Macau chief told of 'historic start'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 August, 2009, 12:00am

President Hu Jintao yesterday reminded Macau's new leader-elect, Fernando Chui Sai-on, of his great responsibilities and the challenges facing the special administrative region.

President Hu told Dr Chui at their meeting at Zhongnanhai, the central leadership compound in Beijing, that Macau was facing opportunities and challenges at a 'new historic starting point'.

Dr Chui said after the meeting that preparation of his new government was under way and named O Lam, a deputy head of Macau's Sport Development Board, as his assistant for forming the new government. Ms O is seen as one of a few hopefuls for the post of secretary for social affairs and culture, vacated by Dr Chui in May when he declared his bid to run for chief executive.

Dr Chui was asked about a controversy which appeared to have affected his popularity. The Macau government awarded a 32 million pataca contract to a company owned by an election assistant to Dr Chui. The contract was formally approved by Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah on July 28 - two days after Dr Chui won in the chief executive poll, where he was the sole candidate.

Dr Chui said the government had followed the laws in awarding the contract and he was not involved in the decision.

'I respect the SAR government for following the laws in its decision-making,' he said.

After he returned to Macau, he would close his election office and set up a new office, where he would prepare to form a new government.

Dr Chui also said he had had discussions with Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday about Macau's political reform and on how to set up an accountability system.

The 52-year-old won the chief executive election with 282 favourable votes from the 300 voters who formed the Election Committee for the July 26 poll.