Macau public works minister Lau Si-io, who has pledged to reform the opaque land-sale system left behind by his disgraced predecessor, has come in for criticism over two recent property deals. The secretary for transport and public works, who replaced Ao Man-long in February, is scheduled to appear in the legislature today to continue his policy statement for the next year. Mr Lau delivered the first part of his statement on Friday. Ao, who was arrested last December, is on trial in Macau's Court of Final Appeal on 76 counts of bribe-taking, money laundering, making false statements and abuse of power. Since Mr Lau took over, at least two large plots of land have been sold without open bidding and at a fraction of their market value, according to legislator Ng Kuok-cheong, a critic of Macau's land sales regimen. 'When Mr Lau took office, the public's worst fear was that he might follow Ao's footsteps,' the lawmaker said. In October, a 55,000-square- metre plot at Concordia Industrial Park in Coloane was sold to a developer for residential use for less than 600 million patacas. The plot would fetch over 5 billion patacas if put to an open auction, Mr Ng said, adding that his calculation was based on a benchmark bidding in 2004 - Macau's only open land auction since 1999. Macau's land law requires any land sale be carried out through open bidding, with exceptions allowed only with the chief executive's permission. But since the 1999 handover, only one plot of land out of hundreds has been sold through open auction. A 5,400-square-metre plot in Ilha Verde, or Green Island, was sold for 41 million patacas to a developer this year for residential use. But Mr Ng said the plot's market value was hundreds of millions of patacas, basing his estimate on the 2004 benchmark. Land sales have come in for severe criticism in recent years, with protesters on Labour Day attacking what they described as 'land giveaways' by the government. In response to criticism, Mr Lau said on Friday that two plots of land would be offered for open bidding. Details about the two plots in Fai Chi Kei are expected to be published in Macau newspapers today. Mr Lau has also pledged to amend the outdated Land Law and review the way land is valued. Even to his critics, Mr Lau's policy statement on Friday came across as refreshing and down to earth. Political commentator Larry So Man-yum said it reflected Mr Lau's practical and cautious personality. 'It's not as rosy as Ao's policy package last year,' Mr So said. 'And it's a small step towards making the land sale system transparent.' The two plots to be openly bid for would serve as an important benchmark for land value and make it less easy to sell land at unreasonably low prices in future, Mr So said.