The newly elected board members of the Macau Chamber of Commerce (ACM), including Chairman Ma Iao Lai and board member Lionel Leong Vai Tat, both members of the government’ top advisory Executive Council (ExCo), flew to Beijing Sunday for meetings with a number of central government entities, including the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO).
Ma said the ACM board members would brief central government officials on Macau’s latest “significant events related to politics and the economy.”
Ma made the remarks to reporters at the airport in Taipa before departing for Beijing.
Ma said that during the three-day trip the delegation members would visit the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.
The Macau Chamber of Commerce is the city’s biggest and most influential business group. It was established in 1913.
Asked by reporters as to whether the controversial issue of a “civic referendum” slated by local activists for late August would be raised during the trip, Ma said that he and other members would exchange opinions with the central government about the city’s “significant” political and economic events.
Ma was re-elected ACM chairman earlier this year. He is a son of late community leader Ma Man Kei who passed away earlier this year.
“We fully support Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On as a candidate in the chief execution election and for the election to be carried out in line with the Macau Basic Law…the so-called civic reference is not stated in the Basic Law so we are totally against it,” Ma said, adding he feared the city’s business environment could be affected by political unrest or uncertain prospects.
The local government has said that the chief executive “referendum” is invalid and illegal.
Ma also said the delegation would raise issues such regional co-operation and the pressure that local enterprises are under due to exorbitant shop and office rentals and lack of human resources.
Meanwhile, lawmaker-cum-lawyer Vong Hin Fai, Chui’s election representative, submitted 331 nominations to the Chief Executive Electoral Management Committee on Friday to formalise Chui’s candidacy.
According to the Chief Executive Election Law, a candidate must obtain at least 66 nominations from members of the Chief Executive Election Committee, which comprises 400 members who will cast their ballots in the chief executive election on August 31.
Theoretically, there is still a possibility that a rival may come forward to stand against Chui, considering that 69 nomination votes were still up for grabs Sunday.(macaunews/macaupost)