The government announced Thursday that Chief Executive Chui Sai On has convened the first meeting of the newly established Commission on the Defence of National Security of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR), during which he called for improvements in the city’s legal system concerning the protection of national security.
According to a statement by the commission yesterday, the meeting was held last Friday at Government Headquarters.
The statement noted that the commission started operating last Thursday when an administrative regulation (by-law) on the setting up of the commission came into effect – 30 days after its promulgation in the Official Gazette (BO) on September 3.
The establishment of the commission was announced by Executive Council spokesman Leong Heng Teng in late August. The council is the local government’s top advisory body.
Leong said at that time that the commission will be tasked with formulating local policies on the safeguarding of national security and coordinating tasks concerning local legislation on the protection of national security.
Leong stressed at that time that the new commission is not an entity for the enforcement of Macau’s local national security law – the Law on the Defence of National Security. He underlined that the commission will be tasked with assisting the chief executive in policymaking for matters concerning the protection of national security in Macau.
The commission consists of the chief executive, secretary for administration and justice, secretary for security, the commissioner-general of the Unitary Police Service (SPU), the chief-of-cabinet of the Chief Executive Office (GCE), the chief-of-cabinet of the Secretariat for Security (GSS), the director of the Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ), the director of the Judiciary Police (PJ), an advisor to the Chief Executive Office, and an advisor to the Secretariat for Security, according to the regulation. The commission is chaired by the chief executive, with the secretary for security as its vice-chairman.
According to the administrative regulation, the commission’s main tasks include coordinating the government’s various tasks concerning the safeguarding of the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests; studying and evaluating the situation in Macau concerning national security and the city’s social stability; formulating local policies on the safeguarding of national security; and coordinating the government’s tasks concerning legislation on the protection of national security.
The local Law on the Defence of National Security was enacted in 2009 based on the Article 23 requirement of the Macau Basic Law.
According to Thursday’s statement, Chui said during the meeting on October 5 that the establishment of the commission allows the more effective implementation of the local Law on the Defence of National Security, based on the comprehensive and accurate fulfilment of the nation’s Constitution and the Macau Basic Law. The chief executive also said, according to the statement, that the setting-up of the commission is an important measure for the local government to further fulfil its constitutional duty to protect national security.
According to the statement, Chui raised three suggestions for the work of the commission.
The first is to study improvements in Macau’s legal system for the protection of national security, and to carry out tasks with the aim of preventing and combating any possible criminal activities endangering national security and the city’s social and political stability, according to the statement.
The second suggestion is to for the members of the commission to stand firm in their political stance, and to master the core concepts of the overall national security outlook outlined by President Xi Jinping, according to the statement.
The third suggestion is to continue to strengthen campaigns and education on national security in Macau’s civil society, the statement said.
Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak and Security for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan reported during the October 5 meeting the progress in implementing measures concerning the protection of national security by entities under their respective portfolios, according to the statement, which did not specify the nature of the measures.
According to the administrative regulation, the commission meets at least once every six months. However, the commission can hold extraordinary meetings upon the initiative of the chief executive or upon the written request of one-third of its members. The commission cannot meet without the presence of the chairman (chief executive) or vice-chairman (secretary for security).
The commission can only meet if at least two-thirds of its members are present. However, in the case of “exceptional urgency”, the chief executive may call a meeting even without the necessary quorum.The local Law on the Defence of National Security lists the seven crimes on endangering national security stated by Article 23 of the Macau Basic Law and their penalties.
The seven crimes listed in the local national security law are treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the central government, theft of state secrets, acts against national security committed by foreign political organisations or bodies in Macau, and the establishment of ties by Macau’s political organisations or bodies with foreign political organisations or bodies for the conduct of acts against national security.