The five new Secretaries chosen by Chief Executive Chui Sai On for his second term were finally announced yesterday in a press conference held at the government headquarters.
As hinted on lists that circulated heavily in local newspapers and social media, all the incumbent secretaries and most of the other top officials were replaced.
Chui Sai On said that having a completely new cabinet line-up was a difficult decision to make. “I reflected upon this matter deeply and pondered aspects, such as academic and professional qualifications, to reach my decision,” he said, adding that all the principal officials he proposed were approved by the Central Government.
Lionel Leong took the place of Francis Tam as Secretary for Economy and Finance.
The current director of the Judiciary was appointed Secretary for Security and Raimundo do Rosário, currently heading Macau’s representative offices in Brussels and Lisbon, is the new Secretary for Transport and Public Works. Finally, Alexis Tam, serving as the government’s spokesperson, will be the new Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture.
The former coordinator of the Office for Personal Data Protection (GPDP), Sonia Chan Hoi Fan, takes Florinda Chan’s portfolio as Secretary for Administration and Justice.
Born in Guangzhou (Guangdong province), Chan graduated from Sun Yat-sen University in 1986, where she obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree. In 1996, she attended Renmin University of China for postgraduate study in Criminal Law. She went on to serve as the deputy director of the Identification Services Bureau (DSI) from August 1998 until March 2010, and in April 2007, Chan became the inaugural Coordinator of the Office for Personal Data Protection (GPDP).
Under the Portuguese administration, Chan also held the positions of the head of DSI’s criminal records division and the legal advisor of the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ).
Like her new government colleague, the Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak, she made an intervention, which many considered unlawful, during the referendum on political reform organized by the Open Macau Society ahead of the recent CE election.
The referendum organizers sent a letter to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) accusing the GPDP, amongst other government agencies, of an abuse of powers, malfeasance and ‘calumnious denunciation’ (making defamatory accusations).
“GPDP’s action did not only disrupt the commission on the civil referendum’s course to carry out the civil referendum according to plan – it also, to a large extent, impaired residents’ [right] to participate normally in the event,” stated the letter.
Replacing: Florinda Chan
Lionel Leong Vai Tac, 52, is the son of a veterinarian who worked at the former Leal Senado. He has served as an Executive Council (ExCo) member for seven years, but his life isn’t just about public service.
Mr Leong studied in Canada, before returning to work in Macau’s textile industry. Mr Leong is now regarded as a successful businessman, having made a fortune in a business sector that was declining, and that had formerly been a stronghold in the region. He did so by abandoning his textile manufacturing business for an investment in a large laundry service operation servicing Macau’s major hotels.
Back in 2009, Mr Leong succeeded by investing in a 200,000 square feet laundry service operation located in Coloane, serving Macau’s major integrated resorts. His laundry business is regarded as one of the largest in the world, and brought in MOP200 million revenue last year.
An active participant in public affairs, Mr Leong has been elected Macau delegate of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC). He also serves as Standing Director of Macau Chamber of Commerce and president of the Macau Development Strategy Research Center.
His interest in public affairs emerged in 1997, when he set up the local think tank Macau Development Strategy Research Center. “I care about the community’s interests. I try to do something, to be someone who can help. So I take up public office positions for the people of Macau,” he told Macao Magazine.
He has been tipped as a potential candidate for next Chief Executive, to succeed the current CE, whose term ends in 2019. This “tipping” has been circulating in the local community since the 2009 CE election. The speculation further escalated in 2011 when WikiLeaks exposed US diplomatic cables. In a cable from the Consulate General of the US in Hong Kong to the US Department of State, Lionel Leong is described as “inexperienced” and “widely seen as a protégé” of former Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah.
Replacing: Francis Tam Pak Yuen
Wong obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Law at Peking University in 1990. From 1991 to 1993, the Macau government provided sponsorship for him to undertake Portuguese language and law courses at the University of Coimbra, in Portugal; and from 1993 to 1994, he attended law courses at the University of Macau. Wong then joined the Judiciary Police (PJ), and between 1995 and 1997, he participated in a magistrate training program. After graduating, he served as a prosecutor in the Court of First Instance before taking office as the PJ’s deputy director. On December 2001 Wong became PJ Director.
During his time as the head of the PJ he had several public exchanges with the New Macau Association concerning political rights. In February 2013, the then-ANM president Jason Chao was detained during a visit by Chinese parliamentary head Wu Bangguo. Chao latter accused Wong Sio Chak of “lying” to the Legislative Assembly (AL) in April in answer to lawmakers’ enquiries on controversial law enforcement action.
More recently, Chao was detained by Judiciary Police agents for allegedly violating the personal data protection law while taking part in the referendum activities in front of the Public Administration Building. The political activist was taken to the PJ offices in Cotai.
As director of the Judiciary Police, Wong Sio Chak was asked about a rumor that he was one of the candidates to take the post of Secretary for Security. Wong refused to give a direct answer, saying only that he was happy to stay at PJ: “I feel like I have a sense of accomplishment in this job; I feel like I’ve got approval from the public. Therefore, I am very happy to be in my current position”. But, as it turns out, the rumors were true.
Replacing: Cheong Kuoc Vá
Alexis Tam was born in Myanmar when the country was still named Burma. He explained to Revista Macau that many of the so-called overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia were persecuted throughout the 1960s. His father, a jeweler in Rangoon, decided to move to Macau when Alexis was a child.
Alexis Tam completed high school at Pui Ching Middle School, which still operates in Avenida Horta e Costa. He pursued further studies in Taiwan, where he graduated in Business Management and improved his Mandarin. Upon his return from Taiwan, he started work at a bank in Macau; before heading to Lisbon, where he studied Portuguese language and culture. While in Lisbon, he met his wife, Maria da Conceição, a law expert currently working for Macau Economic Services. The couple has two daughters, Carolina (born 1997) and Mariana (born 1999).
In 1989 he and his wife returned to Macau, and he worked for several public administration bureaus, including the Statistics and Census Service, the Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau, and the Social Security Fund. In the educational sector he headed a department at the Polytechnic Institute and was appointed coordinator of the Tertiary Education Services Office. Meanwhile, he found time to complete a Masters’ degree in business administration in Scotland, and also studied in Beijing.
In 1999 he was already viewed as a senior manager and was invited by Chui Sai On to join the MSAR’s first government as chief of his cabinet (the current CE was the region’s first Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture)
As head of the Office of the Chief Executive, Alexis Tam is regarded as CE Chui Sai On’s right-hand man. As the Government’s spokesperson, he became the face of the local adminitration. The fact that he speaks Portuguese fluently and maintains good relations with both Macau’s Portuguese community and Lisbon’s authorities is viewed as a plus.
In recognition of those good relations, during the last Portuguese National Day (June 10) he was granted an Order of Merit by the Portuguese President, Cavaco Silva, who had visited Macau weeks earlier.
Replacing: Cheong U
Secretary for Transport and Public Works
Raimundo Arrais do Rosário
Born in Macau, 1956
Previous position: Director of the Economic and Commercial Delegation of Macau stationed in Lisbon and Permanent Representative in the EU
Raimundo Arrais do Rosário is a man used to travelling and diplomatic work. He has represented Macau for a long time, leading the Economic and Commercial Delegation stationed in Lisbon and assuming the post of permanent representative at the European Union. For a long time, his work routine has led him to commute between Lisbon, Brussels and Geneva (where the World Trade Organization is based) and, as he stated in a profile published by Revista Macau, “dealing with everything related to Macau.” “We work [in Lisbon] almost like a consulate,” he said.
Mr Rosário graduated with a Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Porto when he turned 22 years old, according to newspaper “Ponto Final.” He then completed internships in several Portuguese companies, namely Brisa and at the National Civil Engineering Lab.
One year later, Mr Rosário returned to Macau and worked for the Transport and Public Works department. Between 1987 and 1990, he served as department head. In 1991, he was invited to join the Legislative Assembly as a lawmaker and he was also involved in the drafting of Macau’s Basic Law.
An engineer with managerial skills, Mr Rosario was appointed in 2000 by the first MSAR Chief Executive Edmund Ho to head up the Lisbon delegation, which was strategically relevant given that Portugal had returned Macau to China just one year earlier. There, he was responsible for bilateral cooperation, and was responsible for several business and cultural agreements.
His return to Macau has been praised by the Macanese Association president Miguel de Senna Fernandes, who noted that he will be the first Macanese to be nominated for the post of Secretary. His academic background and expertise are seen as positive assets to head the Transport and Public Works Secretariat.
Replacing: Lau Si Io
Ho Veng On was born in Macau in 1962 and holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration.
Since the MSAR’s establishment, he has served in several government positions, such as the head of the Chief Executive’s office; secretary-general for the Executive Council; coordinator of the Working Group of Linking Cooperation between Guangdong and Macau; and coordinator of the Honors Committee, as well as acting as the government’s delegate at TDM.
Ho Veng On was appointed Commissioner of Audit for Chui Sai On’s first term in 2009.
During his current term as Commissioner he has argued that it is impossible for his department to monitor every detail of the expenses of all public departments. “Frankly, how can the Commission of Audit monitor every part [of a department]? I think this is not very realistic. What is important is to have every public department to do well in managing themselves and utilizing public resources reasonably and in accordance to the law”, he said to journalists.
André Cheong currently serves as director of the Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ). He was born in China and graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University with a Bachelor of Arts in Portuguese Language and Culture. He also received a Bachelor in Law from the University of Macau.
Mr Cheong worked for the Macau Foundation between 1991 and 1996. He furthered his career at the Judicial Affairs Bureau and sat as Director of the Registry and Assistant of Notary in 1996. One year after he was appointed Director of the Real Estate Registry. He was later appointed vice director and director of the Judicial Affairs Bureau in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
Mr Cheong has served as director of the Legal Affairs Bureau since November 2000. Between 1995 and 2010, he also worked as an invited lecturer at the University of Macau’s Faculty of Law, teaching undergraduate students.
Replacing: Vasco Fong
Ma obtained a Bachelor of Police Science from the Academy of Public Security Forces, and completed a Command and Leadership Course. He joined the Public Security Police Force in 1983 and took office of the Head of the Academy of Public Security Forces in 1997.
From 1998 to 2001, Ma held the position of Head of the PSP’s Transport Department. From 2001 to March 2010, he served as the Deputy Commissioner of the PSP. During this time he received awards on several occasions, including the Medal of Merit, and had his efforts recognized by the Secretary for Security.
In April 2010, Ma was appointed as the Assistant to Commissioner General of the Unitary Police Service, taking charge of intelligence analysis. In February 2014, he was appointed to the position of PSP Commissioner, a post formerly held by the retiring Lei Sio Peng.
Replacing: José Proença Branco
Ip served as the chairman of the Election Commission for last year’s Legislative Assembly election. Afterwards, he was appointed President of the Court of First Instance (TJB) and President of the Administrative Court, for which his term of office started on October 15. His stint in the Administrative Court lasted three years and was later renewed.
Replacing: Ho Chio Meng
Lai Man Wa, 55, was born in January 1959 in Macau, although her family are natives of Bao’an, Guangdong (now Shenzhen).
Lai obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Police Science from the Academy of Public Security Forces and holds a Master of Law degree in Public Administration from Sun Yat-sen University.
She is currently the Deputy-Director of the Customs Service, also serving as a consultant to the Women’s General Association of Macau.
From March, 1999, Lai took successive office of the Marine Police Inspection Bureau as deputy director and then as diputy director of the Customs Service until today. She was mainly in charge of administrition, information and communications training and disciplinary matters, as well as processing work when the director was absent. During that period, she contributed to the stable transition of Macau’s handover and the establishment of the Macau Customs Service.
From 1977 to 1984, Lai engaged in different jobs, including as an import and export business clerk, architectural draftsman and working in a travel agency.
In April, 1984, she applied for the Security Forces and participated in an internship training program; in the next year she joined the Marine Police Inspection team and was promoted to Deputy Sheriff in 1986.
In October 1990, she was promoted to Sheriff and participated in a training course for police officers. Between 1995 to 1998, she climbed up the professional ladder year by year to take the position of department head.
Since joining the Security Forces, Lai was mainly engaged in the procedural work of intelligence and investigation, including organizing the criminal proceedings dossier. She also engaged in the transfer and resettlement of Vietnamese refugees.
Replacing: Choi Lai Hang