Locals “quite happy” about Ho’s governance

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Issue 735, Page 3
Word count: 693
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

An opinion survey showed that local residents were generally satisfied with Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah’s governance over the past decade, but the result could be even better if the public transport system was not inefficient and the Ao Man Long scandal did not ever happen.

The Macao Polytechnic Institute’s (IPM) One Country Two Systems Research Centre yesterday revealed the results of the survey conducted between April 28 and May 11 this year, in which 1,099 people, mainly Macau permanent residents, aged over 18 were interviewed over the phone about their comments on the Chief Executive and the SAR government.

According to Prof. Ieong Wan Chong, the research centre director, it was crucial to learn about how people thought about the SAR government’s 10-year performance and what they wished to see in the future development in the lead up to the two elections and two anniversary celebrations later this year.

Among the 18 questions set in the survey, the respondents were first asked to rate Edmund Ho Hau Wah’s administration on a 10-point scale, of which 10 referred to “very satisfied”.

The average mark the Chief Executive got was 6.68, in which most respondents gave him a score of 7 or 8.

The residents said they were most satisfied with Mr Ho’s ability to execute the “one country, two systems” policy, maintain a balance between various power and fulfil his policy commitments.

In regards to policy making of the five main areas, the 1,099 respondents gave a very positive comment to the local economy and finance, which the research centre said was attributable to the economic bloom the SAR experienced after the handover.

Meanwhile, the areas of administration and justice, public security and social affairs and culture also obtained satisfactory comments.

Yet, the results indicated that residents were quite disappointed at the performance of the transport and public works secretary.

The research centre said the main causes of this relatively low comment were the massive corruption case of former transport and public works secretary Ao Man Long, and also the sluggish road traffic management.

On the other hand, it was believed that having able to obtain a world cultural heritage site title for Macau and liberalised the gaming industry were the two most outstanding achievements of the SAR government.

A relatively big part of the respondents, or nearly 48 percent, also praised the government for the cash handout scheme.

However, the scandal of the disgraced government official Ao Man Long again became the biggest stain on the SAR government.

About 72 percent of the respondents said the corruption case made them most dissatisfied with Mr Ho’s government as it led to a major loss to the government as well as severely damaged Macau’s reputation.

Also, the survey found that low administrative efficiency and the bureaucratic culture were among the other reasons that got people’s comments toward the government downgraded.

Residents gave the highest score to the level of prosperity in society, followed by social freedom and stability.

Yet, they strongly demanded for social equity as most of the respondents said they were “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the degree of fairness in society.

The research centre pointed out that although people’s comments on the extent of democracy in Macau were still on a “reasonable level”, channels available for local residents to participate in policy making were not many and thus “there is room to improve”.

In addition, it was found that most of the respondents felt their socio-economic status and lives had been improved over the past decade.

Of which, about 61 percent of them said changes were most notable in their economic lives, followed by their lives of culture and travel.

As the Chief Executive Election is drawing near, the respondents believed that Mr Ho’s successor should first handle the problems of corruption and illegitimate transfer of interests.

The next head of Macau also needed to put more efforts into the education and human resources policies, and social welfare and security.

Moreover, the survey showed that the people were quite confident in the SAR government and the prospect of Macau, by both giving a score of 7 on a 10-point scale.

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