Rear window | Polishing Chui Sai On’s legacy

Severo Portela

Both President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, who handed the appointment certificate to Chief Executive-elect, unequivocally praised Ho Iat Seng on his contributions to the work of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and as president of the Legislative Assembly. President Xi went further by specifically referring to Ho Iat Seng’s merits on reform, opening-up and modernization both at national level and locally in his role facilitating the prosperity and stability of the Macau SAR.
Even if we care to discount the solemnity and the formality associated with the appointment ceremony, Ho Iat Seng may fly down to the SAR with an upper political endorsement to replace the sitting Chief Executive.
Nonetheless, this political endorsement is not of the blank cheque type: Central Government does not give cheques, it gives variously tight or loose instructions to the Chief Executive of the Special Administrative Region. Apparently, besides general considerations for political stability, the Basic Law and the “One Country, Two Systems,” the political message aims to subtly warn the CE-in waiting not to allow himself any shortcomings in the handling of the Macau SAR. Give or take subtilty, this could be an indirect way to criticize the overall two-terms of the departing Chief Executive.
Still in the realms of subtilty, we do have to note that Ho Iat Seng is instructed to carefully manage Macau as it enters the “next chapter” and is urged to seriously plan the strategy for “Macau´s future development.” If this is not a mere gap in the canonic “continuity,” it is an indirect assault on Chui Sai On reclaiming legacy. So much so, the ground of the so-called stability and social harmony on which his successor will operate had to be built for the good, for the bad, or worse, under Chui Sai On’s decade at the helm of the MSAR. But he is fighting discontinuity whenever appropriate or possible.
As an example, the incumbent Chief Executive made a call for continuity of ongoing work related to the mid-term review of the Five-Year Development Plan for the construction of the World Centre for Tourism and Leisure. Chui underlined the idea that Macau should give priority to projects related to the quality of life for residents: as we take it, the uber mantra of non-political politics.
One more example of the alleged fight against that induced discontinuity is the congratulatory message Chui sent to his replacement Ho Iat Seng. He congratulated Ho on obtaining 98% of the electorate, 392 votes from the 400-strong small circle designed under his watch. But this one is out of the realm of subtilty.
This column’s closing notes go to Macau University of Science and Technology, better known by its acronym MUST, who managed to inaugurate the first medical degree in the Macau Special Administrative Region. MUST relegated the good intentions of UM to expand into health sciences to just an inconvenient memory. MUST made agreements with Harvard University, signed MoUs with the universities of Lisbon and Porto, as well as with Beijing University.
No doubt, the winds are blowing smoothly in MUST…who was selected to welcome the “2019 Guangdong-Hong Kong- Macao Greater Bay Area Film Production Investment and Trade Fair.”
Finally, legislator Mak Soi Kun is urging the government to build a surveillance system dubbed “Sky Net”. Security (the government) will have a system of exactly 1620 cameras across town by 2020 …dubbed “Eyes in the Sky.” Meanwhile… the Personal Data Protection Office has determined it will be referred to as “Facial Recognition Technology” instead of “Facial Recognition System” on the grounds that “system” has a broader meaning and could cause confusion. Yes, it can!

Categories Opinion