Macau’s long-delayed legislation on animal protection is heading for another delay due to procedural matters in the legislature.
The Legislative Assembly’s Rules and Statutes Committee reached a consensus Thursday that a government-drafted bill on protecting animals is a “repeat” of the one unsuccessfully proposed by lawmakers José Pereira Coutinho and Leong Veng Chai in February, the committee’s president, lawmaker-cum-lawyer Vong Hin Fan said.
He said that the according to Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Legislative Assembly Regulations once a bill is rejected by the legislature, it can’t be re-proposed within the same legislative term.
According to Vong, six of the seven committee members attended the meeting.
Vong made the remarks to the media after a closed-door meeting of the committee to continue discussions on whether the bill should be accepted for debate and vote.
Each term lasts one year and the current term will end on August 15 when the summer recess starts.
Vong also said that Legislative Assembly President Ho Iat Seng had not decided yet whether to accept or reject the bill received by the legislature on June 30. He said the committee would submit its report to Ho containing its members’ opinions.
However, Vong did not say when the report would be submitted to Ho.
Local animal rights groups have slammed the government for the years of delay in legislating on animal protection.
“If the bill is rejected by the president [Ho], the government or any lawmaker can propose a similar bill only when the new legislative term starts on October 16,” Vong said.
Vong also said the committee members agreed that neither the government nor lawmakers are allowed to re-propose a bill within the same legislative term, based on Paragraph 1 of Article 109.
Vong also said the committee members agreed that Paragraph 1 of Article 109 is out of synch with several articles in the Basic Law.
“According to the Basic Law, the government has the right to introduce bills and motions and to draft administrative regulations…while the legislature has the right to enact, amend, suspend or repeal laws in accordance with the provisions of the law and legal procedures… the government’s right to propose a bill needs to be protected,” Vong said, adding the committee had not yet discussed whether Paragraph 1 of Article 109 should be amended or not.(macaunews/macaupost)