sábado, 11 de julho de 2009

Candidato procura afastar conflitos de interesses

Candidate seeks to allay conflict-of-interest fears

Fox Yi Hu and Fanny W. Y. Fung
South China Morning Post
July 11, 2009

The sole candidate in Macau's chief executive election, Fernando Chui Sai-on, will explain today how he intends to avoid conflicts of interest arising from his business-family background, according to his election office.

Two high-profile supporters - one of his brothers and tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun - have already tried to allay fears that Dr Chui would favour big businesses after assuming office.

Dr Chui will unveil his election platform in an open meeting with members of the Election Committee and will take questions from members. Residents who have registered can attend the meeting as observers.

The Chui family has widespread business interests in Macau, covering properties, construction, tourism and commodities.

In one controversial land deal in 2006, a company associated with Chui Sai-cheong - the candidate's elder brother and a legislator - acquired a 100,000-square-metre site on Taipa Island from the government for below the market price. The company acquired the site for 231 million patacas - which property consultants said was half its market value.

At the time Fernando Chui, as secretary for social and cultural affairs, was head of the Macau Government Tourist Office, which supported the deal. The site was to be developed into a theme park with a four-star hotel but has remained vacant.

Under Macau law, if construction does not begin on the site within three years the government can take it back. The deadline has elapsed but the government has not tried to take the site back.

In response to questions about the controversial land deal, Chui Sai-cheong, a director in the company, told Hong Kong's Cable TV that he had always followed the law.

He said he was an accountant and had sufficient knowledge of Macau's laws. "I am an accountant and have been in Macau's political community for so long," he said, "All that I did was done in accordance with the law."

He asked people not to make associations between his family businesses and Fernando Chui's election.

"Chui Sai-on's election is one thing; I or my family members doing business is another thing," he said. "They are two separate things."

Mr Ho yesterday said he believed the controversy would not affect Fernando Chui's election.

"His brother is only an accountant. It will not affect him. To be the chief executive one must disconnect oneself from family and relatives," he said.

"I think Chui Sai-on is always right and is the most suitable candidate to be Macau's chief executive ... He will not be affected and he will certainly always obey Beijing."

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