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Registered Ethnic Minority Voters cannot find a candidate to be represented
少數族裔 – 社聯頻道      2016/09/01


Ethnic Minorities (EM) population has expanded rapidly in Hong Kong, its adult population stood at 146,000. However, their voice and concern were rarely heard. Thus, The Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) and Hong Kong Christian Service Ethnic Minority Services (HKCS) conducted a survey before the coming Legislative Council (LegCo) Election. The survey reveals that most of EM registered voters are willing to vote at LegCo Election, but they can hardly find a candidate to be represented.

EM respondents were invited through 14 NGOs in HKCSS EM Network to participate in the survey. The questionnaires were completed by telephone, handout, face-to-face interview and online survey. 476 EM respondents were eligible to be registered as voters (Aged 18 or above and with voter registration qualifications) which will be the focus of the following analysis. 260 EM respondents (55%) are registered voters while 138 EM respondents (29%) did not register even they are eligible to do so.

The survey reveals that among the surveyed EM registered voters, 55% is likely to vote in the coming LegCo election, 25% have not decided yet and 20% will not vote. Besides, whatever the voting decision, about 70% respondents can hardly find a candidate to be represented to voice out their needs and concerns.

In fact, EM was always ignored by candidates during the election. Mr Kyle Si, Ethnic Minority Services Team Leader (Programme 1) of HKCS said, 7 out of 9 candidate lists of LegCo District Council (second) functional constituency did not include EM's concerns in their election platforms; half of candidate's publicity materials were in Chinese only, but 90% of EM respondents were not able to read Chinese, they simply cannot catch on candidate's views.

The survey also studied issues that EM concerned, which included education, housing, employment & public service. “Financial burden on housing expenditure” is the issue that EM respondents  concerned most and followed by “Difficulties in finding jobs due to strictly high Chinese language requirement”, “Ineffective Chinese language education for EM students”, “Insufficient provision of Chinese language courses for adult/ not-in-school EMs” as well as “Insufficient promotion of racial equality and cultural sensitivity to general public”.

For example, Perveen is a Pakistani lady, born and raised in HK. Doing Well in spoken Cantonese, but she cannot read and write in Chinese. Because of the language barrier, she cannot understand the election information and hence she has not registered as a voter.

Mr Moses Mui, Chief Officer (Family & Community Service) of HKCSS said: “Hong Kong is a global city, many EM groups are living in HK. However, their right on political participation was always being ignored and lack of parliamentary representatives to voice out EM's concern.” He urges candidates to listen EM's concerns, e.g. education, housing and employment issues, and fight for their legitimate rights and interests. The government and Registration & Electoral Office should enhance the publicity works to EM groups. Let them understand their rights under Representative Democracy.

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