Chui vows to restore old districts to life

Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Issue 763, Page 3
Word count: 789
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Chief Executive candidate Fernando Chui Sai On yesterday pledged to study proposals to revitalise the old neighbourhood around the Inner Harbour and San Ma Lou areas in the future.

Mr Chui in the morning visited shops and street stalls in Rua de Henrique de Macedo and the Mercado da Horta e Mitra to listen to opinions and expectations to the next government from residents.

Afterwards in the afternoon Mr Chui, protected by a few body guards, and his team went down to Rua Sul do Mercado de S. Domingos. The Chief Executive candidate shook hands with shops and stalls owners and also spent a few hundred patacas on some dried fruit, towels and fresh fruit.

A 70-year-old woman, Mrs Yiu, said to Mr Chui in the S. Domingos Market that she hoped the senior pensions could be raised from 1,700 patacas to minimum 2,000 patacas due to rising living costs.

The stall owner of Van Kei Vegetable also urged Mr Chui to pay more attention to housing issue in Macau. She said that not only did elderly people have accommodation problems, but young people also had no financial ability to buy their own houses.

Mr Leong, the owner of Peng Kei Cooked Food Store in the S. Domingos Market, said he hoped that the next government could improve hygiene in fresh food markets and also put the top priority on housing policy.

He said that his impression on Mr Chui is “friendly”, but added that whether or not his governance would be effective is a matter that can only be seen in the future.

“Being a Secretary and the Chief Executive are totally two different things, as the Chief Executive may be imposed more control from the Chinese government,” Mr Leong said.

“Macau people hope that Mr Chui can push forward development and prosperity in society. He should also reinforce communications with the central government,” he added.

Some other residents at the same time proposed to build a car park near the S. Domingos Market.

After inspecting the S. Domingos area, Mr Chui moved forward to Rua da Felicidade, then to San Ma Lou and finally Rua de Cinco de Outubro.

High school student Ieong Kam Hoi, a self-claimed fan of Mr Chui, followed the crowd in order to get the autograph of his “idol”.

Happily showing the media Mr Chui’s autographs, the teenager said that he has been a fan of Mr Chui since he was the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture responsible for the education and youth affairs.

The Chief Executive candidate went into a dried seafood shop in San Ma Lou and talked to the owner Mrs Yuen.

She proposed to Mr Chui the building of a footbridge connecting the Inner Harbour and Zhuhai in order to enliven the business around the area.

In addition, she hoped the next government could solve the problem of bus emissions along San Ma Lou as well as allow the setting up of street decorations between Ponte 16 and Senado Square during festivals and major celebration events in order to bring the old district to life.

On the other hand, vice director of the Macau General Union of Neighbourhood Associations (UGAMM), Ho Ion Sang, met with Mr Chui in a Chinese restaurant in Rua de Cinco de Outubro.

Mr Ho said that he hoped the new government could accelerate the pace to rejuvenate Macau’s old districts such as by promoting the shops and beautifying the streets to attract more tourists.

At the same time, he said a string of measures, especially to support small and medium sized enterprises, should be implemented to encourage investment in old districts and thus initiative the business environment there.

The UGAMM vice director also highlighted the poor traffic conditions and the lack of bus routes in the Inner Harbour area.

“We hope that more resources can be put into improving community facilities, environmental hygiene and public security so as to upgrade residents’ living standard and establish a harmonious society,” he added.

In response to the opinions, Mr Chui said that Macau’s old districts have to be preserved and revitalised due to the “significant cultural and existence values”.

He said he learned from the opinions yesterday that the first priority is to solve the serious flooding problem around San Ma Lou and the Inner Harbour area during rainy days and typhoon season.

Yet, Mr Chui said it will require further study and thinking to come up with a concrete plan for the old districts.

“I have a different feeling every time when I come here. Many shops have already changed. My father used to work in Rua da Felicidade and I met a lot of old neighbours during the visit today [yesterday],” Mr Chui said.

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