The chief secretary attracted more boos than cheers at a public consultation forum as she tried to defend the government position on retirement protection.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor received some cheers when she told a participant who had suggested moving half the Mandatory Provident Fund to retirement protection: “Many of you are so brave to suggest the MPF be transferred to retirement protection scheme. How about transferring all?”
But the cheers turned to jeers and catcalls when she claimed such a move is not practical.
“The Commission on Poverty took the view that Hong Kong should continue with a multi- pillar retirement protection framework, one of the pillars is the MPF,” Lam said.
She also said the government has never promised to introduce universal pensions, and emphasized that it has the responsibility to point out the great financial burden such a scheme would impose on the people.
Ten members of the Reclaiming Social Work Movement held up their left palms on which was written the Chinese character for “crooked” suggesting Lam was not truthful.
She also did not answer a question as to why civil servants believed to be well-off are included with those in financial need in the proposed scheme and whether Lam would give up her pension.
About 10 members of the Labour Party protested outside the forum as Lam and Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung entered the venue, urging the government to implement a universal retirement protection scheme as soon as possible,
The forum was organized by the Alliance for Universal Pension, and the Centre for Social Policy Studies of the Department of Applied Social Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
The six-month consultation on retirement protection, being conducted by the Commission on Poverty, will end on June 21.