A Comparative Analysis of the Cash Handout Policy of Hong Kong and Macau

Bruce Kam Kwan Kwong

Abstract


In 2011, Hong Kong SAR government announced an unprecedented policy of cash handouts of 6,000 HKD to all permanent residents at the age of 18 or above as a means of defusing public discontent with economic policy and poor governance. Macau SAR has also been distributing similar cash handouts since 2008 to temper public dissatisfaction and widespread demonstrations. Initially, both SAR governments were very reluctant to initiate universal cash handouts. Unlike standard welfare programmes that are budgeted for annually, the cash payment scheme in Hong Kong SAR was a one-off handout. In Macau SAR, however, the payment scheme went from being a short-term policy to a long-term policy, while other welfare programmes were also allocated more public money. This paper argues that although such cash handout policies are avoidable, they are still being adopted by politicians who place self-interest above the public interest.

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