Letters to the Editor, November 27, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 November, 2016, 12:16am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 November, 2016, 12:16am

MPF warning should include retail banks

I refer to Enoch Yiu’s column (“Be aware of the potential scams for your MPF cash”, November 22) concerning the dangers of sophisticated telephone scams targeting people (normally retirees) who have just taken their money out of the Mandatory Provident Fund.

I fully agree with Yiu’s ­warning, but suggest that it is not only sophisticated phone scams that such people need to be very wary of but also the “wealth management” services offered by retail banks, which appear to me more likely motivated by the drive for commissions rather than the ­interests of clients.

In my own case (“a cautious investor”), my MPF money, ­released on my reaching 65 in 2011, has been invested in mutual funds recommended by my bank. Since then, almost all have lost value – generally 2 per cent to 3 per cent – before being switched into other recommended mutual funds which have followed the same downward trend. Currently, despite major stock markets being at or near record highs, my present mutual funds are about 5 per cent below their purchase prices in September 2014.

I appreciate that investments involve risk and warnings are given before investing that returns are not guaranteed, but I cannot believe I am alone in having been recommended so many “dog” funds.

Accordingly, I strongly urge that if the regulatory authorities are going to institute a publicity campaign warning of potential threats to retirees’ MPF money, they should not overlook warnings about the banks’ wealth management services, which may in reality present a much greater danger.

Doug Miller, Tai Po

Policy of fewer bins is clearly not working

I am concerned that the government’s waste management strategies have not been effective and that there is insufficient education over depositing waste. Based on the principle that more rubbish bins generate more refuse, officials are removing some bins from country parks and urban areas.

They have also introduced bins with a smaller opening to discourage people from dropping bulky items into them. They hope these policies will help people to recognise they must generate less waste.

However, from what I have seen, this approach is not working. Every weekend, I go to Mong Kok for tutorial lessons. There are lots of restaurants here and the bins are always chock-full of rubbish. And people have also dumped all kinds of filth on the ground around the bins.

So you have fewer bins having to deal with the same volumes of waste and now hygiene conditions in Mong Kok are even worse than before.

Rather than cutting back on the number of bins, the government must educate citizens about the importance of waste management and the need to act responsibly. There should be more lively and attractive adverts and talks should be held in schools. Once people realise the damage they do to the environment by generating so much refuse, hopefully they will become more considerate.

As for government waste disposal policies, I support incineration, and also want to see an expansion of the recycling ­sector in Hong Kong.

There should be more recycling bins and additional subsidies offered to local recycling firms.

Yoyo Lai, Ma On Shan

Disqualified pair raising serious issue

Alex Lo derides the two Youngspiration disqualified legislators for their “juvenile irresponsibility” (“So-called localists are really narcissists”, November 17). But wait a minute, aren’t these the lawmakers who posed such a threat to the national security of China that the ­National People’s Congress had to “interpret” the Basic Law, and our own government launched court ­actions to stop them?

It seems that, far from being juvenile, the two localists raise a very important and serious issue.

What Lo and some of your other columnists ignore is that the Younspiration duo and their fellow localists were elected by almost a fifth of Hong Kong voters. These voters are concerned at the progressive “mainlandisation” of Hong Kong, and want something done about it. That is the real issue; no amount of interpretation and judicial ­reviews will make it go away.

Matthew Harrison, Tai Hang

Second shot at oath would have been OK

I do not agree with the two disqualified lawmakers and what they did, but nor do I agree with Alice Wu’s ­comments (“Hong Kong’s oath drama must end, and it’s time to boo its two ­villains off the ­political stage”, November 20).

By using offensive language during the oath-taking ceremony, these two localists insulted the nation. No matter what they think about the country, this was ­inappropriate and it drew criticism not just from the pro-establishment camp, but also from their own supporters.

However, it was unfair that they were disqualified as legislative councillors.

I accept that lawmakers have a duty to read what is in the oath during the oath-taking ceremony in Legco.

However, I do believe that they should have been given an opportunity to say the oath for a second time.

I can understand critics saying that they were immature, but I believe they had learned their lesson and would have given the oath correctly the ­second time.

The other reason they should not have been disqualified is ­because they were democratically elected by Hong Kong voters. Disqualifying them shows a lack of respect for the will of the voters and the ­electoral process.

Winky Lai, Yau Yat Chuen

Trains now stop too far from escalators

The MTR Corporation is to be congratulated on the extended platforms now in use on the Ma On Shan Line. Or is it?

The platforms have been extended, but not the trains. Tai Wai-bound trains now stop nowhere near the escalators or lifts at the majority of stations, causing inconvenience and discomfort to the disabled, the infirm and the elderly.

I presume that the MTR is not going to add extra escalators, so when can we expect to see the seven- or eight-carriage trains for which these platforms were designed?

If it is not going to happen some time soon, then for the convenience of all passengers (and not just the able-bodied), perhaps the trains could revert to stopping near the escalators and lifts.

Julie Moffat, Ma On Shan

Fight diabetes with fat tax on unhealthy food

Levies on unhealthy food, known as fat taxes, are being adopted by more countries.

Hungary, for example, has imposed this tax on food which is high in sugar, salt and fat. Mexico taxes sugary drinks, breakfast cereals and sweets.

Diabetes is a serious problem in Hong Kong, and it is the same globally.

Many poor people with diabetes in underdeveloped and ­developing nations cannot ­afford to buy healthy food.

However, people here are better off. I would like to see a fat tax levied in Hong Kong.

I believe that if more citizens move away from eating food which has high levels of sugar, salt and fat, there will be fewer cases of diabetes and expenditure on treating diabetes will drop, not just in Hong Kong but worldwide.

Samuel Yu, Tseung Kwan O