CCAC logs 160 election campaign complaints

Friday, September 11, 2009
Issue 816, Page 2
Word count: 682
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) had so far received nearly 160 complaints against the legislative election campaign, said the Deputy Commissioner.

The CCAC held a seminar at the University of Macau yesterday, where Alfred Cheung, a film director, playwright, producer and artist from Hong Kong, was invited to share with few hundreds of young students about the importance of having a clean election.

On the sidelines of the event CCAC Deputy Commissioner Chan Seak Hou told reporters as of Wednesday, the graft buster had received almost 160 complaints in relation to the direct legislative election campaign which was started on September 5.

“A majority of them were about irregular propaganda, such as posting campaign posters on forbidden places or involving in commercial activities,” Mr Chan said.

He also said that about 20 cases involving over 300 items of irregularities had been transferred to the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), as it is part of the EAC’s duties to deal with irregular propaganda.

“When comparing the numbers of complaints received this year and in 2005, a notable decrease can be seen. To date, only three cases have been placed on file for investigation which is still below the number registered four years ago,” the Deputy Commissioner added.

Mr Chan said the initial anti-electoral corruption work was mainly about education and publicity campaign, whilst these days when the election is around the corner, the CCAC is concentrating on investigations and reinforcing efforts to combat irregularities.

When asked about the Audit Commission’s report on the Motor Vehicle Valuation Committee, Mr Chan said the CCAC is currently following up the case and cannot yet reveal any details.

“Lying is the origin of corruption”

According to the latest voter register, voters at age 18 to 24 account for nearly 14,000.

In order to raise young voters’ awareness of elections and electoral corruption, the CCAC invited Alfred Cheung from Hong Kong to speak to the local university students.

Despite Mr Cheung is not an “expert” of anti-corruption, he told the reporters this was his “social responsibility” to express his feeling on anti-corruption since he sees himself as “a kind of celebrity”.

“Voting is the sacred responsibility of every citizen. I urge all Macau voters to try their best to go to vote,” he said.

“Every time when I went to vote I would bring my son along even though he didn’t yet have the right to vote. It’s a way to tell him what civic awareness is and what kinds of rights he has,” he added.

According to this Hong Kong “celebrity”, Macau youth are more “simple-minded” than those in Hong Kong, and it could be a “disadvantage when the city is small.

“Everybody knows each other and people may be afraid of reporting someone they know to CCAC, social justice will be at stake,” Mr Cheung said.

“Macau is a very small place. You can’t distinguish between relationships and law and order or justice. If your friends committed crime, are you going to report it?” he added.

Therefore, he believed that Macau needs more reinforcement in publicity campaigns, and can use CCAC as a “tool” to educate people.

“I want young people to know that if they get something that doesn’t belong to them, the cost will be massive,” he explained.

When asked how the Ao Man Long case would affect Macau, Mr Cheung said it showed that “even if you were holding a high status job and could get something very easily, the consequence is there and is very real.

“In the beginning the impact could be negative and big, but in a long-term it would give a positive implication to young people,” he said.

To Mr Cheung, a honest person tends to be less likely to engage in corruption.

“If [a celebrity] tries to justify a lie by using some ‘beautiful reasons’, young people will learn from it and think that corruption can be covered up by lies,” he said.

“Lying is the origin of corruption, people who are used to lying will not be aware of the problems of taking or giving bribes,” he added.

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