The last decade of the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) saw very stable development and an improvement in the livelihood of the population, the Chief Executive (CE) Chui Sai On said yesterday at the Legislative Assembly (AL) he headed for the last time. He presented an evaluation of the work of the governments he led for the past 10 years as well as the evaluation of the policies for 2019 and a budget proposal for the upcoming year.
In his speech and before an audience of lawmakers, the CE noted as major points of his governance the improvement in the quality of life of the community, the social harmony and the promotion of infrastructure construction.
Underlining the financial strength also achieved over the past decade, Chui painted a very bright picture of the achievements reached under his leadership, highlighting the almost complete implementation of the measures proposed in the five-year plan (of his second mandate) which he considered to be “very satisfactory,” achieving an implementation rate of as much as “90% up to the third quarter of 2019.”
Under the theme of “Ten years of governance from stability to continuity,” the evaluation report presented by the CE is comprised of five chapters, including the improvement of policies and measures to improve the livelihood of the community, an orderly boost of urban construction, promotion of stable economic development, continued reinforcement of regional cooperation and the strengthening of public administration capabilities.
Highlighting the first of the five topics, Chui noted that the revision of the Social Housing Legal Regime (currently under analysis by the AL) as well as the new School Curriculum Framework and Basic Academic Skills Requirements, (already implemented) have contributed significantly.
To the aforementioned two, the CE added the measures to promote the “love of the country and Macau,” comprised of several elements to the curriculum as well as the national education.
The CE said, “education is the base [not just for his 10-years but] for a 100 years.”
Finance and Land Reserves are keystones
Finance and Land Reserves are keystones for the development of the SAR, the CE said yesterday during the press conference that followed his speech at the AL.
In an evaluation of the past 10 years of governance, Chui said, “The Finance Reserves as well as the Land Reserves are the foundations of the general development of Macau.” With a healthy and strong financial reserve and without land reserves, is impossible for any government to plan and to face challenges such as the development of infrastructure or the building of social housing, among others, he added.
The CE had previously mentioned an increase in the government financial reserve that registered a growth from 100.2 billion patacas in 2012 to a total of 508.8 billion patacas by 2018, an increase of over five-fold.
As for the land reserves, the CE recalled that during his mandate a total of 77 plots of land were recalled to government possession, from which a total of 23 cases of repossession have already been completed and the land returned to the government, representing a total of 230,000 square meters of recovered area.
Chui took the opportunity to praise the work of the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Raimundo do Rosário who he said helped to accelerate the reclamation of land of expired concessions as well as progress public works and construction, such as the Light Rapid Transit (LRT), among others.
Questioned by the media on the LRT, Chui said without putting forth an exact date, “the Taipa line of the LRT will open to the public next month, still during my mandate. What I can say at this moment is that it will open before December 19.”
Typhoons pinpointed as ‘most difficult moments’
Questioned also by the media about what where Chui’s most difficult moments as CE over the past decade, he replied, “I can say that the hardest moments or the most marked ones were definitely the catastrophes [typhoons] that we had over the last couple of years [Hato and Mangkhut].”
Nevertheless the natural catastrophes which Chui’s government had to face and respond to, “turned us into a more united and tolerant [community]. It validated the stability and the prosperity, which took us a great effort to achieve,” he said, adding, “the natural catastrophes also allowed us to gain more awareness for the lack in Macau, as a coastal city, of natural barriers that support resistance against extreme weather effects.”
On the other hand, the CE noted that the measures taken by his government that he feels most proud of are the ones relating to education and the policies that allow the youth of Macau to have access to tertiary education and to continuous education.
“Equity of access to education is the base for an equalitarian society,” the CE said, noting that his government’s policies on education had contributed to a firm foundation that will allow future generations to perform better.
Bills withdrawn were ‘opportunities to learn’
Questioned by the media on the two bills proposed by Chui Sai On’s government that raised many questions and public protests leading to the withdrawal of such bills from discussion at the Legislative Assembly, the CE said, “I have no regrets regarding those two bills [the one proposing retirement packages to higher government officials and the CE, and the one that proposed a donation of RMB100 million to the Jinan University] that generated issues and misunderstandings from the people,” he said, adding that the fact that people reacted negatively to such proposals worked as a learning opportunity for all government officials that from then on realized that it is always necessary to listen to the people and clearly explain the government’s intentions.
To those, Chui also added other occasions in which the population did not react well to government proposals, such as the increase of several fees and road traffic penalties and illegal parking fines and when it was proposed that a crematorium be installed in Taipa’s cemetery.
“These problems were [mostly] solved through public consultations. Asking the people is never a bad thing and to hear people is always an opportunity to learn.”
On the topic, Chui made a very positive evaluation of his government noting, “we gathered support from the population and we received generally good feedback from the measures proposed and enforced,” Chui said, noting that it is not up to him to grade himself in the role of a CE but it is up to the citizens of Macau to classify his work in the service of Macau.
“Only Macau people and history will tell if I was a good [servant] or not,” the CE said.
Differences in legal systems biggest challenge of GBA
Questioned on the challenges posed to the Macau government regarding the role of Macau as well as regional integration of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA), Chui said, “The bigger issue [that the different parties need to solve] is related to the existing differences between the legal systems [of Macau, Hong Kong, and the Mainland]. Besides that, we need to be more proactive and have more initiative to be able to grab with the opportunities that arise.”
The CE noted that the GBA will be a very competitive area that will allow an unprecedented exchange of people, ideas and businesses, and although the roles of Macau have been clearly defined by the GBA plan announced by the central government which includes “42 projects that we need to do. We need to create opportunities for our youngsters to adjust to the GBA. We know that there are cultural differences between the sides but we need to offer them the best possible foundation for them to be able to strive and be competitive,” pointing once more to the education and training sector.
- Island District Medical Complex to launch foundation stone of main building during the Fourth Quarter this year.
- Government promotion of mobile payment resulted in a great take-up.
- More and better taxis with a significant reduction in the number of infractions committed by taxi drivers.
- Gaming: Extension of the expiring concessions to put all contenders on an equal footing.
- Incentives for non-gaming and economic diversification.
- Over 90% of the SMEs received some support from the government.
- Optimization of the process for the hiring of non-resident workers to assure SME competitiveness.
- Fulfilled promise on not allowing the hiring of non-residents for croupier posts.
- Developing services with Portuguese-speaking countries to enter into operation next year.