AL Plenary | ‘No timetable to review the Land Law for the time being,’ CE clarifies

Chui Sai On (left) and Ho Iat Seng

The Chief Executive (CE), Chui Sai On,  was at the Legislative Assembly (AL) to attend the penultimate session of the legislative year, answering the questions of 30 lawmakers on topics related to the policy address of the year.

Land, housing and projects related to the “Greater Bay Area” initiative dominated the attention of the majority of the lawmakers once again.

Hot topics of the day included the Land Law and the consequences of enforcement regarding the reclamation of land plots where concessions have expired, as well as issues relating to government land deals (such as the Iec Long Firecracker Factory in Taipa or the Alto de Coloane) which have been targeted by the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC).

Ella Lei, Sulu Sou, Mak Soi Kun and Zheng Anting were among the lawmakers who questioned the CE on the topic, receiving similar replies.

When answering Sou and Lei, Chui said, “After the reports [from the CCAC] and after listening to the opinion of the Public Prosecutions Office, we have initiated the process [for] recovering the land plots. […] If the other parties do not agree, they can resort to the courts to contest [the government action].”

In his reply to Sou, the CE added, “We have been solving many problems related [to] the lands in this mandate, and always under the rule of law.”

Chui noted that this also occurs in cases in which the government has not yet taken possession of land plots. “Procedures that are still running,” he said, reaffirming the government’s continuation of such processes and that, “if needed, we will follow with the legal procedures [in the courts].”

When addressing doubts over possible government preparations for a review of the Land Law and questions from Zheng and Mak, the CE clarified, “There is no timetable to review the land law for the time being.”

When replying to Mak’s questions, the CE said, “Macau is a territory ruled by the rule of law and to resort to the courts to solve disputes is the base of the rule of law. This is the only way to solve these problems.” He added that regarding the Sin Fong Garden situation, the government had already concluded proceedings and had authorized the demolition and reconstruction of the building. “But there are two cases [before the] courts regarding the surveys done to the building. So, it’s not convenient to advance with the new construction at this stage,” Chui said, leaving the promise, “once these [court cases] are resolved, the government will proceed with and support the reconstruction.”

The CE clarified the continuation of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. Upon questioning by lawmaker Agnes Lam, the CE replied, saying, “[the] LRT is a very important structure for Macau. The government will not abandon the plan to build the LRT Peninsula line. We are going to give priority to the works to connect Taipa [line] to the Peninsula and then, in the future, [to the line that connects Barra to the [Outer Harbor] Ferry terminal, continuing afterwards with the expansion of the rails to all Macau.”

On the same topic, Chui reaffirmed his trust that the Taipa line will still begin operation in 2019.
Lam also questioned the government’s decision not to abide by the ruling of the Court of Final Appeal, which ruled that the tender for the construction of an LRT system depot needed to be reassessed after one of the interested parties claimed that there had been an incorrect calculation of the company’s points performance in the bid. The CE did not provide a comment.

Although lawmakers had raised many similar questions on the “Greater Bay Area” in April, when the CE last participated in a plenary session, the answers remained the same, with the CE putting replies “on hold” until, as he said, “Central government releases the development plans for the area.” Nevertheless, Chui advised that the government “will create a new public department in charge of managing all the topics related [to] the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau bay area.”

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