Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said Thursday that it would be better for the local community to put its long-standing “desire” of Macau becoming a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) aside.
He made the appeal during a question-and-answer session in the Legislative Assembly (AL).
Two dozen lawmakers raised questions during the two-and-a-half-hour plenary meeting whose hot-button issues included political development, public housing and social security, according to The Macau Post Daily.
During the meeting, indirectly-elected lawmaker-cum-businessman Chan Chak Mo, who represents the local sports sector, said that the city’s sports sector has wanted to be an IOC member for a very long time and asked the government about the latest developments on the matter.
Chui said he acknowledged that the public wanted to know whether Macau has a chance of becoming a member of IOC in the foreseeable future.
“I know that the local sports sector and the Macau Sports and Olympic Committee have worked hard to have Macau accepted as an IOC member … Macau has become an Olympic Council of Asia member,” Chui said, adding, “We have had the desire for a long time and have been passionate about making it come true, especially with the support of Vice-chairman [of the National Committee Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference] Edmund Ho Hau Wah,”
Chui concluded, “However, as the IOC amended it regulations in 1996 under which only independent states recognised by the international community can become a member, … even though we have been working hard over the last 12 years [to join the IOC], realistically I know it is virtually impossible for us to become a member.
“Macau became a special administrative region of China on December 20, 1999 and we all know very well that we [Macau] are not an independent country,” Chui said, adding that “[I am] sure that it is hard for Macau to become an IOC member in the next few years as Macau is not an independent country…it will be better that we to put this desire aside [for the time being].”
Macau applied for IOC membership in 1987, shortly after the Macau Olympic Committee was set up. The then IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch reportedly promised in the 1980s he would make sure that Macau – as Taiwan and Hong Kong – could become an IOC member. Samaranch, who passed away in 2010, headed the IOC between 1980 and 2001.(macaunews)