Unruly ruling coalition

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At a Macau Civil Servants Association (ATFPM) meeting yesterday, legislator José Perreira Coutinho called for the Secretary for Land, Transport, and Public Works (DSSOPT), Raimundo do Rosário, to step down and announced that the group would hold another slow march through the city, sparked once more by the traffic fine increases surprise-launched at the beginning of this year.
The legislator, speaking of the measures, demanded: “Who is benefiting?” pointing the finger at government and private sector collusion, he said: “In the first place, the coalition between the government representatives and big entrepreneurs and the traditional families of Macau. Right after the increase of these administrative taxes, the prices for rent and for parking lots followed suit. If this is not a coalition between people in the government, what is it?”
The comments were made to Business Daily on the sidelines of the meeting, arranged to inform the population about the next “slow march against the raising of traffic fees” recently proposed by the Traffic Affairs Bureau (DSAT). The march is being organised by a group of local associations, including legislators José Pereira Coutinho and fellow lawmaker Leong Veng Chai. It was tentatively scheduled for this Saturday, but suspended until a final route is agreed on with the authorities.

Bringing traffic to a stop
According to legislator Coutinho, the ATFPM president, the protestors first planned to begin the march in the Barra District, at Macau Tower, moving toward the Science Museum, then continuing to Sidónio Pais Avenue and Rua do Campo, reaching Praia Grande Avenue and ending at the Government’s Palace, where they will deliver a petition to the Chief Executive, however authorities did not accept the route.
“The government is stepping on Macau residents, diminishing people’s quality of life. Life in Macau has become very difficult; things are too expensive, and now people also have to pay this [fee],” said Coutinho, highlighting the tone of frustration expressed in the first march on 8 January, and following a meeting deemed unsuccessful with the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Raimundo do Rosário.
Speaking on the sidelines of the press conference, Mr. Coutinho explained that he was disillusioned by the meeting with the Secretary. “He seemed to be in a hurry, and his body language suggested that he was not at all interested in talking to us. Our main goal now is to request the Secretary step down and the Chief Executive withdraw the dispatch,” asserted Coutinho.
“We still don’t know how the government will react. But knowing, in the meantime, that, if the Secretary is fired, it solves part of the problem, there is still the withdrawing of the dispatch, which will be a continuous fight for us. We don’t accept, without explanation, the rising costs of traffic fees,” he maintained.
The recent increase in fees for services under the authority of the DSAT concerns, among others, the removal of vehicles and deposits when caught in infringement of parking laws.