Date
11 December 2017
Thousands of people took part in a rally in Macau Sunday to protest against a government bill that seeks to confer huge benefits to retired officials. Photo: Facebook
Thousands of people took part in a rally in Macau Sunday to protest against a government bill that seeks to confer huge benefits to retired officials. Photo: Facebook

Macau protesters to lay siege to Legislative Assembly

A social movement group called “Macau Conscience” has called on Macau people to lay siege to the city’s Legislative Assembly from 2 pm Tuesday in continuing protest against a bill that seeks to boost the retirement benefits for top government officials.

The protesters are urging Macau’s Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on to “truly” withdraw the bill that would see retired officials continued to be paid most of their salary, Ming Pao Daily reported.

After a massive street protest on Sunday, Chui met with the Assembly chairman Ho Lat-seng on Monday and later sent a letter asking legislators to remove review of the proposal from Tuesday’s agenda. However, Chui said in the letter that a “revised and better” proposal will be submitted after consultations. Ho agreed to let legislators to decide today if they will give up voting on the proposal.

Sou Ka-hou, leader of the “Macau Conscience” group, has criticized Chui’s move, saying he is trying to procrastinate by repackaging the proposal. Legislator José Pereira Coutinho said Chui’s withdrawal is not sincere. He asked Chui to discard the draft and tender an apology, the report said.

According to the proposal, which has been dubbed by social activists as the “bill of greed and privilege”, a retired chief executive can still get 70 percent of his monthly pay as compensation for not taking a new job. Other retired high-rank officials can also get a most of their salary, though the percentage may be lower, as well as continue to receive medical benefits, including for their families. Meanwhile, the chief executive will be immune from criminal prosecution unless impeached or dismissed by the central government.

Yu Wing-yat, associate professor at the University of Macau’s Government and Public Administration department, said the central government is wrong about Macau as it seems to think that the former Portuguese colony is more stable than Hong Kong. The latest protests in the city mark an eruption of public discontent that had built up over the years, he said.

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TL/AC/RC

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