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Chief Executive accuses Alexis Tam of overspending

Ho Iat Seng explained to TDM his reasons for dropping from his government the former Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam and Secretary for Economy and Finance, Leong Vai Tac

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:47 am

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng explained in an interview with the TDM Chinese channel, his two picks to succeed as Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture and Secretary for Economy and Finance in his newly formed government. Ho addressed his choices, namely his reasons for dropping the former Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam and Secretary for Economy and Finance,  Leong Vai Tac, and  from his government.

In the interview, the Chief Executive was particularly assertive when evaluating the work of Tam, who he accused of becoming increasingly unpopular and spending a very significant amount of public resources on projects whose outcomes could not be ascertained.

“Being wasteful is the biggest crime, I would say. Corruption is not the only crime, just one of the elements (to take into account). But being wasteful is also among the biggest crimes,” said Ho, speaking about Tam’s tenure as secretary.

Ho recalled that as the president of the Legislative Assembly, one of the topics he often addressed and was concerned about was the “waste of public resources.”

“Wasting resources is a current problem (from the previous government) and Tam’s Secretariat accounted for 35% of the annual budget – at least 30 billion patacas (US$ 3.75 billion) – and yet he was often a target of public dissatisfaction,” said Ho. This, Ho noted, constituted a problem that has kept him from future government roles.

Alexis Tam Chon Weng  was appointed by Ho Iat Seng head  of the Macau Economic and Commercial Delegation in Portugal headquartered, in Lisbon, and Macau Economic and Commercial Delegation in Brussels, Belgium.

Ho also took the opportunity to highlight the abilities of the new secretary, Elsie Ao leong U. Ho claims Ao has “thinking based on science and logic,” the opposite of Tam, who Ho said is more focused on rhetoric, speeches and slogans, “using words that residents like to hear, but, can they actually accomplish anything?”

Commenting on the choice of Lei Wai Nong for the post of Secretary for Economy and Finance, the Chief Executive noted that his first criteria for choosing secretaries was related to their “loyalty and execution ability.” He noted that Lei had better experience and insight into to the problems and needs of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

“It is not right to have a secretary just to serve the six large enterprises. It’s unbalanced,” said Ho.

The assessment of the Chief Executive is indicative of Ho’s impression that Leong’s work in the post was too focused on the gaming concessionaires. It shows that Ho believes Leong  Vai Tac has not paid enough attention to the small and medium-sized enterprises, which the government says it wants to promote as the new “economic engines” of economic diversification.

“Most of our enterprises are SMEs and we need to push forward our local enterprises and create a living space for co-development. Helping large-scale enterprises is putting the icing on the cake while helping SMEs is to offer warmhearted support,” the Chief Executive concluded.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:47 am

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