Seeking a second term, the Chief Executive, Mr Chui Sai On, has revealed that –
if re-elected – Macau people may expect “a relatively radical change” in his team of secretaries, but refused to elaborate further on the matter.
In a press conference held yesterday to unveil his candidacy, Chui Sai On chose not to reveal which secretaries will remain in office, nor did he say if he intends to bring new names to the political scene.
“Regarding changes to the secretaries’ team, I cannot comment further, since I have not yet been re-elected. If I have that opportunity, I will elaborate on these matters. Do I have any names? I cannot announce it at this moment,” he stressed.
Nevertheless, Chui Sai On recalled that he has heard both the public’s and his friends’ opinions, which have focused on finding an efficient team. He added that society has voiced a need for a change, as some politicians have been in office since MSAR was established.
“After 15 years, we shall have a relatively radical change,” he said.
In his candidacy speech, Chui Sai On promised to solve pressing issues related to the lives of Macau people, namely housing, transport, environmental protection, the social security system and human resources.
“Public housing is the most pressing issue to be solved. After discussing with Mr Lau Si Io’s team (…) [we understood] that the reclamation Zone A is relatively big; first we thought we had [space] for 18,000 housing units, but then came to the conclusion that we can build more,” he told reporters.
Chui Sai On also promised that the government will step up its efforts to recover unused lands, which could also be used to build public housing units. In addition, he recalled that – thanks to the financial reserves – there will be enough funds to invest in this sector.
Although considering housing a priority, the Chief Executive did not present any new measures in this field. Nevertheless, he admitted that real estate market prices “are very high,” thus flagging a need to review and reassess the affordable housing scheme. “We hope to have a long-term plan on housing, thus resolving society’s problems,” he said.
After solving the housing matter, Chui Sai On and his team intend to work toward sustainably developing the economy. Cultivating talent and reinforcing regional cooperation are priorities, too.
Asked about the role that Hengqin Island will continue to play, he said that his team will keep fighting to convince the central government to provide Macau with more parcels of land in Hengqin. “We can have more opportunities for development [once we have more land]. We have already discussed the possibility of extending Flor de Lotus border hours, which could help us move forward in developing opportunities in Hengqin,” he stressed.
Asked to review these last five years in office, Chui Sai On explained that he could not assess his own work, but felt that he has fulfilled his duties and taken on the responsibilities that come with taking office.
Admitting to having encountered challenges along the way, the Chief Executive stressed that he has always complied with the principals of the Basic Law and areas of competence required of his post.
“Throughout the whole process, there were problems with development, assessment, great challenges, but these were opportunities as well,” he added, stating that running the MSAR isn’t an easy task, since it was established not too long ago.
In his speech, Chui Sai On stated that, over the last five years, Macau reached “significant progress in its development, having also faced several problems and challenges, namely regarding the hopes and legitimate demands of Macau residents.”
Furthermore, he admitted that – as a civil servant – great responsibilities lie ahead. Relying on his “experience, wisdom and aptitude” however, he is willing to continue serving Macau’s citizens, implementing necessary reforms.
Chui Sai On’s first term officially ends on December 31 and, so far, he is running without any opponents. If re-elected Chui Sai On plans to focus on academic research after he has ended another five-year term.
An Electoral College comprised of 400 members will be electing the new Chief Executive on August 31.
Compensation bill was not presented in ‘ideal way’
Chui Sai On admitted yesterday that the way the compensation bill and its content were presented to the Macau public “was not ideal.” The bill, which introduces lavish retirement packages for the Chief Executive and secretaries, was withdrawn from the Legislative Assembly after 20,000 people took to the streets protesting against it. “What we want is to legislate, and for that we need the public’s approval,” said Chui Sai On, admitting that the government thought this compensation scheme was necessary, but that social harmony spoke louder. Although recognizing that he would be one of the beneficiaries of such a diploma, Chui Sai On emphasized that he would not receive any money from this scheme, since, after finishing a second term, he plans to pursue academic research.