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Interview: Transparency, diversification key to Macao's continued success: chief executive-elect

 

MACAO, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- The incoming third-term administration of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) will put government transparency, economic diversification and safeguarding livelihoods on top of its agenda, Chui Sai On, the SAR chief executive-elect, has said.

"In the past 10 years, the Macao SAR administration led by Edmund Ho Hau Wah has implemented the policy of 'one country, two systems,' while the SAR was governed by the Macao people with a high degree of autonomy," Chui said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Chui, 52, is expected to take office on Dec. 20.

"The incoming SAR administration will make its utmost efforts to sustain Macao's prosperity, stability and fast development," he said.

The Macao people would set higher standards for the SAR government as the region continued to exercise its high degree of autonomy.

To meet their expectations, the new administration would improve its decision-making, and try to build a clean government; improve efficiency in dealing with public complaints; and strengthen communication with the public in order to build a transparent government, he said.

Chui said the new administration would consider revising Macao's land law, with the aim to make the SAR's land transfer process more transparent.

Macao's economy had made great strides with an average yearly growth rate of 13.3 percent from 2000 to 2008, but the SAR needed to diversify the economy, to lessen its overwhelming reliance on gambling, he said.

The island city, home to more than 30 casinos and 4,600 gaming tables, has overtaken Las Vegas in terms of gaming revenue. Casinos contributed more than 70 percent to Macao government revenues, paying about 35 percent of their income in gaming taxes. Official statistics show more than 40,000 of Macao's 540,000 people work in the gambling sector.

"Excessive reliance on gambling is not a good thing for Macao," said Chui. "We hope Macao will appropriately diversify its economy to achieve a balance of gambling and non-gambling sectors."

The city should develop its culture and tourism industries in order to become a world-class leisure destination and tourism hub, Chui said.

Regional cooperation between the mainland's Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macao had provided a good opportunity for the transition.

However, Chui still has far more serious challenges to deal with after his inauguration.

"The first thing I will have to do as Macao's chief is to deal with the challenges brought by the global economic downturn, and stabilize employment," he said.

"The next five years will be the most important period in my life, and I will do my best to serve the Macao people."

He acknowledged the Chinese mainland's unswerving support since Macao's return to Chinese rule.

"The Chinese mainland has always backed Macao's development. I believe it will continue to provide support to Macao," he said.

 

 


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