Lawmakers continued to express disagreements over the minimum age required for the subsidized housing applicants to be eligible for properties under the new Economic Housing Law, as the bill headed into its final approval yesterday at the Legislative Assembly (AL).
Under the law, the government has established a minimum age of 23 for single applicants, while lowering the limit to 18 on households with married people.
Several lawmakers disagreed with such difference saying that the law is establishing an unjustified discriminatory rule. The lawmakers argued that from 18 years of age, any person in Macau is considered an adult with full rights and responsibilities.
Au Kam San, Ng Kuok Cheong, Sulu Sou, José Pereira Coutinho, and Ella Lei all requested the articles detailing this matter be separated from the body of the text and be voted on separately.
Still, the law was passed with the large majority of lawmakers saying they did not see a problem with establishing such a limitation.
Iau Teng Piu was one of the lawmakers that came to the defense of the criteria saying that age is a “relative right”. Iau gave the example of the ban on anyone under the age of 21 from working the gaming floors of casinos, as well as for certain positions in the police forces.
On the government side, Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário replied that the decision from the government to establish such an age criteria had nothing to do with discrimination, but was for practical reasons.
“We needed to choose and define criteria according to the resources we have,” said Rosário. “In the future, we will have 34,000 public housing units and we will have enough resources to consider a different option.”
The Secretary also said that when he announces his sectorial address for 2021 later this year, he hopes to have more news regarding upcoming changes to public tenders for economic and social housing.