Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng said on Sunday his biggest hope at the moment was to remain focused on fulfilling his duties and responsibilities in his current post, when asked by the media whether he plans to run in the chief executive election this year.
The policy secretary made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by the Macau Taoist Association on its premises in an industrial building in Avenida do Almirante Lacerda.
While both Legislative Assembly (AL) President Ho Iat Seng and Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac are widely regarded as possible chief executive candidates, Tam is generally regarded as a less likely candidate.
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.”
According to The Macau Post Daily when asked by reporters on Sunday about his possible intention to run for the city’s top job, Tam replied that he was grateful to the media for paying attention to him and that his biggest hope at the moment was to continue to remain focused on “actively” fulfilling his duties and responsibilities as the government’s secretary for social affairs and culture and making contributions to the nation’s development, with the aim of increasing the well-being of Macau residents.
Tam pointed out that his vast portfolio has been carrying out a large number of tasks over the past few years under Chui’s leadership and obtained some achievements, but the government was still to implement many different tasks.
Tam, 56, said that right now he hoped to improve the livelihood of Macau residents’ as much as possible and to humbly listen to residents’ requests. The policy secretary also said that he would continue to be in touch with different associations and communities to listen to opinions raised in civil society.
Tam said that he would continue to work closely with Chui to encourage local residents – including young people and senior citizens – to work, live or enjoy their retirement in the whole of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA).
Ho told reporters last 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” – generally understood to refer to the perceived pressure associated with working in a senior government position.
“Hot kitchen” has become a popular political term in Cantonese.
Ho, 61, 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).
When asked by the media last Thursday about his possible intention to run for the city’s top job, Leong said he needed to listen to opinions raised in civil society and to “comprehensively” consider the possibility.
Leong, 56, was a businessman before being appointed as the secretary for economy and finance in 2014. He was a local NPC deputy from March 2008 to March last year but he did not seek re-election.
Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak has told reporters that he will not run in the chief executive election.