Ageing society

How long will Hong Kong continue to fail the elderly who helped build the wealthy global metropolis?

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 June, 2018, 10:45am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 June, 2018, 10:45am

Apart from the nominal “old age allowance” and “old age living allowance”, can our government think about providing any other form of financial support to the elderly?

In the 1980s, Hongkongers were mostly engaged in the secondary and tertiary industries. They have contributed a lot to this society and facilitated Hong Kong’s growth. Without them, this global metropolis may not have been as prosperous as it is today.

The Hongkongers who built this city have aged now. Their health does not enable them to work and contribute to society as they once did. Their living standards have deteriorated. We can still see many seniors citizens, bent over with age, picking up tin cans and cardboard in the alleys for sale or recycling. This is what they need to do to support themselves and pay for their daily necessities.

And now the Consumer Council has warned that some clinics participating in the government’s health care voucher scheme for the elderly are cheating them.

Watch: Who cares for the carers looking after Hong Kong’s elderly?

The budget of 2018-2019 reported a record revenue surplus of HK$138 billion. Most of the elderly do not fall within the tax net, so they are unlikely to benefit from the HK$50 billion of sweeteners or tax concessions announced by the financial secretary.

Can our government show greater commitment to supporting the elderly and earmark more funds for them? That would help the community more than allocating funds for 10,000 students to enjoy a free visit to Hong Kong’s loss-making attraction, Ocean Park.

Matthew Lin, Tai Po