The government announced on Tuesday during a press conference that the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) will be abolished once the city establishes the new non-political municipal organization, which will be named the Municipal Institution.
Although the idea of establishing a municipal body without political power is not new, it has regained prominence since its inclusion in a proposal subject to public consultation, which starts today and goes on until November 23.
According to the proposal, the future Municipal Institution will basically succeed the functions which IACM currently performs. Only a few of IACM’s current functions will be articulated and restructured through the general functions of the Macau government, while being optimized with other functions of different competent services.
Most of IACM’s present employees will be transferred to the new institution, and the rest will be transferred to other related governmental departments.
Within its functions, the Municipal Institution will provide consultations to the government. However, the proposal indicates that it does not have the nature of a secondary local government, nor is it a local autonomous organization or an institution formed through elections.
The Municipal Institution will be commissioned by the government to exercise selected public powers.
It is suggested to be an autonomous body with the nature of a legal person governed by public law. Its autonomy only means that its internal management and operation are different from other administrative services, although it will not appear to differ publically.
Chief of Office of the Secretary for Administration and Justice Iao Man Leng said “the consultation text has already been accessed by the central government, who will establish the municipal organization based strictly on the Basic Law.”
The consultation has suggested that the Municipal Institution should establish two internal councils; namely, the Municipal Administration Council and the Municipal Consultation Council.
The first council will consist of eight members, including one chairman and one vice-chairman, and all members shall be nominated by the Chief Executive (CE). The second council should comprise less than 25 members, who are also suggested to be nominated by the CE.
Each term lasts five years, and reelection can only occur once.
The two councils are further suggested to elect the members of the CE election committee.
According to Iao, the Municipal Institution will provide services to the residents regarding culture, environmental hygiene and recreation. It will also engage in actions to promote the construction of a harmonized community and the formation of answers to the needs associated with the public’s livelihood.
Regarding the non-political aspect and also the reasons why this institution cannot be formed with publically elected representatives, the director of the Administration and Civil Services Bureau, Kou Peng Kuan, said that the Basic Law didn’t allow that option. However, when Macau was under the Portuguese administration, the municipal bureau (“Leal Senado”) was a political body.
According to Kou, the function of the IACM as a government body ended after Macau’s handover to China, therefore the establishing of non-political organizations is in accordance with the Basic Law.