Macau Development Strategy Research Centre (CPEDM) President Lionel Leong Vai Tac said Sunday that the government’s co-operation with civic associations was important to Macau’s development, adding that there was a need for administrative reform.
Leong made the remarks on the sidelines of the think tank’s annual conference in which civic leaders in various fields were invited to speak at the one-day event at Macau Tower, with topics ranging from civic education and training professionals to public transport, the local economy to regional co-operation.
Leong said the government should assist civic associations that provide the types of social services that the government cannot.
“We should think whether the government should bear all types of social services, or if the government should collaborate with civic associations… If the government takes care of everything, you can be sure that its departments will be enlarged and the number of civil servants will be increased,” said Leong.
“If there is something that the market or civic associations can take care of more efficiently, the government should help them. I don’t think it is about whether or not the government can get things done, but rather if there is anybody who can get them done.”
Asked about his thoughts on increasing the number of policy secretaries in Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On’s cabinet, Leong said his group had not thought about it, thus he was not in a position to say whether this idea is good or not.
The chief executive’s cabinet has comprised five policy secretaries since the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) in 1999.
Macau’s Portuguese administration in the run-up to the 1999 handover had seven undersecretaries.
“I believe that administrative reform is necessary. We can see how much Macau has been developing and civil society has been changing over the last 15 years… it is impossible for the administrative [structure] to remain unchanged,” said Leong.
“However, I feel that citizens are not concerned about how many policy secretaries are in the government. The most important thing is whether or not… the public service is efficient and reaches public expectations and if there is bureaucracy that hinders social development.”
Leong maintained that he does not advocate delegating all types of social services to civic associations, adding that as the public’s expectations of the government grow, the government should always take public opinion into account.
Leong, a businessman, is a member of the Executive Council (ExCo), the government’s top advisory body.(macaunews/macaupost)