The Macau Government is planning to dissolve the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) and replace the functions under its wing with a new department without effective political power.
The measure was announced yesterday as the local government disclosed documents for a public consultation to be held until November 23 regarding the decision to create a municipal body ‘without political power’.
The department would be considered autonomous from the general administration departments in its activities but with public service functions mandated by the Macau Government.
This new department – to be named the Municipal Institute – is expected to be created at the beginning of 2019 and will be in charge of most of IACM functions in providing cultural services, recreational activities and public hygiene, while also providing reports and opinions on municipal issues.
According to the Chief of Office of the Secretary for Administration and Justice, Iao Man Leng, the “majority” of IACM employees will be transferred to the new department with a “small percentage transferred to other departments . . . The MSAR Government will assure IACM workers’ rights are not affected.”
The operations of the new municipal department will be managed by two councils, a Council for Municipal Administration comprising no more than eight members and responsible for municipal services; and by the Municipal Consultation Council, which will comprise no more than 25 members.
The members of the two councils will be directly appointed by the Chief Executive.
Power to elect electors
The members of the future Municipal Institute’s two councils will also be able to elect two members for the 400-member Electoral Committee that elects the MSAR Chief Executive.
These two representatives will be appointed to the fourth sector of the Chief Executive’s Electoral Committee, with the number of Macau representatives at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference reduced from 16 to 14.
The fourth sector of the CE Electoral Committee is currently composed of 50 members which include 22 representatives of the Legislative Assembly, 12 representatives from the National People’s Congress of China and 16 representatives of Macau at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
The next MSAR Chief Executive elections are slated for 2019.
According to public consultation documents, in the previous Portuguese Government there were ‘two levels of government’ divided into administration and municipal departments.
After the handover to Mainland China in 1999 it was decided that under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy there could only be one level of government, with the previous municipal departments discontinued in 2002 and their functions transferred to IACM.
However, since IACM did not fulfil the definition of a municipal body as defined by the Macau Basic Law – without autonomy or ‘political power’ – and did not contribute members to the CE Electoral Committee, a study was announced in the Government Action Lines (LAG’s) of 2015 to create a new municipal body, with the now announced public consultation coming only two years after.