Rear Window | Sulu Sou game changer

Severo Portela

Sulu Sou took no time in looking around and warming himself to the technicalities and subtleties – if we are to term it “protocol”- of the role of a directly-elected lawmaker in the Legislative Assembly. He was/is more than ready to work the floor with the same rules and procedures his fellow legislators have to follow. Since day one he proved himself to be a true game changer arriving at the House of the Nam Van Lakes.

As first blood, the pro-democracy rising star and AL rookie managed to challenge the opacity surrounding the tabling of policies, making the most of the new asymmetrical reality binding indirectly-elected, appointed and directly-elected legislators respectively. He can work the system.

Sulu Sou takes each and every window of opportunity to swiftly put forward his ideas; always abiding by formalities and civilities, while holding firmly against contestation, trickery and provocation. Ice cold Sulu Sou can stand the heat!

Obviously a politically seasoned activist and community organizer, the NMA board director  stood up to a crucial test, or political trial, when he took the opportunity to directly question Chief Executive Chui Sai On in a manner deemed “fierce”. Fierce here is a euphemism for the standard and polite inquiry made regarding political responsibilities for the Hato disaster and sequels; fierce here is a direct call for accountability. “You did not even express a single word admitting your (political) responsibilities for the Hato disaster”. Sulu knows how to strike a chord with the people, seeking political responsibilities beyond the functional responsibilities of the disgraced chief meteorologist.

One would say he passed the test! But the pro-democracy lawmaker could have his mandate suspended to enable him to be put on trial. He is accused of civil disobedience in a case related to a demonstration organized by the New Macau Association in May 2016 over a 100 million donation to Jinan University.

The Legislative Assembly, aware of the type of offence and penal framework, has to decide if the Sulu Sou mandate can be suspended to enable the NMA legislator to face immediate trial, or not to suspend the mandate, thereby delaying the trial for a time when Sulu is no longer a lawmaker. Here we have an anxious and perhaps unfounded doubt that comes to mind – in four years will Sulu be fit for reelection?

That is to say if half plus one of the plenary votes do not endorse the suspension of mandate, Sulu Sou will carry on his duty with a Sword of Damocles hanging over his head. The other way around, he faces a first instance trial: no one seems to have considered whether if there is an appeal would the suspension itself become suspended?

Together with Sulu, former NMA leader Scott Chiang – Kam Sut Leng was elected as the new president – is answering to qualified disobedience. If the accusation is to be split, Sulu will know in advance how heavy will be his Damocles. In this environment, the policy sectorial guidelines lose some of their glitter.

Regardless of the merits or demerits of the qualified disobedience criminal case, the situation of a Macau lawmaker facing the possibility of disfranchisement by a court of law looks like an extreme and a totally unnecessary HK Legco copycat. In Hong Kong, the outcome took the form of a shot at the filibustering political tool.

In Macau, we foresee nothing good if Sulu goes. Indeed, according to newspaper Hoje Macau, another case sits in the pipeline: Secretary for Transportation and Public Works, Raimundo Rosário, could have filed a defamation complaint against veteran democrat lawmaker Au Kam San. Au, in his role as vice-president of a grassroots association complained about lack of due diligence in the repossession of 15 undeveloped plots.

We hope this is not Pandora´s Box.

Categories Opinion