Macau has right recipe on housing (and egg tarts), Wang Guangya says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am


Not only is Macau doing a better job of housing its needy, its egg tarts taste better.

That was the assessment of the central government's Hong Kong and Macau affairs chief yesterday as he wrapped up a three-day visit to the former Portuguese enclave.

'Whether it is Hong Kong or Macau, both governments have to pay particular attention to solving the housing problems of the low-income group,' Wang Guangya said.

'On this visit in Macau, I feel Macau is progressing faster ... because I know the chief executive of Macau and his administration have proposed building 19,000 public housing units. I saw land for public housing under formation. Construction can start in August. At another site, construction has started.'

Wang spoke of the importance of solving housing problems faced by the poor before he left Hong Kong for Macau on Tuesday, warning discontent on such issues could grow into political problems. he said: 'People care about housing because this is an economic and livelihood issue. Resolving livelihood issues can promote social harmony... More assertive measures are needed.'

The former diplomat mixed serious talk about how the two special administrative regions should be governed with leisurely walks during his visits to Hong Kong and Macau. Apart from routine lunches, dinners and closed-door meetings with key officials, he checked food prices at outdoor markets, during which he chatted with street vendors, gave reporters opportunities to ask questions and photographers chances to take colourful pictures.

While protests were held in Hong Kong, the pro-democracy camp in Macau decided not to organise any activities to disrupt his tour.

Yesterday Wang toured a temple and strolled on a beach. He stopped briefly at a cafe for egg tarts. Asked to compare them with those he had sampled in Hong Kong, he replied: 'This one tastes better.'