings except the useless Mandatory Provident Fund, which is generally not giving satisfactory return to hard-working Hongkongers, as compared to Singapore and other societies. Our administration has turned millionaires into billionaires, but for poor people, there is no respite from hardship. For those on or near minimum wage, the money they take home is hardly enough to take care of their needs. Many have to work long hours, sometimes taking on two jobs, to make ends meet.
On top of all this, more than 50,000 mainland migrants are allowed to come every year – they need housing, education, health care and jobs.
To help, the government should increase the income tax allowances, and also give people over 65 years old an allowance of HK$4,000 to HK$5,000. Of course, this will create a financial burden but we have ample surpluses and reserves.
The government should also raise some taxes on the rich as well as corporations, while also levying a small arrival tax at the airport.
Hong Kong has a vibrant and dynamic economy and will be able to take care of the increased expenses.
A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui