By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Government’s decision to drop the light rail exhibition gallery is welcomed by lawmakers, who believe that promoting the transportation inside neighbourhoods will give a more effective outcome for less cost.
Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On told reporters on Sunday before departing for Sichuan that upon the suggestion from secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io, the SAR Government agreed to freeze the construction project of the light rail exhibition gallery.
The light rail exhibition currently at the Science Centre will be retained, the chief executive added. But he did not disclose what made the Government change its mind.
Last Friday a number of lawmakers spoke out against the exhibition gallery at the Legislative Assembly, criticising the necessity of the project that could cost the Government between MOP 50 million and MOP 80 million.
Ung Choi Kun was the lawmaker who raised the issue in his oral interpellation. Speaking to the Macau Daily Times, Ung said he is delighted to see that the Government could analysis the matter and the lawmakers’ opinions based on the principles of a sunshine Government and scientific decision-making.
Yet, Ung said he was not caught by surprise and believed the Government’s decision was not a hasty one.
He pointed out that his oral interpellation was written on May 24 and during the past one and a half months, society had also discussed the construction plan.
“In other way around if the plenary meeting was held on May 26 and then as soon as on May 28 the Government said it was going to halt the construction, the decision may have come too suddenly to me,” Ung said.
“It would make more sense to say that the Government had been working on the issue since May [after receiving my inquiry] and after listening to the lawmakers’ opinions last week it finally determined to freeze the project,” he added.
The lawmaker advised officials to be more “mindful” when looking at issues, in a bid to prevent the same situation from happening again where a project has to be terminated at the end despite all the previous hard work on the preparation.
In addition, Ung Choi Kun told the MDT the key is “administrative coordination” and to have accountability mechanisms, besides public consultations.
Secretary Lau Si Io said last week that 30 percent of local people interviewed were not aware of the light rail routes. Still, Ung believed that it is “meaningless” to build an exhibition gallery in Taipa, but will be more effective to go inside the neighbourhoods to explain and promote the light rail transit to the public.
Meanwhile, Au Kam San also recognised the timely response from the Government, hoping that this kind of “positive interaction” between the administration and the legislature can be continued in the future.
Au told the MDT that maintaining transparency in Government affairs is fundamental to a sunshine Government. He pointed out that a budget framework law that requires the Government to apply with the legislature for funding for projects over a certain budget will allow the public to be aware of what the Government is working on as well as arouse discussions in society.
Since the exhibition targets local people, Au Kam San believed that launching publicity campaigns inside the communities will be more practical than building a gallery in Pac On.
The Old Neighbourhood Renewal Committee Building in Iao Ion and the “glass pavilion” (exhibition centre) near the Kun Iam Statue in Nape are some of the places that Au said can be used to hold related exhibitions.