Letters from leaders of Hong Kong's political parties and government departments.

    Letter To Hong Kong



    Leaders from Hong Kong's political parties and government departments take their turn to have their say.

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    David Wong, Chairman of Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority


    Dear Albert,


    How are you doing lately? I suppose work is keeping you busy as always.


    How time flies! December 1st marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the MPF System, which reminds me that you also graduated and entered the work force in 2000. That’s also when you started making contributions to your MPF account, which means that you have really grown together with the MPF System in the past 20 years.


    Looking back, the journey of the MPF System, like that of our life journeys, has really seen its ups and downs.


    I still recall that in the 80s and 90s, Hong Kong went through a long discussion about establishing a retirement protection system. Finally, the Government made the decision to set up the MPF System in accordance with the Pillar 2 system in the multi-pillar retirement model advocated by the World Bank.


    When the MPF System was launched in December 2000, the economy was in a downturn amid the Asian financial crisis and financial markets were in turmoil. The SARS outbreak added to the economic hardship and there were really doubts about the future of the whole MPF System in the minds of the general public.


    Gradually, the economy began to recover, and with that, the MPF was gaining wider acceptance by the public. Still, financial markets were hit by periodic turmoil, some of them were quite violent, such as the 2008 financial crisis, and successive black swan events in recent years, including Brexit, the China-US trade war and, of course, COVID-19.


    Despite all these challenges, the resilience and sustainability of the MPF System stood the test of time. The total assets of the MPF System started from scratch but have now grown to over one trillion dollars, of which about $700 billion are principal while the remaining $300 billion are investment return net of fees and charges. This sizable sum represents not only the personal savings of individual citizens, it is also an important retirement savings pool of our community with its ageing population. Since the establishment of the MPF System, the overall annualized return has been 3.9%, compared to an average inflation rate of 1.7% over the same period.


    With respect to coverage, prior to the launch of the MPF System, only about one third of the local work force participated in some form of retirement protection scheme. Today, more than 85% of the work force is covered by MPF or other retirement schemes. This coverage rate is among the highest in the world, and it is an important indicator of the success of the MPF System. The MPF System has also served to promote financial inclusion. The fact that MPF has no minimum investment threshold means that even low income workers making small monthly contributions can invest in high quality and well regulated fund products. Indeed, without the MPF System, some of our workers would be denied the opportunity to invest their savings on a regular basis in a wide range of sophisticated financial products to diversify investment risks. This demonstrates that MPF is a pioneering system in driving financial inclusion.


    For two decades, the MPFA has made continuing efforts to meet changing public expectations. Reform initiatives include regular reviews and adjustments of the minimum and maximum levels of relevant income for MPF contributions. The Employee Choice Arrangement, launched in 2012, gave employees greater freedom in choosing their trustees and managing their investments. The Default Investment Strategy, which was rolled out in 2017, made investing easier for people who need help in choosing the funds that are right for them. And to encourage people to save more for retirement, Tax Deductible Voluntary Contributions (TVC) was introduced last year.


    With regard to fees and charges of the MPF funds which have long been a point of contention, despite the fact that the MPFA has no statutory power to regulate fees, nonetheless we have been adopting a multi-pronged approach with a view to increasing transparency, promoting market competition, and enhancing scheme members’ financial literacy so that they can choose MPF funds that offer good value for money. With these efforts, the overall Fund Expense Ratio of MPF has gone down from 2.1% in 2007 to 1.45% at present, representing a significant decrease of 31%. But in any case, all scheme members looking to minimize fees now have the option to choose the Default Investment Strategy, which is offered at fees capped below 1%.


    The MPF System is now entering its third decade, and we have more recently embarked on the development of the eMPF Platform. This digital platform will streamline administrative processes, improve efficiency and reduce the overall costs of the MPF System. This project represents the most sweeping reform of the MPF System to date. We aim to finish building the Platform by the end of 2022. It is expected to forge a new landscape for the MPF ecosystem, deepen market competition and ultimately bring about a better user experience with lower prices for the benefit of our scheme members.


    Albert, if you ask me what is the key to the success of the MPF System in Hong Kong, I’d say the key is threefold: Hong Kong’s sound financial system, the diversity of investment products, and the possession of basic knowledge about the market on the part of the participants. 


    The original purpose of setting up the MPF System was to help the public develop good saving habits by making fixed monthly contributions for their retirement needs. Looking forward, the MPFA will remain faithful to its mission by actively managing this important pillar of retirement protection for the people of Hong Kong.


    Wishing you good health and all the best!



    Uncle David


    29 November 2020

    (950 words)


    29/11/2020 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:25)


    09 - 11


    David Wong, Chairman of Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority


    Legislator Lam Cheuk Ting


    Legislator Holden Chow


    Legislator Ip Kin-yuen


    Legislator Junius Ho


    Dr Arisina Ma, president of the Hong Kong Public Doctors' Association


    William Leung, chairman of Estate Agent Authority


    Legislator Ted Hui


    Executive Councillor Ronny Tong


     Legislator Claudia Mo

    Legislator Lam Cheuk Ting

    Dear Hong Kongers,


    I handed in my resignation letter last week. This marks the end of my work in the Legislative Council.


    10 years ago, when I decided to leave the ICAC to return to work for the Democratic Party, during an interview with the Hong Kong Economic Journal, I said, “When we look back at the events that happened in the past hundred years in Chinese history, we should be grateful that dissidents like us are still able to speak our views freely and continue to make a living, and not be subject to exile, imprisonment and decapitation.” Looking back, the only thing that has not happened yet is decapitation.


    To be frank, I have never underestimated the Communist Party’s cruelty. I was only 12 years old when the Party used machine guns and tanks to massacre the students in Beijing in order to preserve their power. When I decided to rejoin the Democratic Party, I was well prepared for a gradually increasing level of suppression by the regime; I just never expected the pace to skyrocket the way it did this past year.


    Under an authoritarian regime, it is considered normal for politicians to face imprisonment. I have no regrets: this is my vocation and responsibility. I have this responsibility because of my love for Hong Kong and because of my stubbornness. I firmly believe times will change and that one day, full democracy will triumphantly take root in Hong Kong.


    The night is always darkest before the dawn. We must persevere despite the challenges. There is no doubt that the authoritarian regime will further crack down on journalists, academics, members of the judiciary, those in the medical profession, social workers, civil servants, pro-democracy activists and supporters, etc. I believe that the new wave of suppression will consist of the following:


    1. It will include District Councillors and public officers in the existing oath provisions so that they can politically screen candidates and disqualify those they deem “disloyal” to the CCP;


    2. Markedly restrict mass gatherings and demonstrations even after the pandemic is over, citing public order and safety concerns; organizers will be charged with serious offences;


    3. Cite the Emergency Regulations Ordinance as an excuse to maintain social stability, execute seizures of outspoken media outlets, and block websites to deter public donations in support of the movement.


    4. Intervene in different professional sectors: government and quasi-governmental bodies will be established to issue licenses as a way to control professionals’ “political stance” and override professionalism;


    5. Recruit Administrative Officers (AO) based on political allegiance; fully review the political backgrounds of candidates so that AOs can become party members;


    6. Government officials and pro-establishment figures will initiate defamation lawsuits frequently, so that pro-democracy figures will face paying hefty sums and will be under constant psychological pressure;


    7. Continuously create a climate of fear causing a chilling effect: members of civil society will think that they have no choice but to self-censor themselves; the regime encourages reporting on others, causing a breakdown of mutual trust; an increasing number of people will be forced to leave the city and they will be replaced by large numbers of Mainlanders.


    How can Hong Kongers not feel sad and depressed when Hong Kong’s well treasured core values and system are crumbling so rapidly? However, the world is changing: international and domestic political environments are constantly evolving; the internal and external pressure faced by the regime will only increase further in the future. I trust I do not have to elaborate much on what will happen if that continues to be the case. Who can go against history’s course?


    Furthermore, Hong Kong is still the Hong Kong we deeply love, we have to come together, unite and march on. We, especially those of us within the democratic camp, must put aside our differences, as we are all protesters under the suppression of the authoritarian regime. We must gather as much force as we can to oppose the regime’s suppression, but also stay alert and flexible in response to the government’s persecution. I will continue to stand firm, fight, and work together with the public in the local community, in cyberspace, and on the streets to guard the truth of the events that happened in the Yuen Long attack, and counteract all the untruthful allegations and spurious statements of the government and the pro-establishment camp.


    Under the current climate, some friends felt they were left with no choice but to leave Hong Kong. I fully understand their reasoning and difficulties in making such decisions. However, I respectfully ask all of you not to forget our roots. Help one another out as much as possible: a little support goes a long way. Hold on to the passion for change as long as you can: we, namely all those working for democracy and justice, will rise again. Apart from staying healthy, Hong Kongers should also think outside of the box when it comes to participating in democratic movements: we should all strive to outlive the authoritarian regime. Youngsters should keep equipping themselves, because the future is yours. We should all remember the words of coach Anzai, from the well-loved comic Slam Dunk: “If you give up, the game will be over.”


    Lastly, I would like to thank the 39,327 New Territories East voters who voted for me back in 2016. My slogan when I ran for LegCo was “Anti Bid-rigging, Anti-Corruption.” Looking back, I seem to have only achieved half of my mission. The triads no longer monopolize building renovation works, the market is now back on track and there are no building renovation works with sky-high prices anymore. Unfortunately, corruption seems to have gotten worse, and those in power stay in power at the expense of citizens. I also want to thank my team, my colleagues, volunteers and pro-democracy supporters from the bottom of my heart for weathering the storm with me all these years. It is my honour to have fought this battle with you all.

    Add oil Hong Kongers!

    Lam Cheuk Ting


    Hong Kongers, the fight for democracy is far from over. Despite the many difficulties ahead, I will continue to march towards and work for a better future for Hong Kong. Please take care. With you, I look forward to the day when we will celebrate our victory at dawn. 


    22/11/2020 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:25)

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