The CCAC has noticed some citizens’ doubts about the legal stipulations of the obligation of neutrality and impartiality of the persons in charge and employees of gaming companies in the Legislative Assembly Elections. In order to give the citizens a clear understanding of the relevant stipulations and law-enforcement standards provided by the Electoral Law of the Legislative Assembly of Macao, the CCAC considers that it is necessary to clear up the doubts.

In order to ensure the fairness and justice of the Legislative Assembly Elections, Article 72 of the Electoral Law of the Legislative Assembly, which is about “neutrality and impartiality of public entities and equivalent entities”, states that the leadership of public departments shall not directly or indirectly engage in the electoral campaigns and carry out any acts in favor of or to the detriment of a certain candidate list and thus bring advantage or disadvantage to other candidate lists. In addition, the employees of public departments shall maintain, in the performance of their duties, strict neutrality to all candidate lists and their nominators, and they are prohibited from displaying symbols, stickers or other objects related to electoral propaganda.

Article 72 also states that the persons in charge and employees of public corporations and concessionaires of public services, public property exploitation or public works shall maintain neutral as the leadership and employees of public departments do. The stipulation which requires the persons in charge of the gaming companies and junket companies and the employees performing their duties in the casinos to comply with the obligation of neutrality and impartiality was introduced to the amendment of the Electoral Law of the Legislative Assembly at the end of last year.

The Electoral Law of the Legislative Assembly clearly provides for the obligation of neutrality of public departments and equivalent entities because the public departments and relevant companies play an important role in the economy and society of Macao. If the leadership of the public departments or persons in charge of the gaming companies directly or indirectly intervene in the electoral campaigns and make use of the manpower or material resources they have in hand in order to support a certain candidate list or not to support other candidate lists, they will impair the fair competition between different candidate lists and thus affect the fairness and justice of the Legislative Assembly Elections.

According to Article 72 of the Electoral Law of the Legislative Assembly, the employees of public departments shall maintain, in the performance of their duties, strict neutrality to all candidate lists and their nominators, and they are prohibited from displaying symbols, stickers or other objects related to electoral propaganda. With regard to gaming companies and junket companies, the law only prescribes that the employees who perform their duties in the casinos shall comply with the obligation of neutrality, which means that these employees shall maintain, in the performance of their duties, strict neutrality and they are prohibited from displaying symbols, stickers or other objects related to electoral propaganda.

The provision for neutrality and impartiality aiming at employees of public departments and equivalent entities laid down in the Electoral Law of the Legislative Assembly is based on the specificity of the duties performed by the employees. It is noteworthy that the obligation of neutrality enshrined in the law aims only at the period when the employees perform their duties. It does not prohibit the employees from participating in any electoral campaigns outside working hours. Moreover, the law only prohibits employees from, during the performance of their duties, engaging in activities in relation to electoral propaganda. It does not forbid them to talk about election-related matters when they work.

To enable persons in charge and employees of the gaming companies to clearly understand the relevant provisions of the Electoral Law of the Legislative Assembly, under the arrangement by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, the CCAC, together with the Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Committee, in the end of May, met with the representatives from six gaming companies of Macao and the Macao Junket Promoters and Cooperators Association and explained the relevant provisions to them. During the meeting, the CCAC’s representatives encouraged the gaming companies or their employees to keep in touch with the CCAC, who will be willing to hold seminars especially for them if necessary. This will help them have clearer understanding on the relevant provisions and call for their collective efforts to ensure fair, just and corruption-free Legislative Assembly Elections.