Constitutional Law expert and former SAR parliament jurist, Paulo Cardinal, revealed in a book released today that the latest revisions to the Macau Legislative Assembly’s bylaws have resulted in a lowering of some parliamentarian powers, such as shortened speaking times and a consequent decreased strength of the bill introduced by the MPs.
At the same time, “the draft laws presented by the government are gaining strength”, Paulo Cardinal explained to Macau News Agency (MNA).
His book ‘Lessons on Legislative Procedure in Macau Parliamentary Law’ available from today at the Portuguese Bookstore, emerged as a “set of notes for students of a legislative procedure class within the courses taken at the Legal and Judicial Training Center”, the author stated.
It is a “radiograph based on a legal analysis of the legislative procedure in Macau”. That is, the path down which a bill introduced by an MP or a government bill travels until it is published in the Official Gazette and eventually becomes law.
Paulo Cardinal is of the opinion that “several of the changes introduced in 2015 and 2017 should be revoked”, thus returning to the previous discipline: “It should return to the substantial, formal and symbolic equalization of MP bills and government bills”, he said.
“Also, the limitations imposed on proposed amendments to MP bills that are not contained in the Basic Law should disappear, because I find them to be in very doubtful conformity with Macau’s Major Law”.
In a more fundamental reform, the author argued that “many other matters should be changed, namely the present system in which a legislative proposal is voted in Plenary without the legal opinion, as brief as it might be, of the Legislative Assembly informing the MPs”.
Among the decisions that “violated Parliament’s Rules of Procedure” were, for example, the refusal to accept a Land Bill; the refusal to accept a proposal to amend the Draft Law regarding the right to public demonstrations; and the refusal of admission of a proposal to amend the draft law on the elderly, when the opinion of the specialized committee itself expressly suggested that MPs could present amendments”, Mr. Cardinal commented.