With the support of 20 lawmakers, a motion submitted by grassroots legislators Paul Chan Wai Chi and Antonio Ng Kuok Cheong to hold a debate on the protection of Coloane’s island landscape was passed by the legislature Wednesday.
There were just two abstentions – by businessmen Cheang Chi Keong and Ung Choi Kun – with no lawmakers opposing the motion.
Chan said the reason that the duo proposed the motion was to designate Coloane island as an ecological protection zone.
“Coloane is known to locals as Macau’s back garden, which [President] Xi Jinping said should be protected,” Chan was quoted by The Macau Post Daily as saying.
“Future planning should be protecting it by making it an ecological zone where no more high-rise buildings should be built” he said.
Xi visited Macau in 2009 in his then capacity as the nation’s vice-president.
After the vote, Ng told reporters he was happy and not surprised to see that the motion was passed, adding that it was an indication that lawmakers are willing to take a stand on contentious issues that greatly affect the public.
“It’s true that many lawmakers supported debating the issue. But this does not mean that they will wholeheartedly support things like not allowing large construction projects. [But] they still can freely express their opinions,” said Ng. “But I believe that lawmakers agreeing to protect Coloane is of great public interest… so they are willing to have a debate on it.”
Lawmaker-cum-businessman Kou Hoi In echoed Ng’s comments, saying it only meant that lawmakers were willing to debate the issue without necessarily lending their support to designating Coloane as an ecological protection zone.
Ng said he hoped that through this debate, the government will understand what the public wants to preserve Coloane’s natural environment.
Legislative Assembly (AL) President Lau Cheok Va said that the debate would be held “at a later date.” He did not elaborate.(macaunews)