The President of the Legislative Assembly (AL), Ho Iat Seng, said yesterday he was confident in his bid to become the third Chief Executive of Macau, but that he was also pleased knowing that three grassroot residents are interested in the election as well.
“I am confident and determined to build a clean and efficient government with a diversified economy. I am confident and determined that, with the support of residents and people from all walks of life, the cause of ‘one country, two systems’ will move forward even further and bring out the brilliant light of the new era over this lotus treasured land,” said the Chief Executive candidate.
Yesterday, Ho held a press conference at the Macau Tower to make his formal announcement. It took approximately one hour and 15 minutes for Ho to respond to the media’s questions about his election campaign, including the relationship between Macau and Beijing, gaming concessions, political reform, his Portuguese nationality, livelihood issues and the development of the Greater Bay Area, among others.
Additionally, Ho mentioned that he will solve problems with housing, transportation and other livelihood issues. He did not provide further details, stating only that he will make announcements to the public in due time.
Appointed lawmaker Iau Teng Pio is the agent of Ho’s election campaign office. Iau will provide Ho with legal support. President of the Industrial Association Chui Yuk Lum is also serving in Ho’s office, helping Ho with daily affairs. Former Vice President of the AL Lam Heong Sang is the third representative in Ho’s office and is responsible for public outreach.
During yesterday’s press conference, a representative of Ao Men Fa Zhi Bao (Macau Rule of Law News) expressed his strong support for Ho. Other media representatives applauded after Ho declared that he would not keep his Portuguese citizenship, even if he loses the election.
Here is some of what he promised yesterday:
“I am not appointed. Hope comes from my local friends. I didn’t see people from the Liaison Office. Regarding whether people in the central government support me, in April, all my colleagues in the National People’s Congress (NPC) supported my resignation.”
“There are some new faces in the Electoral Committee, and they are not my friends. I am confident in gaining 66 votes. I am happy that there are more runners; it is a good thing for the Chief Executive’s work. Macau is a free, democratic, and fair place.”
“If, on August 25th, I gain the voters’ support, I will then consider candidates for the secretaries. I have not approached any yet.”
EDMUND HO AND FERNANDO CHUI
“Honestly, I will not make any evaluation of the two Chief Executives. It should be evaluated by society. Chui can’t continue for another term. There must be someone else taking the job. We are not competing with each other.”
MACAU’S RELATIONSHIP WITH BEIJING
“The relationship between Macau and the central government has always been good. Macau will always keep a good relationship with the central government. Don’t forget the ‘one country’ [part].”
“Reform is a matter of the administrative system, not a problem of government department administration. The system originated [in] Portugal. It deserves to be reviewed.”
“It is difficult to work completely according to residents’ opinions. We need to hear opinions from all sectors and balance all sectors’ interests. More than 5,000 people vote for 399 members of the Electoral Committee, and it has been practiced many times. We listen to society’s opinion, but [universal suffrage] is by the [sole] authorization of the central government.”
PORTUGUESE IN MACAU
“I respect history. Macau has a mixed culture. Regardless of whether they are Portuguese or Chinese, they are all Macau residents. I have always respected the Portuguese [community]. I will only enhance communication with the Portuguese [community], not reduce.”
“Back then, [people in Macau] didn’t have an identity card. There was only a Portuguese accreditation to recognize our Portuguese identity. I was a businessman back then. I had to have an identity document. After the handover, and since I started serving in NPC, I stopped renewing it. Being the AL president, I didn’t need to cancel it. However, in order to be CE, I must cancel it. Even if I don’t win the election, I will not keep my Portuguese citizenship. The Portuguese government has already canceled my citizenship.”
“I am not a drag-and-drop person. I am clear about everything I do. After today’s press conference, I will initiate the procedures to resign from the AL, both as a lawmaker and as president of the AL.”
HONG KONG FUGITIVE BILL
“I should also consider the extradition arrangement between Macau and Hong Kong. [Hong Kong’s issues] belongs to the internal affairs of Hong Kong. I should not comment on, and foreign forces should not interfere with, Hong Kong’s internal affairs. I believe the Hong Kong government is capable of handling it.”
TRADE UNION LAW
“In the future, I will study it with my team. The Trade Union Law is required by the Basic Law. We have completed Article 23. I certainly think that the Trade Union Law is a matter which can be carried out.”
“Regarding the gaming concessions, I can only think about it after the gaming law is amended. The number of gaming concessions is not what I am considering because the gaming law has not been amended. I can only hope that the gaming industry has a healthy development.”
“Macau needs talented human resources. The Greater Bay Area needs Macau youth. However, although it is easy to import talented human resources, it is difficult to take locals out. I understand. If they go to the GBA, who helps them pay for their house [in Macau]. Can they earn a salary equivalent to what they would earn in Macau?”
Voters protest election by spoiling ballots
Some voters from the approximately 5,000 voters that turned out for Sunday’s election of members of the Electoral Committee expressed their dissatisfaction with Macau’s so-called ‘farcical’ election by writing comments on their ballot papers.
Yesterday, the Election Commission announced that 5% (230) of the 5,001 votes were spoiled votes.
Of the spoiled votes, 47 (5.5%) were from the industrial, commercial and financial sectors; 21 (4.5%) were from the cultural sector; eight (3.1%) were from the education sector; 17 (2.7%) were from the professional sector; 32 (6.3%) were from the sports sector; 65 (6.39%) were from the labor sector; and 40 (3.16%) were from the social services sector.
Most of the spoiled ballot papers were deemed invalid because they were not marked according to official requirements, for instance by using a tick or a cross, or because they were drawn outside the box. Some votes were considered spoiled because the ballots were not filled in with black ink.
According to the on-site projection display, a voter from the social sector wrote “I want real universal suffrage” on their ballot paper. Another voter wrote “excessive” on their ballot paper. JZ