Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

“Increased transparency of governance”: CE

Posted by Kimberly on December 21, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
December 21, 2007 (602 words)

With the threat of protest set to take place that afternoon, Macau’s Chief Executive, Mr Edmund Ho Hau Wah took to the stage at the Macau Tower yesterday morning to promise greater communication with the pubic and “raise the level of transparency in our public administration.”

His reasoning was that “if the public is kept fully informed, it will then be able to monitor and support the government’s public administration more effectively.”

Yet nothing was directly said during his speech to celebrate the eight anniversary of the establishment of the Macau SAR, about democratic reform although casino mogul, Dr Stanley Ho, dismissed calls for greater democracy.

“Macau is democratic and free enough…it’s prosperous enough. Why do people need to do this [protest]?” Stanley Ho said to reporters.

He added that “I think the Chief Executive already has its plan [on democracy], we don’t need to fight for it.

“Macau is much more convenient, it’s different from Hong Kong,” he said.

Edmund Ho did state the need to “answer the public’s enquiries in order to enhance its confidence in the government,” reasoning that if the public were kept fully informed, “it will then be able to monitor and support the government’s public administration more effectively”

One of the reasons for discontent, particularly with regards to calls for democracy, appears to be the methods used for election of those in power.

Macau’s chief executive is currently elected by a committee of 300 representatives drawn from various sectors and only 12 of the territory’s 29 legislators are elected, with the rest appointed by the leader or picked by interest groups.

The chief executive also spoke about the Basic Law, promising that the government would “adhere strictly [to it], increase its competency, enhance its achievements in upholding the law…and rely on the leadership and support of the central government.”

The question of corruption was briefly addressed with Mr Ho stating that Macau’s government would “set a good example through its own actions to build an advanced society that is free of corruption and fair…”

The SAR recently concluded questioning in its biggest-ever corruption trial this year against former transport and public works secretary Ao Man-long, accused of taking tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks.

Addressing the participation of Macau’s citizens towards pubic affairs, Mr Ho felt that this had been adopted enthusiastically with the general public having “a strong awareness of their rights and duties,” whereby the number of participants had increased, the range of their participation expanded and the degree constantly rising.

Speaking about the SAR’s future, Mr Ho briefly touched upon the issues of economic development and improvements in the lives of Macau’s citizens, stating “we hope to expedite certain programs an achieve even better results if conditions allow,” although he refrained from explaining either the programs in questions or the conditions.

Unlike Macau’s neighbour Hong Kong, the former doesn’t have a strong pro-democracy movement.

Yet, despite unrest being rare, activists have organised several large protests this year to denounce corruption and illegal foreign workers, including a raucous May Day demonstration that police tried to control by firing shots into the air.

More than 1,000 guests attended the reception, including the Director of the Central Government Liaison Office in Macau, Mr Bai Zhijian; the Commissioner of the Macau SAR Commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, Mr Wan Yongxiang; Commander of the Chinese PLA Garrison Troops in the Macau SAR, Liu Lianhua; the President of the Legislative Assembly, Ms Susana Chou; the President of the Court of Final Appeal, Sam Hou Fai, as well as principal officials and community leaders.



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