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Environmental protection chief now also in charge of meteorological bureau

Director Raymond Tam Vai Man to be appointed director of the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) for a one-year term while remaining in his existing post.

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UPDATED: 15 Jun 2024, 3:37 pm

Chief Executive Chui Sai On said on Wednesday that it was Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosario who suggested that Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) Director Raymond Tam Vai Man be appointed director of the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) for a one-year term while remaining in his existing post.

According to the Macau Post Daily, Chui made the remarks while speaking to reporters at Galaxy Macau’s JW Marriott Hotel Macau in Cotai where he attended a reception celebrating the 115th anniversary of local Portuguese lender BNU.

According to Wednesday’s Official Gazette (BO), Chui appointed Tam to temporarily take on the function of director of the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau for a one-year term – meaning that he heads the weather station during the period while concurrently continuing to head the Environmental Protection Bureau.

The day after Super Typhoon Hato pummelled Macau on August 23 and killed 10, Chui accepted SMG Director Fong Soi Kun’s resignation over the latter’s controversial handling of Hato’s warning signals. Fong submitted his resignation for “personal reasons”, according to the government.

Since then, SMG Deputy Director Leong Ka Cheng had been the acting director of the bureau. Fong had headed the weather bureau since late 1998. Leong will continue as the observatory’s deputy director.

Late last month, the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) launched an investigation into the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau over its typhoon forecasting process and internal management, especially over Fong’s controversial handling of Hato’s warning signals.

Chui also said that a delegation of 22 experts from the National Commission for Disaster Reduction recently visited Macau and had on-site inspections earlier this month and that the commission would provide the local government with opinions and suggestions, such as improvements to the government’s civil protection structure and the way the government informs the city’s residents about the possible threats of typhoons and other major disasters.

When asked by the media about the fact that Tam does not have professional meteorological knowledge, Chui replied that the government takes “the overall public administration as a whole” into consideration when it appoints the heads of different public sector entities.

Meanwhile, Tam said that as an official, he ought to show courage in accepting a new job arrangement by his superiors. He pledged that he will learn the weather bureau’s operation as quickly as possible, adding he was confident that he can do the job well and integrate well with the SMG team.

Tam said that he understood that Macau’s civil society has high expectations of the observatory improving its mechanism for weather forecasting.

Tam, a civil engineer by profession, previously headed the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM).

Tam said that he had a meeting with the several department heads of the weather bureau on Wednesday – the first day he assumed his new post – to get to know them.

He also said that the bureau would review its mechanism for hoisting typhoon signals after studying opinions from civil society and experts that were raised after Typhoon Hato.

UPDATED: 15 Jun 2024, 3:37 pm

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