Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said Sunday he respects lawmakers’ freedom of speech, adding he believed his governance will not be affected by their remarks.
Chui spoke to reporters at the airport before departing for Beijing with Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac and other government officials when he commented on appointed lawmaker Fong Chi Keong’s controversial remarks in a plenary session of the legislature earlier this month about the government-drafted domestic violence prevention bill.
Chui said the government’s position on domestic violence had not changed, as it continued to adhere to the “zero tolerance” approach.
“We normally don’t comment on remarks made by lawmakers. We respect what they say in the legislature,” said Chui.
Commenting on calls for the abolition of the appointed lawmaker system, Chui said any changes in the legislature’s structure had to be approved by the central government.
Currently, seven of the 33 members of the Legislative Assembly are appointed by the chief executive. While 14 are directly elected by popular vote, 12 are indirectly elected by association representatives.
Chui is scheduled to meet State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine Director Wang Guoqiang in Beijing about co-operation between Macau and Guangdong in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) this morning.
The Macau government is promoting the development of a Traditional Chinese Medicine Park on Hengqin Island.
Chui will meet Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng Monday afternoon on further measures resulting from the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between the mainland and Macau.
He will meet National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Chairman Xu Shaoshi Tuesday morning and is scheduled to return to Macau on Wednesday.
Chui said he’ll visit Guangdong with Leong and Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosario in the near future to further strengthen regional co-operation.
Asked by journalists about recent reports that there may be one more concession in the gaming industry, Chui said he was now focused on this year’s mid-term review of Macau’s gaming licences, adding he would not comment about such reports.
“There are many consultancy companies and research organisations around the world focused on Macau’s gaming industry and its development. It is hard for us to comment on their reports. Our primary concern is to focus on the mid-term review,” Chui said.
He also said the government’s stance on maintaining the city’s three percent annual increase in gaming tables has not changed, even after new resorts in Cotai are getting off the grounds in the next two to three years.
On the closure of VIP rooms, Chui commented that this was simply an adjustment of the gaming industry and was a normal occurrence, but he once again stressed the necessity for economic diversification. (macaunews/macaupost)