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Basic Law changes need ‘in-depth deliberations’: Li

National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Deputy General Secretary Li Fei, who chairs the NPC Basic Law Committee, said Wednesday that while the Macau Basic Law can be amended, any possible amendments would require in-depth deliberations. Li also said that the mini-constitution’s authority and stability must be maintained at all costs. Li also said that […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:53 am

National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Deputy General Secretary Li Fei, who chairs the NPC Basic Law Committee, said Wednesday that while the Macau Basic Law can be amended, any possible amendments would require in-depth deliberations.

Li also said that the mini-constitution’s authority and stability must be maintained at all costs.

Li also said that local society should be cautious about allocating public resources to bolster residents’ standard of living and social welfare, and residents should not ask the government to continuously increase the amount of money allotted to both.

He warned that gaming being Macau’s only big business sector did not necessarily benefit society as a whole.

Li made the remarks in a keynote speech at the invitation of the Macau Basic Law Promotion Association at a seminar titled “Macau Basic Law and Macau Special Administrative Region Development”.

In his speech, Li said that someone had blamed the local government’s way of administering for the city’s longstanding problems and some even thought that “insufficient democracy” should be blamed for the problems.

“I think such a view is biased…of course the [local] government is responsible [for some of the problems]… however, the government has only been in existence for 15 years, it is a young government… it has not been easy for Macau to obtain today’s achievements within its limitations,” Li said.

“Macau is a small place and it cannot stand any kind of turmoil …any development or systemic reforms must be carried out gradually to ensure stability,” Li said, adding that the rule of law must not be affected.

“[Macau] should take the good parts of overseas systems …but it also should consider reality. If Macau just completely adopts those so-called universal values or international standards [for its system] it will lose what makes it special and become an ordinary place …and that is what we don’t want to see,” he said, adding, “…I also want to address the importance of the stability of the Macau Basic Law… it can be amended but [Macau residents] should definitely not ask to amend it without in-depth deliberations…[they] should work hard to maintain its [the Basic Law’s] authority and stability.”

Li also said the local government should increase its resources to improve residents’ livelihoods and social welfare as long as the local economy and public finances are in “quite good” shape.

“Considering Macau’s economic structure and its ageing society…it’s impossible for [residents] to ask the government to continuously increase resources for livelihood and social welfare polices…the whole society should be cautious about such matters,” Li said, adding  the government should come up with specific measures in response to public demands.

Li also urged the local government not to just focus on local economic growth and the gaming revenue since it also needed to consider the nation’s economy and stability.

“The whole of Macau will benefit if the local economy is diversified, however it does not benefit society as a whole when the gaming industry is the city’s only big business … [considering] the close links between the local gaming industry and the mainland, the local government should not only consider Macau’s economic growth and gaming revenues…but also the nation’s economy and its stability,” Li said.

Li also said: “I believe that society as a whole will keep a close eye on the government’s review of the gaming industry next year [when negotiations between the government and the city’s six gaming operators about the possible renewals of their respective concessions and sub-concessions are set to start]…and see what the government will do to ensure that the development of the gaming industry will benefit society as a whole by regulating and controlling its size and operation.”

Li also said that the local government should show determination in assisting new industries in diversifying the local economy.  (macaunews/macaupost)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:53 am

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