Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosario said on Thursday that the local government should sign a reciprocal driving-licence recognition deal with the mainland as “Macau is a part of China”.
Rosario attended a plenum in the legislature’s hemicycle which discussed a debate motion by directly-elected lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong on the issue.
The legislature passed Ng’s debate motion last month, which was about the local government’s decision to sign a reciprocal driving-licence recognition agreement with the central government.
In the debate motion Ng also asked whether the government would launch a public consultation on the possible implementation of a reciprocal driving-licence recognition scheme between Macau and the mainland.
Rosario has been authorised to sign an agreement with the Ministry of Public Security on the reciprocal recognition of driving licences, according to an executive order published in the Official Gazette (BO) on April 16. The order did not say when and where the deal will be inked.
The local government first announced in October last year that it was planning a reciprocal driving-licence recognition agreement with the central government.
According to the Transport Bureau (DS AT), the deal will allow Macau driving licence holders to drive in mainland China — and vice versa.implementation of a reciprocal driving-licence recognition scheme between Macau and the mainland would increase the already heavy burden on Macau’s road network.
Ng said that the local government should tell the central government that Macau has the smallest land area among the three jurisdictions of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) and that the city has the heaviest burden on its road network.
Ng said that it is necessary for the Macau government to always encourage tourists to travel around the city on foot or by public transport, in line with its policies to develop Macau into a world tourism and leisure centre.
Ng said that the local government should suspend signing the reciprocal driving-licence agreement with the central government, and consult residents on the matter.
In reply, Rosario said that it there is no question that Macau should recognise driving licences from the mainland. He noted that “the Macau Special Administrative Region (MS AR) is a part of China”, adding that “compatriots from the mainland have the right to have their driving licences recognised (in Macau)”.
He said that Macau recognising driving licences from the mainland is not about giving mainlanders preferential benefits.
Rosario said the reciprocal driving-licence recognition scheme between Macau and the mainland “is not a political issue”
Rosario pointed out that currently Macau and 110 countries and regions reciprocally recognise each others driving licences, adding that “the 11th country for Macau to recognise its driving licences will be our motherland (the mainland)”, he said.
Rosario said that there was no need to debate whether there should be a reciprocal driving-licence recognition scheme between Macau and the mainland, as the reciprocal recognition deal must be signed.
Rosario said that he “felt a bit embarrassed” to debate the topic of the reciprocal driving-licence recognition with lawmakers and also to hear that a public consultation on the matter was needed.
During the plenum, Rosario told lawmakers to look at the regional emblem – Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) -on the wall above the seat for the legislature’s speaker in the hemicycle, which he said also showing the word “People’s Republic of China”. “Here (Macau) is a part of China,” he said.
Rosario also said that the local government will tackle the possible problems resulting from the reciprocal driving-licence recognition scheme.
(Photo courtesy of TDM)