Our Desk | Politicians make their points more clearly if given less time

Julie Zhu

The Legislative Assembly (AL) recently passed a proposal which suggests an amendment of AL procedures.

The original draft of the bill included 24 detailed proposals which  included; banning lawmakers from displaying banners during AL meetings, shortening lawmakers’ oral inquiry time from the current five minutes to three minutes and removing the restrictions on the length of time of some sessions of the lawmakers’ inquiries to government representatives (lawmakers currently have 30 minutes to question the government regarding its works). These examples stand among other amendments which either shorten or extend the lawmakers’ inquiry time.

Besides the proposal withdrawn during the AL plenary meeting that took place last Friday, the remaining 23 proposals still triggered great debates among lawmakers and also the public, including the New Macau Association, which completely opposed every proposal brought to the table.

As a person who, once in a while, witnesses the entire process of an AL meeting, I support some of the proposals with every fiber of my being.

The one that I find genius, or at least kind from whoever brought it up, is the proposal to shorten the length of time of the lawmakers’ oral inquiry.

I have attended many AL meetings, including the government’s policy addressing sessions, which are tediously long.

Sometimes they are short, and normally that happens when a minority of lawmakers who proposed a few topics did not prepare a speech to read, which means everyone talks and expresses opinions in a straightforward and simple fashion.

However, most of the meetings end up being very long, consisting mostly of a big show where almost every single actor is well-prepared, and where every member of the cast also knows that everyone else is well-prepared. The performance is reminiscent of the movies except in this case the actors are worse at acting.

Shortening the lawmaker’s inquiry time will probably be good for everyone who is involved. Regarding the lawmakers, whether they know or not that their inquiries might be fake, big, and empty, shortening their speech time will likely force them to come up with more efficient and concise inquiries.

I suppose that the Macau public is familiar enough with the locals’ famous speech style, which takes years of training until people can eventually get rid of all necessary things and replace them with everything that is pointless and superfluous.

The proposal suggesting the shortening of lawmakers’ window of opportunity does not affect the government representatives and because of this inequality I tend to agree with lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong’s stance, alongside the New Macau Association, to not change any of the rules because it simply grants the government more time to deliver their discourses.

Personally, I am not interested in arguing about anything the public or the lawmakers are concerned about in terms of the lawmakers’ rights. I am just posing a request asking that both the lawmakers and the government representatives, during their talking time, say more understandable things with a meaning that is easier to grasp.

Seldom does someone answer a yes or no question in a straightforward manner. Most of the time, upon being asked a question about art, they (lawmakers and government representatives) start a dissertation on Mozart.

Hence, AL; it is not a question of time, it is a question of content. 

Categories Opinion