New Hope: Seek truth from facts

Legislator José Pereira Coutinho admits that this year’s election is going to be tough

Led by legislators José Pereira Coutinho and Leong Veng Chai, political group New Hope (Macau) Group has advocated that the MSAR Government hand out an additional cash allowance to residents this year, and that they increase the amount of cash to MOP12,000 starting from next year.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday to introduce the group’s manifesto, Coutinho said residents deserve more financial support due to the impact from Typhoon Hato and the growing rate of inflation.
The legislator is also urging the MSAR Government to reserve land for the construction of 80,000 public housing units.
Meanwhile, the group stated that it believes it is necessary to implement increased accountability for high officials.
A petition was submitted to the government by the group last year regarding a typhoon incident, questioning the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG)’s forecasting system, said Coutinho, but he added that “no one cares about us”.
Coutinho also denounced the previous Legislative Assembly (AL) for being “heavily comprised of businessmen”.
The group also suggests extending the maternity leave period from 56 days to 90 days.
In addition, Coutinho also pointed out that many legislators have changing opinions when voting on passing bills.
The group, moreover, suggested making meetings held by the standing committees at the AL available to the public, to allow for more transparency.
When asked about his expectations for this year’s election, due to the increased number of candidates competing, Coutinho admitted that the election is more difficult, although more residents are qualified to vote this year. He pledged that he will continue to dedicate himself to the well-being of the public, even if he fails to obtain a seat in the next Legislative Assembly.
Rita Santos, the trustee of the group, said some of the votes which would typically go to their group might transfer to other groups that consist of local Macanese and civil servants.
She added that other campaigning groups, which have big companies supporting them, already started holding dinner events and giving out gifts two years ago in exchange for votes.
The group is led by Coutinho, with Leong second, while Monica Tan Si Wan and Gilberto Camacho are third and fourth, respectively.