Coutinho doubtful Ho Iat Seng will make senior officials more accountable

As the time approaches for sole Chief Executive candidate Ho Iat Seng to step into office, José Pereira Coutinho hopes that the new government can push forward the accountability of high- ranking officials. However, the lawmaker does not express confidence in Ho in terms of this outcome.

“I can’t accept that all meetings of the standing committees of the Legislative Assembly are closed-doors,” the lawmaker said. “The speech of the chairman of the standing committees following every meeting can’t represent all lawmakers. And [to] the media, please interview other members of the committees as well instead of just listening to the speech of the Chairman of the committees.”

The lawmaker hopes that Ho’s government will not claim to simply “study” the high-ranking officials’ accountability.

“I hope we won’t be ‘always studying’. Macau already has many studies,” said Coutinho. “How many study centers and how many studies are there in Macau? How many billions have been spent on ‘studies’?”

Moreover, Coutinho hopes that Ho Iat Seng can carry out administrative reform. Ho said on the weekend that administrative reform would be his priority in the years ahead.

“The biggest failure of the SAR government in the past 20 years is secretaries being able to do anything but not being held accountable when they make mistakes,” said the lawmaker.

Coutinho continues to want the government to build dormitories for civil servants. However, Ho has already made it clear that he disagrees with the idea of a civil servant dormitory.

“Ho Iat Seng said that he will not build civil servants’ dormitories. Then, please remove the benefits for high-ranking officials. What’s the difference between first-level civil servants and third-level civil servants?” asked Coutinho.

“First-tier civil servants have stand-alone houses, a retirement pension, housing subsidies, money for socializing, fly first class, have cooks, have domestic helpers, have cars, have drivers, have bodyguards,” said Pereira Coutinho, adding “second-tier civil servants do not have a retirement pension, do not have houses. Third-tier civil servants have hourly salaries and nothing else.”

Coutinho also wants the new government to use civil servants wisely instead of placing some of them in unimportant positions.

“Why do overlapping functions have to be talked about for 20 years and still remain unsolved? Because corruption can’t be canceled. Even Singapore, the cleanest government in the world, will not dare to say that there is no corruption in its country,” said Coutinho.

The lawmaker used the Singaporean example to explain that the Macau government should not hide civil servants without using them, keeping them in their positions until it’s their due time to retire.

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