Macau’s Legislative Assembly will have a fresh lineup of members, some familiar faces with ties to the gaming sector, following a poll held on Sunday. The term of the next Legislative Assembly (pictured) will run from 2021 to 2025, with only two members in the new legislature having a gaming background.
Zheng Anting, who had ties to Macau’s junket industry, was re-elected for his third term. He has been a directly-elected Macau legislator since 2013. The number two on his ticket, Lo Choi In, is a new face in the upcoming legislature. Their ticket had made no explicit mention of any gaming-related policy in its political programme.
Fourteen seats – of a total of 33 – were available for this year’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.
Angela Leong On Kei, a co-chairman and executive director of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd, was also returned to the Legislative Assembly, but this time as an indirectly-elected member.
The indirect-election portion of the process involves five constituencies representing various economic and social sectors, each electing between one to four legislators.
Ms Leong ran in the constituency representing culture and sports, which gets to elect two legislators. She teamed up with incumbent legislator Chan Chak Mo.
One of the topics likely to be presented to the new Legislative Assembly is the revision of Macau’s gaming law.
The city’s current six gaming concessions are due to expire in June 2022, unless the authorities grant a form of limited extension as permitted under current Macau gaming law. The government has said Macau’s gaming law needs to be updated as a linked issue to a new public tender.
According to the Electoral Affairs Commission for the Legislative Assembly Election, there were about 137,279 ballots cast for the direct election, representing a voter turnout of 42.38 percent. That compares with approximately 57 percent in the previous election in 2017.
In this year’s election, 14 electoral tickets were competing for the directly-elected seats on the Legislative Assembly. The number contrasted with the 24 tickets contesting the 2017 poll, after several tickets were disqualified from this year’s election.
In July, Macau gaming labour group activist Cloee Chao Sao Fong said her ticket for the directly-elected seats had withdrawn from the Legislative Assembly election. Ms Chao’s ticket had featured several other casino workers.
Ms Chao was part of a list of 20 candidates competing for a directly-elected legislator seat that were disqualified, according to a July announcement by the Electoral Affairs Commission. Without providing specifics, the commission said only that the decision was based on “factual evidence” proving that these candidates “had not upheld Macau’s Basic Law and had not met the requirement of pledging allegiance to the Macau Special Administrative Region”.
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”The Macau government is not aiming to trivialise or drive out the junket sector, but to regulate the sector so that it would not hurt Macau’s reputation”
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa
Chief executive of privately-held VIP junket business Suncity Group