Macau’s Chief Executive-elect, Ho Iat Seng, has promised to protect the future of Macau’s gaming and tourism industries while addressing historical issues related to the SAR’s concession and sub-concession arrangement.
Speaking at a media conference in Beijing on Thursday, one day after being confirmed as Macau’s next leader during a special ceremony, Ho pointed to the “one country, two systems” principle and national security law as playing an important role in the stability of the city which in turn was vital to its ongoing prosperity.
Making particular reference to the recent protests in Hong Kong, which were sparked by a now defunct extradition bill, Ho said, “One can see that Macau has been doing quite well over the past 20 years in the one country aspect, including the enactment of a national security law.
“With such legislation, we can prevent interference by foreign influences. If they dare to come to intervene, we will make use of our law to safeguard the one country. We won’t allow foreign influences to have a hand in Macau’s affairs.
“Macau cannot afford to fall into chaos. Macau is a tourism city. Our major revenue comes from tourism and the gaming industry. We need to protect people’s livelihood.”
Ho said it was important that Macau retained a high degree of autonomy while staying loyal to the “one country, two systems” principle.
Asked about the impending expiration of Macau’s six gaming concessions and sub-concessions in 2022 and the progress of plans for re-tendering, Ho explained that a draft had already been developed which would be refined and amended once the new administration takes over in December.
It is expected that all six concessions will be granted new licenses under a re-tender process but exactly how that looks remains to be seen with a number of changes expected to Macau’s gaming law. It has also been suggested that a seventh gaming operator may be issued a license in order to further diversify the local gaming industry.