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Lawmakers call for political reform debate with officials

The Legislative Assembly (AL) will hold a plenary meeting today to discuss a motion proposed by lawmakers-cum-activists Antonio Ng Kuok Cheong and Au Kam San which calls for a debate about how the city’s political reform. Ng and Au are members of the grassroots New Macau Association (NMA). Both are the association’s only members of […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:53 am

The Legislative Assembly (AL) will hold a plenary meeting today to discuss a motion proposed by lawmakers-cum-activists Antonio Ng Kuok Cheong and Au Kam San which calls for a debate about how the city’s political reform.

Ng and Au are members of the grassroots New Macau Association (NMA). Both are the association’s only members of the 33-member legislature.

Both suggest in their motion that government representatives should attend the debate if it is accepted by their fellow legislators.

Ng and Au submitted their motion to Legislative Assembly President Ho Iat Seng in August.

In their motion, the two veteran lawmakers urge the government to start political reform next year. Both want that the chief executive be elected by universal suffrage and that the number of directly-elected lawmakers be increased.

Currently, the legislature comprises 14 lawmakers directly elected by popular vote, 12 indirectly elected by association representatives and seven appointed by the chief executive.

After amending the Legislative Assembly Election Law in 2012, the total number of lawmakers increased to 33 from 29. While the number of directly and indirectly lawmakers was increased by two each, the number of government-appointed lawmakers remained unchanged.

Currently, the 12 indirectly-elected lawmaker comprise two representing the labour sector, four representing the business sector, three representing the professional sector, one representing the social and education sectors, and two representing the the culture and sports sectors.

The Chief Executive Election Law was also amended in 2012 when the number of voters was raised from 300 to 400. The 400 committee members are elected by representatives of the city’s various associations, apart from a number of ex-officio members.

Au and Ng also said in August the main reason for proposing the motion was that the chief executive and most lawmakers are not elected by popular vote so that it was difficult for residents to ask the chief executive and the main officials to be held accountable for any wrongdoings such as overspending on public projects.

The two lawmakers also said that residents’ levels of education had improved gradually and there should be a “fair” election system giving youths more opportunities to take part in politics. Both said they also hoped that in 2019 the chief executive will be elected by universal suffrage and that the number of directly-elected lawmakers will exceed half of the legislature’s total number of members. Both also said the ultimate aim should be that all lawmakers be elected by universal suffrage.

Chief Executive  Chui Sai On said last week that the initiative of political reform was the prerogative of the central government and that Beijing had the final say on the matter.(macaunews/macaupost)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:53 am

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