Government asks Legislative Assembly to suspend discussion of two bills

The Office of the Government Spokesperson holds a press conference at the Government Headquarters.

The Government has submitted a letter to the Legislative Assembly requesting it to remove from its agenda the discussion of two Government-proposed bills. The two bills are: amendments to the Budget for the Fiscal Year of 2019 and amendments to the Law on Combating Computer Crime.

The request was made in accordance with the rules of procedures of the Legislative Assembly, said the Chief Executive, Mr Chui Sai On, in a press conference on Monday (5 August) evening at Government Headquarters.

The two bills were originally scheduled to be discussed on Wednesday (7 August) at a plenary session of the Legislative Assembly.

In Monday’s press conference, the Chief Executive said the Government would first conduct a public consultation on the creation of a proposed Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) investment and development fund. Part of the initial capital for the fund’s management company was proposed to make available via the Budget for the Fiscal Year of 2019.

Mr Chui said members of the public had expressed different opinions regarding the Government’s decision to allocate a total of 60 billion patacas to the company to be established to manage the investment and development fund.

During the public consultation, the Government would explain in detail – and in an objective manner – the bill, in order to provide the public with more information regarding the establishment of the proposed management company. Such consultation process should be carried out before members of the Legislative Assembly start discussing the bill, Mr Chui stated.

The Secretary for Economy and Finance, Mr Leong Vai Tac, said at the press conference that the establishment of such development fund was considered necessary in order to ensure the long-term prosperity of Macao.

Macao’s fiscal reserves had been growing steadily over the years, noted Mr Leong. The Government had taken notice of opinions expressed by members of the public, requesting a more efficient management of the fiscal reserves, eyeing to: ensure the city’s stable economic development; contribute to the city’s adequate economic diversification; and to obtain greater returns from investments, he added.

Mr Leong said the Staff Concluding Statement of the 2014 Article IV Mission – a report on the Macao SAR issued in 2014 by the International Monetary Fund – mentioned that Macao would benefit from establishing a publicly-owned quasi-sovereign wealth fund.

According to Macao’s Five-Year Development Plan, the investment fund was to be set up in 2019, he noted.

Mr Leong stressed the future fund would adopt standards that are recognised internationally, i.e., the “Santiago Principles”. He added that only qualified professionals would be appointed – via an international public recruitment process – to senior positions at the fund’s management company.

Regarding the request to remove from the legislature’s agenda the discussion on the amendments to Law No. 11/2009 on Combating Computer Crime, the Chief Executive said the decision was made because the Secretary for Security would be outside of Macao on the scheduled date for the debate. The participation of the senior official responsible for that bill in the debate would help Legislative Assembly members have a better understanding of the Government’s initiative, as the official would be able to provide detailed explanations on the proposed amendments.

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