Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon said on Thursday the government would consider charging fees for civil service admission examinations.
The policy secretary said that the fees were not meant to cover the government’s cost of running admission examinations to recruit public servants, but instead aimed to tackle the issue of low attendance rates in public servant recruitment examinations.
Cheong made the remarks when replying to an oral interpellation by directly-elected lawmaker-cum-civil leader Si Ka Lon during a plenary session in the legislature’s hemicycle.
Si pointed out that the government has previously said that it would study how to improve the issue of low attendance rates in civil service admission examinations, and he asked Cheong whether the government has finished analysing the matter.
In his reply, Cheong admitted that public servant recruitment examinations have had low attendance rates. Cheong said that according to official data, the average attendance rate of the three comprehensive ability assessment examinations held between March 2018 and March this year was 60 per cent, while 133 professional or occupational ability assessment examinations were conducted during the period by the respective public entities wishing to recruit public servants. According to Cheong, 60 per cent of the 133 examinations had an attendance rate of over 60 per cent, while fewer than 10 per cent had an attendance rate of less than 40 per cent.
The current public servant recruitment examination comprises two parts, namely a comprehensive ability assessment examination for all applicants, and professional or occupational ability assessment examinations conducted by the respective entities.
Cheong said that the government was studying the feasibility of charging civil service admission examination applicants “a certain amount” as a registration fee, with the aim of improving the government’s efficacy to recruit public servants, adding that the government was studying the possible amendments to the relevant laws and regulations. He also said that the government was referencing the civil service admission examination regulations in other jurisdictions.
Cheong insisted that the possible fees were not meant to “offset” the government’s cost of organising civil service admission examinations, but to ensure that only those who are really interested in competing with other candidates and willing to devote time and effort to prepare for an examination will apply to sit it.
Cheong also admitted that it currently takes a long time for the government to recruit public servants. “It usually takes a year or a year and a half from the launch of an examination each time to the hiring [of successful candidates],” Cheong said.
Parking spaces for government vehicles
Meanwhile, when replying to an oral interpellation by directly-elected lawmaker-cum-unionist Leong Sun Iok, Cheong said that the Transport Bureau (DSAT) would study how to reduce the number of parking spaces in streets reserved for public entities’ vehicles, provided that this would not affect their respective operations.
Cheong also said that the government would “strictly limit the number of parking spaces in public car parks reserved for public entities’ vehicles and strengthen its management of the parking spaces”.
Cheong pointed out that the government currently has 2,115 light vehicles, adding that 348 parking spaces in public car parks are reserved for public entities’ vehicles and 567 such parking spaces in the streets.
Cheong also pledged that the government will “strictly” control the number of new vehicles that it will buy. Cheong also said that the Financial Services Bureau (DSF) will later issue guidelines telling the various public entities to consider eco-friendly ones first when buying new cars, such as electric or hybrid cars, and install charging facilities in the car parks on their premises.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
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