March 4th, 2020
A group of DAB Legislative Councillors and Central Committee members met with Financial Secretary Paul Chan and his staff regarding the HK$10,000 cash payout scheme (“the scheme”), and urged the government to utilize its own mechanisms such as the OAA, CSSA, OALA, disability allowance and student grants and also the former “Caring and Sharing Scheme” to directly disburse the handouts to residents in a fast and simple manner. At the same time, the government should plan ahead and set up a central database to manage future disbursement and dissemination of information effectively.
DAB Chairperson Starry LEE added that those 1.25 million recipients of the CSSA, OALA, OAA, Guangdong scheme, Fujian scheme, the disability allowance and work incentive transport subsidy scheme are most in need and they should get the handouts immediately after the approval of the Budget. At the same time, the government should speed up the disbursement process by utilizing the Student Grant mechanism and last year’s “Caring and Sharing Scheme”. They should discuss issues of data privacy with the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data and the Department of Justice, and obtain the recipient’s consent in prior before disbursing handouts directly.
Meanwhile, Starry said that the government took about half a year and nearly a year respectively to complete the disbursement of $6,000 in 2011 and $4,000 in last year’s “Caring and Sharing Scheme”. The DAB suggested that the HKSAR government should learn from Macao’s experience and set up a permanent central database to reduce administrative and time costs when sharing the fruits of economic development, disseminating information or handing out surgical masks.
Elizabeth QUAT also considered that data collected through registration or in the distribution system should not be for single-use only. The government has to treasure this opportunity to develop smart government and smart city, and set up a permanent centralized database system by establishing electronic IDs for the population.
Elizabeth QUAT and Ben CHAN quoted the government staff at the meeting that the government is setting up two systems – one for registration and one for disbursement, and connecting them to the system of the Immigration Department. The registration for the handouts is estimated to start in July. A resident will receive the handouts sooner if he applies online via online banking. But if applications are done via HKICL, it will not be any faster.
Wilson OR demanded the government to strengthen its ability to promote and disseminate of latest news to prevent unnecessary chaos. At the same time, physical application forms should be provided for those without online banking accounts. The government should make good use of the District Offices and Sub-offices, offices of the Housing Authority or facilities of the LCSD as well as postal offices for residents to apply or receive the handouts.
Last but not least, Starry LEE said that the government should also use a fast and simple payout procedure to benefit non-permanent residents through the Community Care Fund.
Media Inquiries: Starry LEE, DAB Chairperson 7770 0820