Letters to the Editor, July 13, 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 July, 2017, 4:33pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 July, 2017, 4:33pm

Jake’s views on MPF are hard to understand

In his column (“High management charges are the real weakness of the MPF”, July 2) Jake van der Kamp responded to my letter on behalf of the Business and Professionals Federation (BPF) on Mandatory Provident Fund offsets (“MPF reform a welcome move from C Y Leung”, June 29).

On three occasions, he referred to “Mr Apps’ former employer Manulife”, as he attacked the MPF’s high management fees. The implication was that I have been influenced in this matter by Manulife, which I left 10 years ago. If van der Kamp has any previous employers, perhaps he should mention them in his column.

My experience with Manulife’s MPF business in Hong Kong does however give me knowledge about the mechanics of that business. I know that van der Kamp’s assertion that Manulife and other providers made no investment in the business is absurd. Who does he think paid for the development of the complex MPF administration systems if it was not the ­providers?

Van der Kamp’s comments on eliminating the offset are difficult to understand. BPF on the other hand supports the elimination because the current system results in many workers not benefiting sufficiently from the MPF. It is as simple as that.

Also, if van der Kamp had read the BPF paper on retirement protection, he would have found that we agree with him that MPF fees need to come down.

Unlike your columnist, the BPF has made specific proposals on MPF fees in its paper “The Way Forward for Retirement Protection in Hong Kong”. We recommend in that report that average fees should be reduced by a third in the next three years. Also we propose that MPF providers should have their average expense charges published widely by the MPF Authority. We also support the MPFA’s new core fund that enables employees to cap their fees at 75 basis points. All employees must be made to understand that they now have this low-cost option.

By eliminating the offsets and driving down fees, the MPF can start to look like the top-quality pension system that Hong Kong deserves.

Victor Apps, chairman, BPF Study Group on Retirement Protection, Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong

Put more PE lessons into the curriculum

Many children want to do more exercise but cannot because they have so much homework. They are under intense pressure at school to do well in exams and this is their priority.

Even if their parents encourage them to get some exercise they may refuse, because their studies are so time-consuming.

The best way to solve this problem is for schools to include more physical education lessons in the curriculum. I know it can be difficult to do this with so much to fit into a busy academic timetable, but schools must make the effort so that ­youngsters get more exercise.

Sonny Chan Hei-lun, Fanling

Give teachers a break after school hours

With so many people now having smartphones, virtually all of us use social networking apps. While they are helpful in many ways, they can be intrusive. This is especially true for teachers, if parents are using these apps (for example, WhatsApp) to send them messages, sometimes late at night.

There is nothing wrong with parents and students making inquiries about aspects of school life, but they have to use these apps in a responsible manner.

They should be not be disturbing teachers after school hours and especially not late at night when they need to sleep.

Teachers have complained about the volume of messages they are receiving after the school day has ended.

Cecilia Cheng, Kwai Chung

Safety laws on building sites need reviewing

I continue to read about accidents involving workers at ­construction sites in Hong Kong.

There is clearly a need to review the laws, including safeguards and penalties for lapses in worker safety. There are still loopholes in the laws, which need to be plugged. The point needs to be made to employers that the lives of these workers are important.

There must be more comprehensive monitoring of construction sites so that employees get the best protection available.

This is very important given the large number of infrastructure projects going on in Hong Kong and the fact that more are planned.

Chloe Kwok, Kowloon Tong

Local students so lucky with free education

I recently watched a documentary about children in China who are forced to live in villages with their grandparents while their parents go to the city to work.

There are a lot of these left-behind children. The parents have to do this, because the families from rural areas are very poor. Some cannot even afford to pay for their children’s schooling.

Watching the programme made me realise how lucky Hong Kong students are.

They stay at home with their families and get 12 years of free education.

We should always cherish the opportunities that we have and recognise the plight of these children and the lives they have to lead.

We need to remember how fortunate we are to live in this prosperous city and enjoy all the advantages it brings.

Sophie Lo Tsz-wai, Yau Yat Chuen