Macau bill gives immunity to chief executive in office
Thursday, May 22, 2014
A bill to exempt the Macau chief executive from criminal liability during his term of office will be passed into law in Macau next week - after it sailed through a committee at Macau's Legislative Assembly yesterday.
The bill will be put to the assembly for debate and vote as early as next week. The bill is widely expected to be passed with the majority support of pro-government lawmakers.
It was drafted by Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan Lai-man and tabled for scrutiny about a month ago.
Under section four of the bill, the chief executive - currently Fernando Chui Sai-on - would be exempt from any criminal proceedings during his term of office.
The bill states the outgoing chief executive who completes his tenure of five years or more would receive a payment equivalent to 70 percent of his or her monthly salary.
The bill covers pay for a chief executive-designate, who would receive a monthly payment equivalent to 90 percent of the incumbent's salary before officially taking office.
It states principal officials-designate would receive a similar payment capped at 70 percent.
Jose Pereira Coutinho, a directly elected legislator in the 33-member Legislative Assembly, yesterday expressed worries that Macau's chief executive could not be held accountable if he or she is involved in corruption.
"It is unreasonable to give the chief executive immunity from criminal prosecution during the term of office," he said.
"The bill means that a chief executive could not be prosecuted even if he or she accepts bribes during the term of office. How can we make the prosecution if he or she flees immediately after completing tenure?"
He expected the bill would be passed, as most legislators are appointed by the chief executive or elected in indirect election.
Another lawmaker, Ng Kuok- cheong, opposed the passage of the bill. "We demand the Macau government to launch public consultation on the bill," he said.
A group of Macau bloggers plan to stage a rally on Sunday to demand the government shelve the bill immediately.
The bloggers likened the passage of the bill to "robbing taxpayers money."