Ho pledges to streamline public administration

2019-08-11 08:00     Comment:1

During a Q&A session with members of the Chief Executive Election Committee, chief executive candidate Ho Iat Seng said yesterday that his government – if he succeeds in his election bid – will streamline Macau’s public administration system.

The Chief Executive Electoral Affairs Commission held a public session yesterday – the first day of the chief executive election campaign period – for Ho, the sole candidate, to present his political platform to the Chief Executive Election Committee members and answer their questions. The election campaign period runs until August 23, while the election will take place on August 25.

Yesterday’s candidacy platform presentation-cum-Q&A session – which started at 10 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m. – at the Macau East Asian Games Dome in Cotai was, according to government-owned broadcaster TDM, attended by 248 of the 400-member Chief Executive Election Committee, from which Ho obtained 379 nominations.

Directly translated from its Chinese title, Ho’s election campaign platform is headlined “Synergies, Advancing Bravely, Reforms and Innovation”.

Ho’s election as Macau’s third chief executive is a fait accompli. He will be Macau’s third chief executive, succeeding Fernando Chui Sai On on December 20.

Streamlining PA
Election Committee member Kun Sai Hoi from the professional sector asked about measures to reform the city’s public administration (PA).

Ho noted that the definition of a public servant in Macau is broader than in other countries and regions, as in Macau it also includes medical staff in public hospitals and teaching staff in the public education sector, adding that the number of Macau’s public
servants stands at some 38,000.

Ho underlined that incorruptibility and integrity should always come first for public servants. Ho said that while that there is the widespread view in civil society that Macau’s public administration is not clean, he believed that the special administrative region’s widely perceived poor efficiency of its public administration is caused by certain systemic problems and the government’s approval process for certain services for its citizens, which he said might cause residents to have doubts about the public administration’s integrity.

Ho said that the Macau government has over 60 bureaus and other bureau-level entities, while the central government in Beijing has only 26 ministries that are “administering [a country with] a population of 1.4 billion”. Ho said the point in Macau is that some government entities might overlap each other, and certain overlapping functions and powers might exist in the public administration. Ho said that consequently Macau’s public administration structure needed to be streamlined.

In Macau’s public administration system, bureaus and bureau-level entities are overseen by either one of the government’s five policy secretaries or directly by the chief executive.

“There are too many bureaus in Macau. One particular matter may need to pass through several bureaus before it can be completed, which slows down the process. The government will need to study whether to appropriately change the public administration structure,” Ho said.

Ho said that his future public administration reform drive would not only focus on streamlining procedures and limiting the number of public servants, but also on “devolving more powers” to lower level entities and officials. Ho, 62, said that for certain matters, higher level officials should devolve more powers to their subordinates. “Only after one has been given more powers, will he or she have more responsibilities,” Ho said, adding that the overlapping powers and responsibilities among different officials in Macau currently appear to confuse them.

Ho, a former speaker of the Legislative Assembly, urged Macau’s 38,000 public servants to join him in reforming the public administration “well”.

Chief executive candidate Ho Iat Seng announces his political platform during a meeting with members of the Chief Executive Election Committee at the East Asian Games Dome in Cotai yesterday. – Xinhua

Chief executive candidate Ho Iat Seng (right) answers questions from members of the Chief Executive Election Committee, as Chief Executive Electoral Affairs Commission President Song Man Lei (left), who oversees the chief execution election process, looks on, during yesterday’s candidacy-platform-presentation-cum-Q&A session at the Macau East Asian Games Dome in Cotai. Photo: GCS


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