Commissioner Against Corruption Vasco Fong Man Chong said Tuesday that if the government decided to amend the Legislative Assembly Election Law, he believed it was the right time now to re-assess the role that Macau’s gaming operators play in the election.
Fong made the suggestion on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony for six new prosecutors in the Public Prosecution Office (MP) in Nape.
His remarks quoted by The Macau Post Daily came in response to reports that several gaming operators provided free shuttle buses for their employees to get to the polling stations during Sunday’s election.
He maintained that he was not trying to bar gaming operators from being involved, but rather calling for the government to re-assess the levels of their involvement in the election.
“… I want to say that the gaming operators certainly play a role in the process of the direct [legislative] election, but I think the public needs to think about whether it is a good thing or a bad thing if they have so much involvement,” said Fong.
“By no means am I trying to bar them from taking part [in the election], but in the past when it [Macau’s casino sector] was still a monopoly, gaming operators were not allowed to be directly involved in the election. Now, it has been liberalised. We need to think about how much involvement they [gaming operators] have…”
Fong also said that if the Legislative Assembly Election Law would be amended, it should be changed in a way that candidate groups’ nomination committees would be required to disclose to the Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Committee (CAEAL) which civic associations are related to, or supportive of the group.
He argued his suggestion would mean that the CAEAL could better monitor civic associations’ activities in the run-up to, or during the campaign period, saying that the associations related to any candidate groups should be prohibited from providing anything that could entice voters.
“I believe that the so-called ‘dining and wining’ culture [i.e. providing potential voters with free meals and goodies] would be strictly regulated by then,” said Fong, adding he believed that such measures could tackle election fraud and reduce vote rigging.
Any amendment to the law would have to be passed by the legislature.(macaunews)