Macau | Graft watchdog involvement in urban renewal for better monitor – deputy commissioner

Macau (MNA) – The involvement of the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) in drafting the bill of temporary and replacement housings for urban renewal affected property owners would allow better monitoring over policy execution by public departments, the head of the Administration Appeal Bureau and also deputy commissioner of the CCAC, Lam Chi Long said on Friday.

The Macau SAR Government held another meeting on Friday with the media following the first announcement of the bill last Tuesday.

The bill suggested the introduction of the aforementioned housing for affected owners of the urban renewal plan as well as for buyers of the aborted Pearl Horizon residential project to rent or purchase.

After the press conference on Tuesday, many had raised doubts over the seemingly important role of CCAC in drafting the bill in question.

Lam responded that the government’s organisational rules does not prohibit the CCAC to partake policy making, while noting that the department mainly monitors administrative behaviour.

“The function of the CCAC is to monitor administrative behaviour [of both public and private sectors] and it is not necessarily to also monitor how a policy is made,” said Mr Lam.

The deputy commissioner also noted that his previous experiences in urban renewal has prompted him “considering the responsibility to dedicate” himself in the drafting procedures.

Lam had previously involved in drafting the ‘urban renewal policy prior to the establishment of Urban Renewal Committee in 2016.

Lau Pun Lap, consultant of the government’s Office of Policy Studies, added that Mr. Lam had participated in the meetings between the government and the affected buyers of Pearl Horizon, arguing Mr Lam’s familiarities over the matters.

Lam also pointed out that it is not the first time that the CCAC had involved in legislative works, noting that he previously had also involved in the drafting of the bills relating to the property declaration and election law.

“Reasonable” compensation

In the wake of the bill’s announcement, significant concerns had been placed upon the amount of compensation that affected owners would receive, with some worrying that the amount might not be adequate enough for owners to purchase a new property.

The bill stated that the amount of compensation should ‘technically set based on the market price of the original property’.

The CCAC deputy commissioner proclaimed that the amount of compensation should be set “reasonable” in order to attract owners to partake the urban renewal plan.

He stressed that the market price of the original property would only be used as a basis or a reference, while adding that the amount of compensation should be regulated by the principal law of urban renewal, which the government at present has no timetable on drafting the principal law.

Research body appointed

The director of Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT), Li Canfeng, said they have appointed a research body to carry out study on the approval ratio of ownership for reconstruction.

The ratio of ownership to approve reconstruction of old properties have long been a challenging problem to resolve in drafting the principal urban renewal law.

Li said they will later hold public consultation sessions after the research result is readied.