Last-minute voter blitz for candidates

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 September, 2005, 12:00am

White-hot competition for Macau's 12 directly elected legislative assembly seats reached a climax last night as the city prepared for Sunday's polling day.

By law, all campaigning activities were required to cease at midnight last night. Voting begins at 9am on Sunday.

In the last hours of campaigning, the most deep-pocketed candidate list, led by Angela Leong On-kei, chose to focus on the employees of Stanley Ho Hung-sun's conglomerate. Despite showers, thousands of employees cheered at a staff gala night at the Macau Jockey Club, where Mr Ho announced he will give a special year-end bonus.

'If you board the right bus, I will take care of you until you reach your destination,' Mr Ho said. 'Just remember, don't board the wrong bus.'

The mogul, who controls the majority of Macau's US$5 billion gaming industry, said he was not only confident his fourth wife's candidacy was secured, but that they would win at least two seats.

'Sociedade de Jogos de Macau [SJM] has 15,000 employees, and the Jockey Club and the greyhound racing company have another 2,000 to 3,000,' Mr Ho said. 'If we unite, we'll grab at least two seats.'

Second and third on Ms Leong's list, named Alliance for Development of Macau, are Ambrose So Shu-fai, an SJM director, and Daniel Fok Chi-chio, head of the SJM staff club.

Eager to try for a third seat, Ms Leong's campaign staff are promising extra perks to some Macau associations if they can help turn out more votes on Sunday.

Another affluent candidate from the gaming industry, David Chow Kam-fai, an incumbent legislator, appealed not only to employees at his gathering at Fisherman's Wharf last night, but also to the northern district community his associations have serviced.

'I am involved in so many associations that sometimes I cannot count them,' said Mr Chow, whose Alliance for Prosperity of Macau claims 18,000 members. 'These associations have served Macau for a decade. I am not afraid of competition from other lists.'


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