Local democrats to meet Chief Executive candidate today

The New Macau Association (ANM) will meet later today with Ho Iat Seng, the Chief Executive election candidate, at the latter’s office in downtown Macau.

The news was released on the sidelines of a press conference intended to update the public on a voting activity organized by the group.

When he submitted his nomination forms for the position of Chief Executive, Ho said the nomination period had been too brief for him to meet with all the organizations and associations within the city.

Represented by the group’s legislature member, Sulu Sou, ANM expressed certain views that may be discussed during today’s meeting.

The group pointed out that it is the first time, after Macau’s change of sovereignty, a Chief Executive candidate has expressed their view on universal suffrage for a Chief Executive election. “Universal suffrage in a Chief Executive election is our goal,” said Sou.

The clear expression by a CE candidate is unprecedented in Macau’s history.

Sou also said that Ho’s recognition of the Central Government’s authority to initiate and conclude Macau’s constitutional reform has indeed been understood by New Macau in the years they have been pressing for democracy.

Despite that fact, “the first step ought to be taken by the Macau SAR. The Chief Executive ought to submit a report [on the status quo] to the National People’s Congress’s Standing Committee,” said Sou.

ANM also pointed out that Ho has compiled his manifesto differently from his predecessors, as he has chosen to prioritize the section for public administration.

“In the previous 20 years, we saw deadlocks everywhere. They were caused by failures in public administrations,” Sou said, adding his reminder for the Chief Executive candidate that administrative failures generate failures in other aspects.

The lawmaker has also expressed the group’s disagreement with Ho’s comments on youth education. The candidate commented on the Hong Kong protests, and attributed their cause to defective education of young people.

New Macau said yesterday it does not agree with the stance adopted by the candidate. First, the comment has understated the long-term diligence of both educators and students. Second, the group found no mandatory relationship between education and youth dissatisfaction.

The group recommends the candidate spend time with the youth from all walks of life to understand them.

The press conference had been called to update the public on a so-called “voting activity” to assess public opinion on the manner by which Macau’s top official should be chosen.

Pursuant to the Basic Law, Macau’s top official is selected by an electoral college consisting of 400 people, versus the approximate 307,000 people entitled to vote in the Legislative Assembly election.

A total of 1,857 people had cast their votes as of 10 p.m. yesterday. The turnout falls within the expectation of the New Macau Association.

“New Macau has limited resources, and we believe the majority of residents have yet to hear about this voting,” said Sou, noting the ANM will conduct outreach activities over the next couple of weeks to promote the voting activity. “Whether they [residents] will vote is another thing; at least they will get to know about it.”

Sou said his group understands that there are a lot of issues facing local residents every day, but the group wants to help residents understand that constitutional reform and public administration, which the CE candidate has also emphasized, are part and parcel to the resolution of many social issues. Anthony Lam

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