Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac did not directly address media questions Thursday about his possible run in the chief executive election this year, while saying that he needs to listen to opinions raised in civil society, and to “comprehensively” consider the possibility.
The policy secretary made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Chinese New Year dinner hosted by the Macau Chamber of Commerce (ACM).
When asked by reporters whether he plans to run for the city’s top job, Leong replied that he was willing to assume responsibility for taking up any position that is in line with his ability and allow him to make contributions to the nation and Macau, adding that his long-standing stance on the matter remained unchanged.
When asked by reporters whether he thought his ability could allow him to serve as chief executive, Leong replied that in the run-up to the latest chief executive election in Hong Kong – which took place in March in 2017, the then director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council (Wang Guangya at that time) laid out four criteria for the chief executive in Hong Kong. Leong said that in the case of Macau these four criteria would be: loving the country and loving Macau, being trusted by the central government, being capable of governance, and being supported by the Macau people.
Leong went on to say that the next chief executive should be able to lead the team of public servants and coordinate different segments of civil society with the aim of enabling Macau to take up new duties and roles under a new era of the country’s development and the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.
Leong said that consequently he believed that Macau’s chief executive should have work experience and ability in the public administration, social networking and mutual trust, adding that only if the chief executive possesses such qualities, would he or she be able to consolidate Macau’s existing advantages and enable the city to enter a new era of its development.
When asked whether he believed that he would meet the four criteria laid out by the then director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council and the requirements for chief executive that he just mentioned, Leong replied that the decision to run for chief executive was not only a matter of personal choice but also a mission given by the country and about the well-being of Macau’s future. Leong said that therefore he needed to listen to opinions raised by different segments of civil society concerning his possible intention to run for the city’s top job, and to seriously study the matter and “comprehensively” consider the possibility, with an active attitude and with a mindset considering the whole picture.
When asked whether he was afraid of entering the “hot kitchen” – generally understood to refer to the perceived pressure associated with working in a senior government position, Leong replied the most important thing that one had to have was a “hot heart” and “cool head”.
Leong Vai Tac born in Macau in June 1962 and before is appointment as Secretary for Economy and Finance of the Macau government in 2014 was a businessman.
Vai Tac have a bachelor degree in Mathematics from University of Waterloo in Canada.
In 2001, Leong established Smartable Holding Limited and invested over MOP200 million to build a professional laundry of over 73,000 sq. ft. in Coloane in 2007, transforming from garment manufacturing to service chain downstream industry. The factory is in operation since 2009 and offers laundry services to international brand hotels in Macao.
Leong Vai Tac is considered near the previous Chief Executive of Macau, Hau Ho Wah.
Legislative Assembly (AL) President Ho Iat Seng told reporters on the previous day – Wednesday – that he was “actively and prudently” considering running in the chief executive election later this year.
Ho, a businessman, veteran lawmaker and community leader, also said he was “not afraid” of entering the “hot kitchen”.
The current five-year term of Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On, who was re-elected in 2014, will end on December 19, 2019. According to Article 48 of the Macau Basic Law, the chief executive “may serve for not more than two consecutive terms.”
Ho, an indirectly-elected lawmaker representing the city’s business sector, is the sole Macau member of the elite Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).
Ho, who also attended the dinner, is one of the several vice-chairman of the Macau Chamber of Commerce.