Health and land schemes top gripes

Local | Phoenix Un 8 Feb 2019

More health investments, longer maternity and paternity leaves and stopping the Lantau reclamation plan were among demands protesters from several parties and groups made ahead of the budget speech on February 27.

Democratic Party members led by chairman Wu Chi-wai protested in front of government's headquarters to demand an increase of funds in medical services. He said people have struggled with the system amid the influenza season, adding they would not need to receive cash handouts if this problem is solved.

Wu suggested a HK$10 billion health fund to improve public medical services. "This would serve to prevent diseases more than curing them," Wu said.

He suggested introducing overseas doctors by drafting a list of accredited overseas medical schools that allow graduates to be exempt from taking the necessary examinations to reduce the strain in public hospitals.

Wu also pushed to extend maternity leave from 10 to 14 weeks, and paternity leave from five to seven days.

The League of Social Democrats used a picture of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor with a pig's snout in their protest.

The league criticized Lam for amending the elderly Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme, accusing her of bullying the poor

It said she will waste HK$1 trillion of public funds by building the Lantau Tomorrow Vision artificial island and retaking the Fanling golf course and several other sites. Some 30 Confederation of Trade Unions members also expressed discontent over raising the CSSA eligible age from 60 to 65 and the complicated application procedures for the Caring and Sharing Scheme HK$4,000 handout.

They demanded a minimum wage of HK$54.70 for outsourced workers in public services and that legislation for standard working hours be introduced.

Legislator Jonathan Ho Kai-ming of the Federation of Trade Unions demanded that the Mandatory Provident Fund offsetting mechanism be scrapped earlier than planned.

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