Macau new leader pledges greater spending control

Chefe do Executivo do V Governo da Região Administrativa Especial de Macau, Ho Iat Seng, no primeiro

Chefe do Executivo do V Governo da Região Administrativa Especial de Macau, Ho Iat Seng, no primeiro dia de trabalho, na Sede do Governo

  |  GCS

Macau"s Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, who took office last week, said y that he would demand greater control of public spending.

Ho, a former speaker of Macau"s legislative assembly, spoke to reporters on his first day of work as leader of the Special Administrative Region, after being sworn in on 20 December by China"s president, Xi Jinping.

According to an official statement, the new chief executive said that he had "always [heard] deputies calling for the need for the supervision of the investment of public capital" and that he had already demanded "greater attention to public expenditure".

Ho"s comments come after an interview with regional broadcaster TDM"s Chinese-language channel Or Mun in which he accused the former secretary for social affairs and culture, AlexisTam, of squandering public funds.

According to TDM"s Rádio Macau, citing the company"s Chinese-language channel, the new leader referred to unnecessary spending and wasteful management of resources that, according to Ho, is as bad as the crime of corruption.

"Being wasteful is the biggest crime, that's what I can say," TDM quoted him as saying. "Corruption is not the only crime... But being wasteful is also among the biggest crimes."

Alexis Tam, who led the Department of Social Affairs and Culture for five years, has since last week been the representative of the territory's economic and commercial delegation in Lisbon and to the European Union, in Brussels. He was appointed by Ho Iat Seng himself.

Also according to the same statement, the new chief executive stressed that "the investment of public capital involves a lot of public funds, in entities and companies in both Macau and mainland China; there is a need to set up a body responsible for supervision and planning in order to standardise the functioning of this type of entities and undertakings and to create requirements and equal criteria for funds that have administrative and financial autonomy."

That was a reference to the establishment of the Office for the Planning of Supervision of Public Assets of the Macau Special Administrative Region.

Before he took office last Friday, Ho Iat Seng had in his speeches focussed on combating corruption, building transparent government and reforming public administration through the rationalisation of frameworks and administrative simplification - reforms that are expected to begin from April 2020.