New Macau Association | Scott Chiang re-elected, pledges to focus on key issues


New Macau Association (ANM) yesterday voted to re-elect Scott Chiang as president of the organization, in an afternoon-
long session to determine the senior leadership of ANM moving forward. Chiang is now expected to take ANM into next year’s Legislative Assembly (AL) election.
Eleven board members of ANM gathered at the association’s headquarters to elect the group’s president, two vice presidents, secretary and treasurer. Chiang received nine out of the 11 votes and retained his role, while Jason Chao and Sulu Sou, both former presidents of ANM, were chosen to serve as the group’s vice presidents with 10 and 11 votes respectively.
The re-elected president said that moving forward, ANM will strengthen their social policies “in a changing and uncertain time for Macau,” and will place a greater emphasis on their outreach to society. Chiang further stated that he wanted to focus on fewer issues in the future, to avoid stretching the group’s limited resources too thinly.
“When I wrote the general report [ahead] of this meeting, I reflected on what we did in Macau last year,” he told reporters after his re-election. “[In the future] we want to concentrate our efforts into a number of key areas because [… previously] we spent a lot of time chasing a lot of different issues relating to society,” he said.
“I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but as an organization with very few resources [on] hand, it’s not the best tactic,” he went on to state. “We have to show society that we are professional participants in the public discussion. We need to show them that we have a focus in a number of areas. That’s why I am calling for a concentration in […] a few key issues that we can really [get behind].”
Chiang would not identify the areas to which he believes significant resources were overly allocated. He did, however, indicate that wider cooperation from the group would be essential in the future.
“We want to be more open and cooperative [with other lawmakers], so that we can fight together. [Previously] there were only a few bright people leading the fight for democracy, but times have changed, and we need to keep up with the changes of the time,” assessed Chiang.
“We need to [stop] thinking that we are better than the next guy. We have to be the one to walk with them, and fight with them – not [against] them,” he said.
Regarding the approach into next year’s AL election, re-elected vice president Jason Chao told the Times that he is “deeply worried” about the lack of impartiality from election authorities. It is an issue that the ANM member has criticized on previous occasions, maintaining that the Election Affairs Committee applies the “impartiality principle” inconsistently.
Chao also said that a worrying trend of a “requirement for a count of confirmation statements” will also be a challenge at next year’s election, as it will restrict the group’s freedom of expression.
“One of the worrying developments concerns not just Macau, but also relates to Hong Kong,” he said. “The Hong Kong election committee is asking that candidates sign a confirmation statement, reaffirming their allegiance to the Basic Law, but this kind of confirmation statement is against freedom of expression – also enshrined in the Basic Law. We fear that next year the election committee of Macau will have more constraints on freedom of expression.”
“I think that it is good to have a more vibrant civil society,” he added. “But the more vibrant the society the more suppression we see from authorities. I think that we will look into this. We want to stand in defense of the public interest and freedom of expression.”
The election is unlikely to come as a surprise to many. Chiang, speaking ahead of the election, noted that every leader in New Macau’s history seeking a second term has been re-elected. He said that this time would be no different.
However, the near-unanimous nomination of the group’s senior leadership disguises the internal rifts developing in the organization. In late-2014, both of ANM’s two lawmakers sought to reduce their financial support to the group, and took measures to distance themselves from ANM, culminating in Au Kam San leaving the association last year.
Lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong, on the other hand, has pledged to remain a part of the group but, according to Scott Chiang, will no longer serve as a board member.

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