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168 recommend themselves for municipal body’s membership: Chan

Addressing Thursday’s Q&A session in the legislature’s hemicycle, Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan revealed that the government has received 168 self-recommendations for membership of the consultative committee of the city’s future municipal organisation.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:49 am

Addressing Thursday’s Q&A session in the legislature’s hemicycle, Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan revealed that the government has received 168 self-recommendations for membership of the consultative committee of the city’s future municipal organisation.

Considering that the committee’s maximum membership stands at 25, there are 6.7 applicants for each available seat.

Chan made the remarks when answering a question from appointed lawmaker Ma Chi Seng, on the first day of the two-day Q&A session about her portfolio’s policy guidelines for next year.

Chan and several other senior officials of her portfolio attended yesterday’s plenum in the chamber.

The new municipal organisation will be established on January 1 next year when the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) will be abolished.

The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau said in a statement on October 2 that those who want to recommend themselves, or recommend other people, for membership of the municipal organisation’s consultative committee could submit their applications from October 3 until November 1.

The Legislative Assembly (AL) passed the outline of a government-initiated bill on the establishment of a non-political municipal organisation in Macau in April. Following a review by the legislature’s 2nd Standing Committee, the bill was passed by a plenary session in its final article-by-article vote in July. The law on the new municipal entity was promulgated in the Official Gazette (BO) in early August.

According to the law, the new municipal organisation is named “Municipal Affairs Institute” (IAM) when directly translated from the Chinese and Portuguese. Its future name in English is still to be announced by the government.

The local government’s proposal to establish a non-political municipal organisation is based on Section 5 of Chapter 4 of the Macau Basic Law which calls for the establishment of “municipal organisations which are not organs of political power”.

The new law states that the municipal organisation consists of an administrative committee and a consultative committee tasked with providing municipal services and advising the government on the services respectively. The new law also states that the administrative committee consists of no more than eight members, while the maximum number of members of the consultative committee is 25.

According to the law on the new municipal body, all members of the two committees under the municipal organisation are to be appointed by the chief executive.

Activists and some lawmakers have criticised the government for ruling out the possibility for the members of the municipal organisation’s consultative committee to be elected by popular vote. The government insists that the members of the municipal organisation cannot be elected, based on the spirit of the respective articles of the Macau Basic Law.

The government has previously said that it will set up a self-recommendation mechanism for those who would like to become members of the consultative committee – which are to be appointed by the chief executive. Under this mechanism, residents can also recommend other people to be members of the consultative committee.

Law doesn’t mention self-recommendation.

However, the government did not propose the self-recommendation mechanism in its municipal organisation bill – which was passed by the legislature in July. When the legislature’s 2nd Standing Committee was reviewing the bill, the government said that while it did not propose any articles concerning the self-recommendation mechanism in the bill, it would announce details concerning the mechanism after the passing of the bill by the legislature.

The government has not mentioned whether the chief executive would always choose all the members of the consultative committee from among those who recommended themselves or from those who were recommended by others.

During the one-month period for the applications for membership of the municipal organisation’s consultative committee, a CV listing the candidate’s experience related to the municipal body’s tasks needed to be submitted. If a person recommended himself or herself for membership, they needed to submit their own résumé. If a person recommended another person for membership, a letter of recommendation was needed.

Only permanent residents are eligible for membership of the committee.

According to the law on the new municipal body, the members of the consultative committee are to be chosen among permanent residents “endowed with civic virtue” and who have proven experience in community services or adequate professional abilities in providing services to others.

During yesterday’s plenary session, Ma asked the government how many people had submitted applications recommending themselves or others for membership of the municipal organisation’s consultative committee.

Chan said that during the 30-day period the government had received 168 applications submitting their self-recommendations for membership of the consultative committee, adding that 60 percent of them are under the age of 45. She said that the government was glad to see that many young local people are paying close attention to municipal work.
Chan did not say whether recommendations for other people’s membership were received.

In addition to examining whether the applicants meet the requirements stipulated in the law on the new municipal body for being eligible for membership of the consultative committee, Chan said that the government will also comprehensively assess how the candidates have been involved in community services in different aspects and in different segments of civil society, with the aim of making the consultative committee more representative of Macau’s civil society.

The policy secretary said that the government will finish its assessment of the applicants next month and then announce the names of those who have been chosen as members of the consultative committee.

Chan also said that the government will also announce the chosen members’ CVs.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:49 am

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