Chui’s family background could be beneficial: scholar

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Issue 776, Page 3
Word count: 842
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Chief Executive-Elect Fernando Chui Sai On’s family background, if being used properly, could be advantageous in resolving social contradictions, said a local public administration scholar yesterday.

Speaking to the Macau Daily Times on the phone, Eilo Yu Wing Yat, assistant professor of the Department of Government and Public Administration in the University of Macau (UM), said that breaking down the social contradictions between the labour and business sectors would be the major challenge for Mr Chui’s government.

“Most of the problems nowadays arisen in the labour sector and how to balance the interests of businesspeople. It’s still unable to draw a line between them and make both side satisfied,” Mr Yu said.

“People are questioning Mr Chui’s family background, but if we look at it in a positive way that he can make good use of his relationship with the business sector, the talks should be pushed forward easier to resolve the social contradictions,” he added.

Mr Chui became the Chief Executive-Elect after obtaining 282 votes from the 297 Election Committee members who attended the election on Sunday.

He will succeed Edmund Ho Hau Wah and become the third Chief Executive of Macau on December 20 this year for a term of five years.

While spotlight was drawn on the discrepancy between the number of votes and the number of nominations Mr Chui got and also the election results between the 2004 and 2009 Chief Executive Elections, Mr Yu pointed out that it wasn’t appropriate to make such comparisons as the social situation had changed.

“In 2004, the economy was developing well and there also wasn’t much discontent in society. Most of the people at that time were quite satisfied with Edmund Ho Hau Wah. But in recent years Mr Ho has also been facing a lot of social problems,” he said.

“Even if Mr Ho ran for the election this time, it would still be uncertain whether he could obtain a high number of votes,” he added.

The assistant professor also told the MDTimes back in 1999, Mr Ho was only able to obtain 164 votes, or a supporting rate of 82 percent from the 200-member Election Committee.

To Mr Yu, it would be a good result as long as Mr Chui received over 270 votes. Hence he deemed 282 represented “quite a high number” in the ballot.

“Although there was a small imperfection that the number of votes he obtained were lesser than his nominations, you couldn’t rule out the possibility that some Election Committee members might have nominated him as they didn’t want to reject him face-to-face,” Mr Yu said.

However, Mr Yu at the same time raised concern over the fact that one Election Committee member, Jose Pereira Coutinho, did not cast a vote and the number of supporting votes ended up were below the nominations.

“It could be an alarm that some Election Committee members would raise questions or objection against Mr Chui in a high profile way. This will deserve attention in the future,” he said.

The assistant professor suggested the SAR government to simplify the voting procedure so that each member can go to drop their ballot into the box immediately as what voters do in the direct legislative election.

“The voting procedure is quite strange that every one is sitting there to collect the ballot papers, which allows some of them not to vote afterwards,” Mr Yu said.

When asked whether Mr Chui’s campaign events lacked “creativity”, Mr Yu told the MDTimes the key problem was the short campaign period, which was even shorter than that of the legislative election.

 “The government should extend the election campaign by at least one month so as to allow higher public participation and more room for discussion in society, which will enhance the election’s recognition,” he said.

“As Mr Chui only had two weeks, certainly he would first pay visit to the associations as most of the votes would come from them,” he added.

Mr Yu agreed that Macau people have placed a high expectation on the next government, “because the current government is unlikely to make major changes in the last six months of its term”.

“All the reforms listed in Mr Chui’s political platform are reasonable and important, but it’s a matter of the priorities of implementation and what specific proposals he will have,” he said.

“During the campaign period he didn’t talk about it directly so it will be important for him to set out a timetable after taking office,” he added.

Meanwhile, the assistant professor urged the Chief Executive-Elect to pay high attention to interactions with the public in the future.

“We can see that many problems cannot be solved within a short period of time and some of the ideas he [Mr Chui] proposed may still require some time to study,” Mr Yu said.

“But it’s important to let the public know that the government is improving and working for them. So before measures can be implemented, keeping regular communications with the public will help ease the tension in society,” he added.


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