The Office of the 5th Chief Executive on Wednesday announced the list of the 11 members of the Executive Council (ExCo) – the chief executive’s top advisory body – comprising eight new and three reappointed councillors, all of them male.
According to Article 50 (8) of the Macau Basic Law, it is the chief executive who appoints or removes the ExCo members. Article 56 states that the council “shall be an organ for assisting the chief executive in policy making”, while Article 57 states that the councillors shall be Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR). The council, which customarily meets once a week behind closed doors, “shall be composed of seven to 11 members”.
The 11 members were appointed by Chief Executive-designate Ho Iat Seng.
The three members who have been reappointed are lawyer and former lawmaker Leonel Alves, developer Peter Lam Kam Seng, and lawmaker-cum-restaurateur Andrew Chan Chak Mo, according to a statement by Ho Iat Seng’s office.
The 11 ExCo members of the incoming government, including Secretary for Administration and Justice-designate André Cheong Weng Chon and seven other newcomers, will be sworn in next Friday– the 20th anniversary of Macau’s return to the motherland when the new local government will take office.
Ho Iat Seng, 62, will become Macau’s third chief executive on December 20, succeeding Fernando Chui Sai On who a decade ago succeeded Edmund Ho Hau Wah. Edmund Ho became the first chief executive on December 20, 1999 when the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) was established. As Edmund Ho and Chui each served two consecutive five-year terms, the maximum allowed by the Macau Basic Law, Ho Iat Seng will be Macau’s fifth-term chief executive. The Chinese characters of the surnames of Edmund Ho and Ho Iat Seng are different.
ExCo members are chosen by the chief executive from among the government’s principal officials, lawmakers and community representatives.
In the first-term MSAR government, all the five policy secretaries were appointed as members of the Executive Council. Since the second-term government, only the secretary for administration and justice was has been appointed as members of the council.
In addition to André Cheong who will succeed Secretary for Administration and Justice Sónia Chan Hoi San as de facto ex-officio member of the council, the other seven other newcomers to the Executive Council are: 1) Frederico Ma Chi Ngai, who heads the government’s Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT), 2) former lawmaker Jimmy Lee Chong Cheng, a vice-president of the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (Gung Luen), 3) John Chan Ka Leong, a vice-president of the Macau General Union of Neighbourhood Associations (Kai Fong), 4) appointed lawmaker-cum-associate law professor Iau Teng Pio, 5) Ieong Tou Hong, an economist, 6) Zhang Zongzhen, a businessman and community leader of the city’s sizeable Fujianese community, and 7) Macau New Chinese Youth Association Chairman Chao Weng Hou, who works in the local branch of the Bank of China (BOC).
Frederico Ma is the son of businessman Alexandre Ma Iao Lai, the chairman of the Macau Chamber of Commerce (ACM), generally regarded as Macau’s most influential association. Alexandre Ma, who has been a member of the Executive Council since the first term of the SAR government, will be replaced by his son. Frederico Ma is a vice-president of the chamber, of which Ho Iat Seng is a vice-chairman.
Jimmy Lee was elected as an indirectly-elected lawmaker representing the city’s labour sector in 2005. He was re-elected to the legislature in 2009 in the direct election. Lee, who did not seek re-election to the legislature in 2013, is understood to succeed Ho Sut Heng as an ExCo member. Ho Sut Heng, a vice-chairwoman of the Macau Federation of Trade Unions, has been a member of the top advisory body since the third-term government (2009).
John Chan is a vice-principal of the Macau Residents School, which is run by the Macau General Union of Neighbourhood Associations. He is also a vice-president of the Chinese Educators’ Association of Macau. Chan is understood to be succeeding Leong Heng Teng, the council’s spokesman. Leong, the honorary chairman of the Macau General Union of Neighbourhood Associations, has been a member of the top advisory body since the first-term government.
Iau Teng Pio, who was appointed as a lawmaker by Fernando Chui in 2017, was the representative of Ho Iat Seng’s chief executive election campaign office. He is the assistant dean of the University of Macau’s (UM) Faculty of Law.
Ieong Tou Hong, a former appointed lawmaker in the 2005-2009 term, is a member of the government-appointed Urban Planning Council (CPU). He is a vice-chairman of the Macau Economics Association.
Zhang Zongzhen is a local member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). He is understood to succeed prominent businessman and Fujian community leader Chan Meng Kam on the council.
Chao Weng Hou is understood to be succeeding Cheang Chi Keong on the council. Cheang, a former lawmaker representing the city’s business sector, has been a member of the top advisory body since the second term of the government.
According to the Macau Post Daily, the other Executive Council members who have not been reappointed are businessman Liu Chan Wan, and architect Eddie Wong Yue Kai.
It is the first time that the council does not include a female member.
According to official statistics, females accounted for 53 per cent of Macau’s population of 676,100 at the end of September.
Five of the incoming ExCo members were born in Macau.