123 candidates lining up to race for 12 direct legislative seats

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Issue 762, Page 3 & 4
Word count: 1321
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The 4th Legislative Assembly Election this September will be a head-on competition as up to 123 candidates will race for the merely 12 directly elected seats.

The numbers of lists and candidates this year are both below those of the 3rd election in 2005, in which the lists and candidates went down respectively from 18 to 16 and from 125 to 123.

Yet, more young and new faces are being seen at the same time, which may bring additional excitement to the lead up to the September 20 election.

As for the indirectly elected seats, the situation is the same as in the last election, in which only one candidates list was designated from each of the four functional constituencies and thus the 10 candidates are almost guaranteed to win.

Meanwhile, the last three nominating committees going to run for the direct ballot delivered their lists of candidates and political platforms to the Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau (SAFP) just before the deadline yesterday.

Multicultural list

“Voz Plural – Gentes de Macau” (Plural Voices of Macau) was the first among the three groups.

Represented by 12 candidates who are from different ethnic backgrounds including Macanese, Portuguese and Filipino, this is the team’s first attempt to enter the Legislative Assembly.

Casimiro Pinto, a 38-year-old Chinese and Portuguese interpreter and translator for the SAFP, is the first candidate of “Voz Plural – Gentes de Macau”, while Jorge Godinho and Jenny Oliveros Lao are the second and third on the list.

The other members on the list are respectively Paula Carion, Mario Evora, Isabela Manhao, Rodantes Quejano, Pedro Lobo, Sharoz Pernencar, Guiomar Pedruco, Chiang Tai Chi and Herman Comandante.

According to Mr Pinto, “Voz Plural – Gentes de Macau” believes that the government has to increase efforts in human resources training, such as through setting up new schools or faculties in the University of Macau.

In addition, with Macau moving towards an international city, Mr Pinto said more Macau people should have the knowledge of different languages namely Putonghua, Portuguese and English.

The multicultural list also supports the establishment of a new hospital, and is concerned about education and employment situation for the young generation.

In the political platform, Mr Pinto and his team suggests to increase the number of direct legislative seats to 18, which is part of the steps to attain a democratic political system in Macau.

“We want the government to evaluate in the next 10 years which kinds of industries will in need of professionals, so that relevant support and assistance can be provided appropriately in order to attract more young people to enter those sectors and receive training,” Mr Pinto said.

“We also hope to pay attention to the problems of different communities…and look for solutions so that they can all co-exist harmoniously and contribute to Macau together,” he added.

Youth, family and police affairs

“Equipa de Justica Social” (Justice in Community) is represented by 10 candidates who are concerned about youth problems, education, family harmony, and also the gaming industry moving into the community.

Kent Yuen Kam Seng, the Macau Police Association’s president, founder of the Flying Eagle training program, and the Macau International Volunteers Association’s chairman, will head the other nine candidates on the list.

The second and third candidates are respectively Sophia Wong Sok Fan, a primary school teacher, and Estanislan Rosario, a police officer.

The other members are Lam Kam Chun, Lei Hoi Ian, Tse Su Peng, Tam Vai Keong, Chow Oi Leng, Mak Siu Ieng and Lou Mei Na.

First candidate Mr Yuen said their participation in the election is driven by two main intentions – to strive for rights and benefits for the youth and also welfare for police officers.

“The government has invested not enough resources and care for young people. In light of the growing rate of juvenile crime, the government must have to be responsible for this,” Mr Yuen said.

“We agree with Chui Sai On’s idea of ‘building harmony together’, but how could we have a harmonious society if there was no harmonious family?” he added.

Meanwhile, “Equipa de Justica Social” aims to fight for a fair treatment for police and public security officers.

Apart from a pay rise, putting a ceiling on working hours and setting up a clinical psychologist counselling mechanism, the political platform suggests the merger of the Judiciary Police and the Public Security Police, the abolishment of the existing immigration controls and a revision of the civil servants’ family, housing and years of service allowances which have been in place for over two decades.

To serve the community, vulnerable groups

“Associacao de Apoio a Comunidade e Proximidades do Povo” (Association of Support for the Community and Proximity of the People) probably has the simplest political platform when compared to its 15 competitors.

Headed by Paul Pun Chi Meng, Caritas Macau’s Secretary General, the list also contains Leong Kam Chun, an accountant, as the second candidate, and then Chan Yuek Bong, an environmental worker, Tong Noi Tong, a member of the Macau Small and Medium Enterprises Association, and also Tereza Lai, a social worker.

In their platform, the group advocates the importance of listening to public opinions and speaking up for residents, monitoring efficiency and transparency in the government’s policy making process, enacting legislation to protect vulnerable groups’ rights and benefits, and also ending monopoly.

At the same time, “Associacao de Apoio a Comunidade e Proximidades do Povo” seeks to create quality education and employment opportunities for the youth, press the government to implement effective and long-term economic measures and to improve people’s livelihood, as well as to increase public awareness on environmental conservation.

“Our platform is rather plain because we believe that at the end of the day we will have to use actions to show our involvement and participation in Macau,” Mr Pun said.

“I hope that we can obtain seats this time in order to serve more different groups in society and introduce more policies for the well being of the people,” he added.

This year is the third time for Mr Pun to run for the direct legislative seats.

Having failed in the past two Legislative Assembly Elections in 2001 and 2005, the Caritas Macau’s Secretary General admitted that it required a lot of courage to participate again this year.

Pro-democracy lists revise platforms

“Associacao de Prospero Macau Democratico” (The Prosperous Democratic Macao Association) leaded by lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong and “Associacao de Novo Macau Democratico” (The New Democratic Macao Association) headed by lawmaker Au Kam San yesterday also went to the SAFP to increase the content of their political platform.

The two lists share the same platform this year with anti corruption, attaining democracy and protecting people’s livelihood as the core aims.

Mr Ng said they decided to add a timetable about achieving universal suffrage into the platform after Chief Executive candidate Fernando Chui Sai On gave a “vague” plan of a democratic political system in his platform on Saturday.

The pro-democracy lists push forward a direct Chief Executive Election in 2019. But before that in 2014 the Chief Executive shall be elected by every Macau citizen, yet the nomination mechanism can remain be open only to the 300-member Election Committee.

In addition, the groups advocates the removal of all the 10 indirectly elected seats and the reduction of the Chief Executive appointed seats in the next Legislative Assembly Election in 2013 in return for more directly elected seats.

Mr Ng said gradually the pro-democracy camp would strive to amend the Basic Law in order to abolish all the remaining Chief Executive appointed seats.

On the other hand, according to the election timetable, the SAFP will need to release details of all the collected candidates lists tomorrow and the final list of accepted candidates will be announced on July 28 the latest.

Afterwards, on July 29 the authority will draw lots to determine each group’s order on the ballot paper.

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