Backlash halts govt traffic law consultation

2018-06-12 08:00     Comment:1

The Transport Bureau (DSAT) said in a statement last night that as “the public had already expressed a lot of views” after the announcement of its plan to consult the public on the drafting of a bill to amend the current Road Traffic Law last Tuesday, the government has decided to halt the public consultation.

The Transport Bureau last Tuesday announced in a press conference that the government would launch a two-month public consultation on June 28 on the drafting of a bill amending the current Road Traffic Law, with the aim of combating traffic offences more effectively and thereby improving the city’s road safety.

The amendment bill proposes that the penalties for various traffic violations be raised significantly, such as illegal parking, speeding and drink-driving, according to the press conference.

The amendment bill proposes that the fine for illegal parking be raised to 600 patacas from 300 patacas, as well as an increase in the fine for parking cars at a parking meter without paying the parking fee, be raised from 150 patacas to 300 patacas.

The fine hike proposal had already received a huge backlash from the public since its announcement last week.

Last night’s statement underlined that the government would review the content of the public consultation document before asking the public for their views again, adding that the government always listens to residents.

In a press conference yesterday by the Macau Community Development Initiative (MCDI) at the grassroots group’s premises in Iao Hon, the group’s director Jeremy Lei Man Chao said that the fine hike proposal for illegal parking was just the government’s way of hiding its incompetence in the provision of a good public transport system, adding that it was moving the spotlight from the problems of inadequate parking spots, and inconsistent government policies.

Lei asked rhetorically that if the government was aiming to discourage people from using vehicles, why didn’t they just raise the fuel duty or the vehicle import duty.

He noted that the measure would drive up the rent and market price of private parking spaces amid the already soaring property prices.

Lawmaker Antonio Ng Kwok Cheong said that he agreed with increasing the fine for driving under the influence and speeding, as those are related to safety. Referring to parking, he said that many residents wanted their cars in a legitimate public parking spot; however, as there were not enough spaces, “they didn’t have the opportunity to obey the law”.

Ng said that the fine hike was like trying to rob local residents, adding that the government was out of touch.

He said that the government originally planned have the light rapid transit (LRT), the city’s first railway transportation project, completed and operational by 2014, but however, it is now 2018 and well overdue.

He described the government’s planning and management of public transportation as a “total failure” and “a mess”.

The Macau Community Development Initiative last week announced that it would hold a demonstration this Saturday against the government’s proposal to significantly raise the fine for illegal parking.

The group told The Macau Post Daily last night the demonstration would go ahead despite he government’s halting the public

The demonstration will start at Vasco da Gama Garden on Saturday. March-goers should start gathering there at 3 p.m. and the demonstration would start at 4 p.m. marching
to the Government Headquarters to hand in a petition.

Lawmaker Antonio Ng Kwok Cheong speaks during yesterday’s press conference at the premises of the Macau Community Development Initiative (MCDI) in Iao Hon.Photo: Joel Chu


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