Commissioner Against Corruption Vasco Fong Man Chong said Tuesday that it was getting trickier for the law enforcement authorities to tackle election campaign violations that are made using mobile phone applications, since in Macau they are not explicitly regulated by law
Speaking to reporters at a press conference after a meeting with members of the Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Commission (CAEAL) on the measures that will be taken to ensure a fair election in September, Fong indicated that with the advent of applications such as WeChat, Viber, WhatsApp and prevalence of social networking sites such as Facebook, candidates and others involved in the electioneering might be able commit a violation without getting punished.
“There weren’t a lot of mobile phone applications four years ago… and their usage may not be regulated by our existing laws,” Fong was quoted by The Macau Post Daily as saying. “This means that it gets more challenging for authorities to deal with the electoral process and fight campaign violations.”
Commenting on the issue that some candidates may provide benefits, such as household items and coupons, to voters in return for their votes, Fong said that the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) had always been looking at the problem as it was nothing new. “Let me emphasise: the Legislative Assembly Election Law makes it clear that using material and non-material benefits in exchange for votes is strictly prohibited,” Fong asserted.
On the issue of candidates’ campaigning in schools, the city’s top graft buster simply replied that schools and private organisations must report to the CAEAL if they are willing to provide spaces for election campaign purposes.
He also said that school administrators should be aware of the Legislative Assembly Election Law when they provide venues for candidates in the run-up to the election slated for September 15.
Fong further commented that the upcoming election will be a good civic education class for all the registered voters, hoping that candidates and voters will “behave themselves” and make the election “fair and just”.(macaunews)