Carrie Lam

Blame Hong Kong lawmakers, not Carrie Lam, for elderly welfare cuts

  • Our highly paid legislators are expected to carefully read government documents. If they fail to do so, they should be held accountable
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2019, 8:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2019, 8:00am

I write to express my extreme discontent with the Legislative Council’s reaction to the government policy changes related to the age limit for receiving elderly Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). If you ask me, the dysfunctional Legco is to be blamed, not the chief executive.

The job of Legco members – and the reason why each of them is paid over HK$98,000 a month – is to represent their electorate on certain policies. The government can’t pass any bills or legislation without Legco approval and the chief executive didn’t just pull out her version of CSSA one day and announce that it was binding. She was completely in the right, albeit too “straightforward”, when she said that it was Legco that approved the policy change to raise the age limit from 60 to 65. The council’s response to that statement is what I found irksome in the extreme.

The change to the CSSA eligibility cut-off shouldn’t be news to Legco, as it was mentioned in a report circulated before last year’s budget. So, may I ask, if any of the lawmakers have that big of a problem with this change, why are they raising their concerns now, when the change is about to be implemented?

This suggests that none of them cared enough to read that report despite being paid to do so. What’s more ludicrous is some of them had the audacity to say the chief executive purposely buried that part of the report. All students in Hong Kong read a similar amount of data for their Liberal Studies’ independent inquiry study report, and they aren’t even paid for it.

The fact that Legco and some media are trying to delude the public into pointing a finger at the government is downright deplorable. Yes, this change is biased against the 60- to 64-year-old demographic, but shouldn’t our lawmakers have been the ones to stop this change much earlier? For the sake of all of Hong Kong taxpayers who pay lawmakers’ bills, they must do their jobs. Or is that too much to ask?

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I didn’t vote and pay taxes to fund people who only function as rubber stampers. If your electorate relies on a scheme and you voted against it, you are failing at your job. Are we going to see any resignation letters soon?

I vote because I have faith in Hong Kong’s democracy. I vote because I want my opinions to be heard. Lawmakers who claim to have never heard about the change and are now making loud noises about it should be held accountable.

Andy Lau, Tsuen Wan