Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has clarified that he donated a HK$6,000 sum to charity in 2011.
Leung on Wednesday had claimed that he never applied to receive the government’s HK$6,000 cash handout given to all citizens over 18 years old. The scheme was proposed by John Tsang, the financial secretary at the time.
“The HK$6,000 is still in the treasury – I don’t need it,” he said. “Why do I want to take money belonging to those who pick aluminium cans from the streets [for a living]?”
However, local media reported in April 2011 that Leung had promised to donate the amount to the Small Gift Campaign Foundation to help mainland people affected by desertification.
During a joint radio programme on Thursday, Leung said a friend had sent a message reminding him that he donated the sum.
But it was uncertain whether Leung simply donated HK$6,000 from his own pocket, or whether he applied for the handout and donated it.
“If I did donate at the time… it shows that the money does not belong to me, it should not be in my pocket,” he said.
At a press conference following his final Policy Address on Wednesday, Leung also said that he never promised a universal pension scheme in his 21012 election manifesto, but only a retirement scheme for some.
It was soon found that he said at a 2011 forum that a universal pension scheme is “worth doing.” He also said people needed to be “serious” in its implementation.
He said on the Thursday programme that he was asking the audience to consider it carefully.
“Can the government increase its expenditure without an upper limit? Can everyone get a relatively large and meaningful sum while consistently implementing a universal pension scheme?” he said.
He said his election platform in 2012 was very clear that he did not include a universal pension scheme, as he thought it would involve responsibility and careful handling.
In the election manifesto, Leung promised to use fiscal reserves to “to meet future expenditures arising from the ageing population such as medical and healthcare expense and pension payments.”