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Transcript of remarks by CS at media session (with video)
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at a media session after visiting elderly households and needy families in Tai Po District under the "Celebrations for All" project today (June 16):
Reporter: Mr Cheung, can the Government promise that it will fully scrap the "offsetting" mechanism, including the severance payment and the long-service payment, because some sources said the Government has given up to come up a consensus in cancelling the "offsetting" payment and the severance payment part? Can the Government fully promise that it will fully scrap the plan?
Chief Secretary for Administration: The Government is determined. The current-term Government is determined to tackle the problem of MPF "offsetting", and in fact we started to map out a plan two years ago. And in fact the Chief Executive, in his Policy Address on the 18th of January this year, came up with a specific proposal to really tackle the problem up front and also fairly and squarely by abolishing the "offsetting" arrangement permanently. But in the process, we recognise the difficulties faced by small and medium enterprises, and also bearing in mind the historical background, unique historical background of this particular case. That's why we've devised a 10-year transition period to ease the pain, as it were, on the employers in general, and at the same time the Government has earmarked $7.9 billion for 10 years in order to ease the burden of the employers at large.
     These manifest the Government's determination, commitment and political courage to tackle the problem. We are not shying away from the problem at all, so we are still working on a solution to the problem and hope in the next fortnight come up with a viable option which we can implement permanently. And our objective is still to tackle the problem fairly and squarely. The idea is to really ensure that the interests of employees are protected, at the same time bearing in mind the affordability of employers in general. That's why we have that transition period, government financial assistance which is absolutely unprecedented in the way Government handles labour relations. OK? So that underlines our determination, commitment and political courage to tackle the problem.
Reporter: Do you have confidence that we will see new plans in existing administration, the outgoing administration?
Chief Secretary for Administration: We will leave no stone unturned in the next fortnight to tackle this problem and hope to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Friday, June 16, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:17
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