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Chui? Who’s Chui?

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image Paulo Coutinho

Macau’s politics never ceases to surprise us.
Yesterday, local newspaper Ponto Final carried a “disturbing” headline, Ho Sut Heng may not support Chui Sai On.
Ms Ho is the President of the Federation of Trade Unions (AGOM) and a member of the National People’s Congress (NPC). In 2009, Dr Chui appointed her to a seat on the Executive Council.
“We hope that other strong candidates [for] Chief Executive would show up before August,” said Ho. Chui Sai On has shown interest in his re-election “but we have to see if there is someone else [in the race].”
The President of the Federation of Trade Unions, member of the National People’s Congress and (erstwhile) member of the Executive Council continues in a rebellious tone, “if there is another (?) ideal candidate, I can’t deny the possibility of considering alternatives.”
A few weeks ago, Mr Ho Iat Seng, the president of the Legislative Assembly (AL) also commented on the CE’s election in a Radio Macau interview. He said he had “no comments”, but what he actually said was “I exclude no-one, I support no-one.” I take the comment as he’s not “for” Chui.
Maybe I’m getting lost in translation, but the statements of Ms and Mr Ho (not related) sound more like an over-zealous effort to make us believe there is a real dispute. If we look at the past three “small circle” CE elections, there was never a real dispute or even a dispute at all.
Dr Chui will be running “solo” or against a “puppet” candidate as happened in the past, notwithstanding the Electoral College growing from 300 to 400-strong. The only people who they represent are themselves and their more-or-less vested interests. For me, I prefer it if the Chief runs solo, because nobody is actually disputing anything at all and so the whole process is more transparent this way.
But if we look and listen to what they are saying about the government, which Chui is supposed to be leading in a second term, that’s a different story. There are going to be changes in size and content.
About the size.
The conservatives want to maintain the 5-cabinet structure and the “super-secretariats” whilst more progressive voices advocate more and more specialized portfolios. Like Finance/Economy; Justice/Administration; or even bolder approaches, like the creation of a new portfolio to take care of cooperation and trade alone. The question is: who will “own” gaming?
About the content.
The conservatives want 3 secretaries out, the progressives want (almost) all out based on the ideal of rejuvenation. If the former win Lau and U are on for another term. If the latter prevails only Cheong U may escape the decimation.
Apart from this, what really matters is that Chui and the men and women he selects for a more or less “genetically modified” government will have a tremendous series of tasks ahead of them. The fight against growing inequality in such a prosperous place being the most important of all.
In Singapore, which has about 60% of Macau’s GDP per capita, 1 in 7 is a US dollar millionaire. Imagine that.

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Responsible Right of Expression — In the interest of freedom of expression, coupled with a true sense of responsibility to encourage community dialogue, the Macau Daily Times offers its readers the opportunity to express their opinions on new-related matters through this website. All opinions are welcome. However, we reserve the right to remove comments that are deemed to be obscene, or are merely insults written under the cloak of anonymity. MDT