By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
While Macau continues to put effort into further developing its economy, the Government should not overlook the importance of education and public healthcare, Premier Wen Jiabao said while concluding his two-day visit to the territory.
Premier Wen arrived at the Lotus Flower Bridge border before 6 pm yesterday where he travelled by minibus to Zhuhai and then flew back to Beijing.
Speaking to reporters before his departure, the Premier pointed out that China has decided to position Macau as a world leisure and tourism hub, adding that in order to achieve economic diversification “a lot of effort” will be needed.
“But at the same time [Macau] needs to pay attention to the development of small enterprises, the cultural and creative industries and also the health sector,” he said.
“Macau’s development cannot be detached from education, which is another major mission. The future relies on talents and education,” he added.
Hence, Premier Wen said he hopes that the Macau Government can also pay attention to the development of education and healthcare sectors while focusing on economic progress.
The Premier told reporters Macau has “rich cultural origin and is a beautiful city”, and this trip to Macau was something that he had always been looking forward to.
He said he hopes to come to Macau and meet with the Macau people again in the future.
He concluded that the ministerial conference has further pushed forward the relationships between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries, enhanced Macau’s international status and strengthened its external cooperation.
Yet, Premier Wen stressed that the SAR needs to attach great importance to maintaining a strong link with the Mainland economy as well as its own foreign exchange and cooperation, in a bid to step towards the goal of becoming a world travel and leisure hub.
According to the Premier, development of both Hong Kong and Macau relies heavily on the support of mainland China.
“The Guangdong-Macau cooperation framework will further promote the ties between Macau and the Mainland. The Mainland will impose a significant impact on Macau’s development and therefore I hope the [SAR] Government can be well prepared and outline a [thorough] planning accordingly,” he said.
When asked about what kind of influences the latest US monetary policy of quantitative easing could bring to Macau and Hong Kong, Premier Wen pointed out that the impact will be felt globally especially in places where the currencies are pegged to the US dollar.
The Premier stressed that the policy has already produced some “bubbles”, warning that the two SARs have to be well prepared for the potential crisis.
However, he said he believes that the financial industries in Hong Kong and Macau are experienced enough to come up with effective strategies to handle currency fluctuations after “successfully overcoming” the Asian and global financial crises.
Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On, vice-chairman of the 11th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Edmund Ho Hau Wah, the five policy secretaries and other principal officials went to the border and farewelled the Premier yesterday.