Govt axes ex-weather chief’s ‘flawed’ pension notice: Chui

2017-09-30 08:04     Comment:1

Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On has announced that the government was forced to cancel the announced retirement of former Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) Director Fong Soi Kun, because the announcement was “flawed”, insisting that it was not the case that the government decided to cancel the notice due to public pressure about Fong receiving the pension.

Chui made the remarks while speaking to reporters on Friday at the Macau Chamber of Commerce (ACM) in Zape where he attended a reception to celebrate National Day.

The day after Super Typhoon Hato pummelled Macau on August 23, killed 10, injured 244 and caused damage officially estimated at over 10 billion patacas, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On accepted Fong’s resignation over the latter’s widely criticised handling of Hato’s warning signals. Fong submitted his resignation for “personal reasons”. Fong also applied to retire when he handed Chui his resignation.

Late last month, the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) launched an investigation into the weather bureau over its typhoon forecasting process and internal management, especially over Fong’s controversial handling of the hoisting of Hato’s warning signals.

An announcement published in the Official Gazette (BO) on Wednesday stated that Fong will be paid a monthly pension of 890 salary points (equivalent to 73,870 patacas) after he had applied to retire, based on the current public service regulations – the Macau Public Administration Staff Statute promulgated in the late 1980s.

The announcement on Fong getting the hefty pension, approved by Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan on September 13, sparked massive anger among netizens.

In response, the Secretariat for Administration and Justice said in a statement on Thursday that while Fong had “taken voluntary retirement”, the move would not influence the CCAC’s investigation launched late last month, adding that Fong’s “voluntary retirement” would not influence the possible disciplinary and criminal responsibilities that Fong may have to face either.

However, the Pension Fund (FP) said in a statement on Friday that Chan earlier that day cancelled – “in accordance with the law” – the pension announcement because Fong had not applied to retire at least 90 days in advance – as required by the statute’s Article 263.

The Pension Fund is under Chan’s portfolio.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Chui said the government had to revoke the announcement on Fong getting the pension because it was “flawed”, insisting that the revocation was not due to public pressure. Chui admitted that the “flaw” in the announcement was due to “carelessness”.

Chui said that in the past there were also cases in which the government had to cancel its announcements published the Official Gazette after it later discovered “flaws” in these announcements. He also said that in the past he also apologised for mistakes in a number of announcements he had issued, for instance using the wrong terms.

Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On speaks to reporters at the Macau Chamber of Commerce (ACM) in Zape on Friday. Photo: GCS

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