The upcoming legislative election in Macau, due to take place on September 17, is to have for the first time the participation of a local gaming activist group competing seats in the Legislative Assembly.
Cloee Chao (pictured), director of the gaming worker group Professional for Gaming of New Macau, confirmed to GGRAsia that she has delivered on Friday her nomination committee – containing 504 signatures – to the Electoral Affairs Commission for the Legislative Assembly Election.
Ms Chao said her nomination committee is titled “Casino Frontline Workers”.
“This is the first time we participate in the legislative election. If elected, we hope we can table a trade union bill and push for better benefits for gaming workers,” Ms Chao told GGRAsia. “We want to voice our opposition against imported labour and call for a full smoking ban inside casinos,” she added.
Ms Chao noted that the call for a trade union bill is to make sure that workers have the right tools to negotiate with their employers. She added that she intends to have only “gaming workers” in her ticket for the upcoming election.
Fourteen seats – of a total of 33 – are available for 2017’s direct election for the Legislative Assembly. In Macau, some seats in the legislative body are apportioned via direct election, and some via either indirect elections or appointment by the city’s chief executive.
In a separate development, Lei Kit Meng, a local junket investor, has confirmed having delivered on Thursday a list for his nomination committee for the upcoming election.
Mr Lei said he has gathered about 500 signatures for the nomination committee, all coming from members of an association called “Workers Self-Help Union Macau”. The association, presided by Mr Lei, focuses on grass-roots citizens’ interests, such as the call for protecting Macau residents’ jobs and better public housing policies.
“If we become a member of the assembly, we’ll voice out for anything that we don’t feel right about,” Mr Lei told GGRAsia. He did not comment on whether he would also represent gaming-related interests if elected to the legislative body.
Several incumbent directly-elected legislators have ties to the local gaming industry.
Angela Leong On Kei, an executive director of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd, has successfully campaigned three times in Macau for a directly-elected seat on the Legislative Assembly. Zheng Anting, a local junket representative, first campaigned – and successfully – for a directly-elected seat in 2013.
Chan Meng Kam, a veteran legislator, is the president of Golden Dragon Group Co Ltd, which runs Casino Golden Dragon and Casino Taipa Square. Both venues make use – under what is known as a service contract – of the gaming licence of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings.
Directly-elected legislator Melinda Chan Mei Yi is the wife of David Chow Kam Fai, co-chairman and chief executive of casino services firm Macau Legend Development Ltd. Mr Chow is himself a former legislator.
Earlier this month, Macau’s Electoral Affairs Commission for the Legislative Assembly Election warned the local casino operators not to intervene in the upcoming electoral campaign for the city’s legislature.
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters