CE reply to determine May 1 civil servants protest

Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Issue 671, Page 1 & 2
Word count: 549
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

A protest may be staged on May 1 if Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah fails to give a “satisfactory” response Thursday to the civil servants whose provident fund reported a loss of 450 million patacas last year.

Macau Civil Servant’s Association president Jose Pereira Coutinho told the Macau Daily Times that he will be the 14th lawmaker to pose a question to the chief executive at the Legislative Assembly.

Between 3pm and 5pm on Thursday Mr Ho will be present at the legislature for the first time this year to answer questions in relation to government policies and social issues.

It is reported that more than 20 lawmakers have already signed up in order to engage in a head-on conversation with the head of Macau.

Coutinho said public servants’ morale has dropped to the “lowest point” over the past decade.

It is attributed to “the loss of the provident fund, the abolishment of the civil service pensions, and the absence of an equal pay rise”.

He said that bureau directors or officials at equivalent ranking have had their salaries increased by 20 percent, while their subordinates “got nothing”.

“I will ask Mr Ho how the problem will be resolved, and whether he is planning to leave it for his successor to handle,” Coutinho said.

The lawmaker told the MDTimes civil servants will take to the streets on the May 1 Labour Day, if the chief executive’s response cannot settle their discontent.

Last Wednesday it was reported that the Civil Service Provident Fund registered a 450 million pataca loss in 2008.

Among the investment portfolio, the Global Fund and the Global Bond Fund lost respectively 417 million patacas and 42.3 million patacas, whilst the bank deposit package survived by making a nine million pataca gain.

The annual report also showed that in 2008 the net asset which could be used for welfare distribution was worth 1.36 billion patacas, representing an overall increase of 28 million patacas in value throughout the year.

The Civil Service Provident Fund was introduced in 2007, and as at the end of last year, a total of 10,500 members have joined the scheme.

On the other hand, lawmakers Kwan Tsui Hang, Leong Iok Wa and Lee Chong Cheng will ask the chief executive about employment policy and public housing.

Their focus will be on how to ensure locals a “stable living and a job” by combating illegal workers and reducing imported ones, as well as by accelerating the construction of economic and social housing so as to push down property prices to a “reasonable level”.

Ung Choi Kun is concerned about the progress of the 2009 policy address and Mr Ho’s experience over 10 years of policy making.

Tsui Wai Kwan will question the SAR government of what solid measures will be in force to support local society during the hard times of the global financial crisis.

In addition, Jose Chui Sai Peng is keen to know the overall arrangements for the regional cooperation with the Pearl River Delta, while Lei Pui Lam is planning to ask the cooperation concept with Hengqin Island of Zhuhai.

According to the Macao Daily News, it is predicted that Mr Ho will talk about the newest cash handout scheme for local residents this year at the legislature’s plenary meeting.



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