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Chan vows to review Election Law, draft bills more carefully

Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan said on Thursday the government would review the Legislative Assembly Election Law, with the aim of checking whether there are discrepancies between the Portuguese and Chinese versions of the law.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:45 am

Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan said on Thursday the government would review the Legislative Assembly Election Law, with the aim of checking whether there are discrepancies between the Portuguese and Chinese versions of the law.

Chan made the remarks while speaking to reporters after attending a plenary session of the legislature.

Commenting on differences between the Portuguese and Chinese versions of the law, Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Committee (CAEAL) President Tong Hio Fong told reporters on Wednesday his committee thought that the Portuguese version of the law was “more accurate” than its Chinese counterpart.

Tong also said on Wednesday that his committee planned to submit a final report, which would include his committee’s suggestions about the necessity of amending the law, to the chief executive after the September 17 elections.

The Legislative Election Law has been amended several times since it was first enacted in 2001. The government proposed amendments to the law last year, which was passed by the legislature in December. Article 150 of the law, whose Chinese and Portuguese versions are different, has not been amended since the law was first enacted in 2001.

Speaking to reporters about the matter, Chan said that as the government’s proposed amendments to the law last year did not include changes to Article 150, the government’s legal experts did not notice that there were discrepancies between the Portuguese and Chinese versions of the article.

Chan said that the government would “completely” review the Legislative Election Law with the aim of checking whether there are inconsistencies between the two languages in other articles of the law, adding that if the government finds similar situations it would correct them.

When asked by the reporters if the government would plan to review other laws that were enacted in the early 2000s regarding possible discrepancies between the city’s two official languages, Chan said that after the government finished reviewing the Legislative Election Law, it would consider reviewing other major laws.

According to the Macau Post Daily, Chan noted that in recent years the government has primarily drafted its bills in Chinese first. She added that both the Chinese and Portuguese languages are equally important as both are official languages.

Chan promised that from now on the government would be more careful and accurate when drafting bills, adding that it would ensure that the Portuguese and Chinese versions are consistent in its upcoming bills.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:45 am

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