Unelected Macau lawmakers lecturing directly elected member on democracy is absurd

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 5:01pm

After years of struggle, unfortunately, universal suffrage in elections for the chief executive and the legislature has not come into effect in Hong Kong and Macau, the two special administrative regions, since their return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 and 1999, respectively.

Thus, a preposterous phenomenon has been particularly apparent in the Legislative Assembly of Macau over the past decade. The controversial “bill of greed and privilege” drafted by the Macau Secretary for Administration and Justice in 2014, for instance, in which high-ranking officials would be compensated after leaving office and the Chief Executive would be granted immunity from criminal prosecution while in office, was absolutely implausible and sparked protests.

The recent travesty wrought by seven appointed members and two indirectly elected members in a Legislative Assembly meeting was indeed a big joke, in which the nine lawmakers berated a directly elected member for being “too playful” and “arrogant”, saying he did not deserve to be a member of a democratic party and it was impossible to put democracy into practice just with slogans in defiance of juridical facts.

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How ridiculous that a directly elected legislator was being taught about democracy by lawmakers who had not themselves gone through a direct election. Their denouncement definitely gained no traction because of their miscomprehension of democracy.

They should learn that the core values of democracy are the interests of the majority, a “one person, one vote” political system, and respect for civil and political rights. A system with appointed lawmakers and indirectly elected members means we actually have no genuine democracy.

As long there is no universal suffrage, episodes of absurdity and illogicality will never vanish in the Legislative Assembly of Macau.

Barnaby Ieong, Macau