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Poverty

Who is to blame for Hong Kong’s world-beating rich-poor gap?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 October, 2018, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 October, 2018, 7:01pm

I am writing in response to Adrian Lam’s letter, “Hong Kong government ignores growing wealth gap and social inequality at its own peril” (October 1).

As a teenager living in Hong Kong, I can see for myself how the gap between the rich and poor has widened. Studies have shown that the salary of Hong Kong’s richest is 44 times more than that of the poorest. Such a severe income disparity is particularly lamentable in an international financial hub such as Hong Kong.

I believe the main reason for this problem is faulty policymaking by the government. I think our government puts too much of its resources into economic and infrastructure development, and tends to neglect the situation of the underprivileged.

Shenzhen, Singapore … Guiyang? Who else can Hong Kong fall behind?

I agree with Mr Lam where he says that the government guarantees the business sector the upper hand. The government also offers less support to sectors that do not fall under the four pillar industries of Hong Kong. For example, the government established the Innovation and Technology Bureau only in 2015 , when other cities already started focusing on research and development five or 10 years before. The Hong Kong government is conservative and seems to have thus far missed the valuable chance to develop a better economic structure, creating opportunities for people with strengths other than in business.

Another important factor is the political environment of Hong Kong, which causes policy paralysis and failure to implement measures that will really help the less privileged. Needless debate and filibustering also means some urgent policies cannot be passed in time or fail to pass altogether.

Lai Shun-hei, Tsuen Wan