Region’s top leader looks back on 15 years since return to motherland
Macao’s return to the motherland 15 years ago has brought it fast development and broad cooperation under the principle of “one country, two systems” and “Macao people governing Macao”, said Chui Sai On, the chief executive of China’s Macao Special Administrative Region, at a news conference held during the runup to the 15th anniversary.
“Since Macao returned to the motherland on Dec 20, 1999, we have unswervingly upheld the principles of ‘one country, two systems’ and ‘Macao people governing Macao’ with a high degree of autonomy and strictly abiding by the Macao Basic Law and achieved our expectations,” Chui said.
Born in Macao in 1957, Chui was twice appointed the SAR’s secretary for social affairs and culture since the establishment of the Macao SAR in 1999. In 2009, he was elected chief executive and won a second term in the 2014 election.
“The first term laid a solid foundation for me. We have built the SAR financial reserve system, social security system, long-term talents cultivation system and have achieved our administrative objectives,” Chui said, adding there is still room for improvement.
From 1999 to 2013, the gross domestic product of Macao has increased from 50.27 billion patacas ($6.3 billion) to 413.47 billion patacas, with an average annual growth rate of 16.2 percent. And the fiscal revenue has risen from 16.94 billion patacas to 175.95 billion patacas, with an average annual growth rate of 18.2 percent.
As to the next five years of his tenure, Chui said he will pay attention to the “sunshine government” and scientific administration. “With the support of the central government, we will build a world center of tourism and leisure, and continue to develop trade and service platforms for China and Portuguese-speaking countries,” he said.
“In the long term, we will make efforts to study and publicize the Basic Law, and pay attention to the education system－basic education, higher education and continuing education. Moreover, we need to focus on how to pass the strong vitality of “one country, two systems” from generation to generation.”
Macao will continue to develop the economy. “The appropriate diversification of the economy will benefit us to improve the livelihood of people, especially building long-term mechanisms,” he said.
Chui expressed his heartfelt thanks to the great support and concern from the central government and different provinces on the mainland.
“Regional development is of great importance to the development of Macao in the future, which should be the priority and also a part of sustainable development. We have established close cooperation with Guangdong province,” he said.
Furthermore, Macao has participated in the “9+2” cooperation in the Pan Pearl River Delta, which is the biggest cooperation base across the nation, Chui said.
He is confident about the regional cooperation. “The next five years will be the best time to expand regional cooperation, and we will make full use of the opportunity,” he said.
Since 2003, the Macao economy has developed rapidly, but it faces a shortage of talent. “Not long ago, we set up a talent training committee and will strengthen the cultivation of applied talent and comprehensive talent in the future, especially giving opportunities to Macao people to improve themselves.
“We are glad to see the students from different provinces on the mainland coming to Macao to study, especially in the field of higher education,” he said, adding that the SAR government will promote scientific research and academic exchanges in the future.