Jack Black

jb01-mar06  Ung Vai Meng will continue to serve as president of the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) for another three years. The Times interviewed local figures involved with the arts and culture sector, and the praise for Ung’s work as head of the IC seems to be almost unanimous. For example, local architect Carlos Marreiros sees Ung Vai Meng as “the right man in the right place.” It remains to be seen if the reappointed president will be able to realize some of the projects that have been delayed, such as the Arts Cinema that was expected to open in 2014 near the St. Paul’s Ruins, and the new Central Library that will be built at the old court.

jb02-mar06The First Standing Committee is debating the Domestic Violence Prevention and Correction Law. The Committee, presided over by Kwan Tsui Hang, may be trying to reverse part of the legislation that was previously approved at the AL plenary meeting, where the domestic violence bill passed its first reading. Kwan Tsui Hang is against the article that enables public prosecutors to actively indict perpetrators who have assaulted a family member, resulting in consequences that are “not mild.” The Macau Anti-Domestic Violence Coalition Group is one of the organizations leading the campaign to make domestic violence a public crime. They achieved a half-victory when the government changed its stance and allowed domestic violence to be deemed a public crime in certain situations. A juridical question arises: can committee members make major changes to a law that was already approved by the plenary?

jb03-mar06The Public Security Police (PSP) is making a mistake when it publicly interferes with the legislative process. In a public statement sent to the media, the police stated that resorting to law enforcement should be the last resort in handling domestic violence cases, and that the “victim’s will” should be respected. “The domestic violence law should be focused on maintaining family harmony. Concerning serious cases caused by family members, the victim’s will should be respected,” PSP states. The statement goes on to make a dubious comparison with Portugal, where, according to the local police, “domestic violence is a public crime and the amount of cases has been rising.” “We can conclude that domestic violence being labelled as public crime is not effective when fighting domestic violence.”  This is totally manipulative and wrong. If the number of cases has risen in Portugal it’s because people are more aware of the seriousness of domestic violence. Before, there were probably countless cases that went unreported. The recently appointed PSP Commissioner Leong Man Cheong should take responsibility for this statement, which constitutes an illegitimate attempt to interfere with the legislative process. If PSP wants to raise these concerns, it should do so in private meetings with the lawmakers, but never publicly. With what authority will they now be able to enforce the new law? by Paulo Barbosa

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