Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On, the lone candidate in the August 31 chief executive election, said Sunday he had noticed that the media is focusing on issues such as housing, the gaming industry and overcrowding in the city while other topics such as social achievements and locals’ contributions to civil society are not mentioned at all.
He encouraged the local media to report more about people who have contributed to the development of society.
Chui made the remarks during a meeting he attended to explain his campaign platform to several dozen representatives of the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (commonly known as Gung Luen) at the association’s vocational school in the Toi San district.
Chui is on leave for 16 days, starting from Saturday, coinciding with his re-election campaign period which started on the same day and ends on August 29.
Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan Lai Man is the acting chief executive during the election campaign.
Chui’s campaign office started distributing campaign leaflets and booklets in Chinese and Portuguese on Saturday.
The campaign slogan is “Listening to the people, Honouring Our Commitments, Meeting All Challenges”, according to an English translation provided by the website of the campaign office.
The booklet containing the full text of Chui’s campaign platform is titled “Common aspirations for the future, shared prosperity,” according to The Macau Post Daily’s translation of the booklet’s Chinese and Portuguese titles.
During the 1 1/2-hour meeting, Gung Luen members raised a raft of hot-button issues.
Two of the unionists, surnamed Leong and Ian, said that most residents found it difficult to buy a flat in the private property market.
Chui’s first five-year term as chief executive ends on December 19. He needs to garner at least half of the 400-member Chief Executive Election Committee’s votes to be re-elected despite running unopposed. His re-election is seen as a fait accompli.
Other Gung Luen members urged Chui to guarantee the employment of locals in certain professions such as croupiers and drivers by regulating that non-residents are banned from working in those professions.
A Gung Luen representative also urged Chui to set a timetable for when the government will implement a statutory minimum wage for all employees.
Chui said that the government would continue to give top priority to locals’ employment.
He also said the government would set aside more plots of land for the construction of public housing projects and any idle land the government repossesses would be considered for public housing first.
Meanwhile, Chui also met members of the influential Macau Chamber of Commerce (ACM) at the association’s headquarters in Zape .
Several ACM representatives raised questions about the city’s business environment such as local enterprises’ lack of manpower. The meeting also lasted 1 1/2-hours.
ACM Vice Chairwoman Pansy Ho Chiu King, co-chairperson and executive director of MGM China Holdings, said during the meeting the government should give a clear picture about the direction of the development of the city’ gaming industry.
Fellow member Wu Shun Him – also known as Antonio Ferreira – who is the managing director of the Venetian Macau, said he did not oppose Chui’s stance that non-locals are banned from working as croupiers.
However, he said that Macau still needs many more croupiers who can speak English.
Chui said the government would continue to diversify the local economy, adding that gaming companies had to come up with measures to increase their non-gaming attractions.
Chui also said that there was a mechanism in place to allow local enterprises to hire non-locals. However, he was quick to add that local residents’ employment must remain the top priority.
Meanwhile, only 265 members – or two thirds of the total number – of the Chief Executive Election Committee attended a meeting hosted by the Chief Executive Electoral Management Committee at Macau Dome in Cotai on Saturday. Chui introduced his campaign platform and answered questions. He answered questions raised by 17 members during the three-hour meeting, which included a 20-minute break.
The questions focused on the city’s housing problems. Several committee members urged Chui to diversify the economy. Chui pledged that housing will remain his government’s top priority.
Chui’s pledges in his political platform that the government will search for suitable plots of land for the construction of more public housing units, set up a committee on building Macau into a world tourism and leisure centre, establish an investment and development fund, and compel gaming operators to provide accommodation and transport for their non-local workers.
Chui also hosted a press conference at Macau Dome on Saturday where he said that the number of policy secretaries in his cabinet would remain unchanged at five. He also said it was not the right time now to announce any personnel changes among the city’s principal officials.(macaunews/macaupost)