Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On apologised Thursday for delays in the government’s public housing projects.
Chui was attending a question-and-answer (Q&A) session in the legislative hemicycle when several lawmakers, such as Chan Meng Kam, Antonio Ng Kuok Cheong, Kwan Tsui Hang and Ho Ieong Sang, asked the chief executive about the government’s housing policy and his thoughts on “Macau People, Macau Land”.
Directly-elected lawmaker-cum-businessman Chan Meng Kam asked Chui what were the government’s future plans for providing public housing.
Chui replied that the government should always be facing up to its responsibilities as he acknowledged that the progress made in the provision of public housing had been sluggish, especially since the government had promised to complete 19,000 such flats by the end of last year but had failed to meet the deadline.
“On behalf of the government, I would like to apologise for the delays in completing the public housing projects and the inconvenience they have caused,” Chui was quoted by The Macau Post Daily as saying.
But Chui also said that the government’s stance to give everyone a chance to own a flat remained the same, commenting that in spite of the delays, applications for one-bedroom home ownership scheme (HOS) flats were underway while the government would “do its best” to resume social housing applications next month. “I believe that setting a [new] timeline after the delays is what the government should do.”
Chui also said that the government was working on repossessing 28 plots abandoned by property developers.
Commenting on the future land use of the land being reclaimed from the sea now, Chui pledged that no casino project would be allowed on any of the newly reclaimed plots of land because the government’s priority was to develop them into new neighbourhoods, providing approximately 43,000 flats.
He also talked about “Macau People, Macau Land” concept, saying it was a novel concept that deserved more attention.
“My understanding of this concept is that locals will own the flats and reside in them… the government will take the lead to designate land to make it happen,” said Chui.
But the chief executive also said that while the concept could help ordinary citizens purchase flats without needing to worry about non-locals purchasing new flats with capital from outside of Macau, he had also heard opinions about the flip side ofthe concept, such as that it decreases competitiveness and may work as a disadvantage for those in the lower wage bracket.
The government’s public housing programme consists of social-housing tenancies on affordable rent terms and subsidised HOS flats.(macaunews)