The government will launch a public consultation on Tuesday about a bill regulating Macau’s coastal waters – the Marine Areas Management Framework Law, which will end on December 14.
The government expects to submit the bill to the Legislative Assembly (AL) late next year for debate and vote, according to the Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ).
In December last year, the central government granted Macau jurisdiction over 85 square kilometres of its coastal waters to help push its economic diversification. Previously, Macau had no jurisdiction over its coastal waters.
In May, the government set up a working group on the drafting of a bill on regulating the city’s coastal waters. The working group consists of officials from five government entities, namely the Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ), Economic Services Bureau (DSE), Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Marine and Water Bureau (DSAMA) and Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA).
A press conference about the public consultation was held on Monday at the Legal Affairs Bureau in Nape, where seven officials from the five government entities attended.
Of the 19 support measures announced by Premier Li Keqiang during his three-day visit to Macau early last month, one is to support Macau to develop its marine economy and strengthen the management of its coastal waters. Two public consultation sessions will be held during the consultation period. The public consultation document in Chinese and Portuguese can be downloaded from the websites of the five government entities.
The government expects to submit the bill to the legislature late next year – after its post-election term starts in October next year, according to DSAJ Legislative Drafting Department Chief Carmen Maria Chung, who addressed the
DSAJ Director Liu Dexue said that a framework law regulating the management of Macau’s coastal waters was needed to make good use of the various support measures
from the central government.
Liu also said the future law would enable the government to achieve the development aims stipulated in the government’s recent Five-Year Development Plan, as well as to help develop the city into a world tourism and leisure centre.
According to Liu, the government has set up six aims for the drafting of the bill, namely ensuring that the development of Macau’s coastal waters complies with the national interest; improving laws and regulations on the city’s marine areas; ensuring the effective use and management of Macau’s marine areas; protecting the marine environment; improving the water quality of Macau’s marine areas; and promoting economic diversification and the city’s sustainable development.
When asked by the media if a one-month period would be sufficient to collect citizens’ opinions in the consultation period, Chung said that as the proposed piece of legislation was a framework law, its implementation would require more detailed laws and regulations, so that a one-month consultation period would be long enough.
Liu stressed that the drafting of a framework law on regulating Macau’s coastal waters would just be the first necessary and important step, before various more detailed laws and regulations could be drafted in the future.