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Macao chief executive sketches 2008 policy direction
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Edmund Ho Hau Wah, chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), delivered the annual policy address here at the Legislative Assembly house on Tuesday afternoon, outlining his government's directional policy for the coming year.

Ho said in the address that the MSAR has conducted through testing moments over the past year under the support from the central government and from all Macao residents.

The region has been marching toward implementing "One country, two systems", "Macao people governing Macao" and the high autonomy, said the official.

The government, in the coming year, will spare no efforts to enact measures for the people's benefit and it will build a prosperous society implementing the principle of a people-based policy, Ho said.

He said Macao would cement its economic base and speed up its development pace to create "the multi dimensional economy."

The official said the MSAR government would heighten development in the tourism business and advocate reforms in the manufacture industry in the coming year.

Ho said that the government would enhance surveillance on the pillar gaming industry in a bid to usher in a healthy development process for this business.

He pledged to help promote cooperation between the region's enterprises and those of the Chinese mainland, saying that Macao would play a more active role as the platform for economic cooperation between China and overseas countries.

He also promised to support the development of medium and small enterprises.

The chief executive vowed to enhance the living standard for all residents and to help the common people benefit from current social and economic development.

Ho said that the government has pledged to build over 7,000 new public residence flats by the end of 2009, and to improve the public transport conditions by increasing the number of parking spaces and building a new light-rail system.

The official said that the government in the coming year would carry out a feasibility study on the reconstruction of the region's ancient city; they would also improve the quality of life among the poor and support the disabled and the aged.

He pledged to increase administrative transparency and increase administrative levels.

Macao is to follow "the reform roadmap," worked out in 2006, to create a cleaner government, the official said.

He said that the government would enhance their anti-corruption surveillance system to guarantee that public servants fulfill their obligations legally and properly.

He pledged to grant access to the private spaces inside the region's Commission Against Corruption so that the anti-graft police could carry out their mission more effectively.

The chief executive said that his government would improve the region's educational and cultural environment and boost progress around the 15-year free education scheme and "the quality education plan". He added that the government would help schools to improve their infrastructure and logistics to ease teachers' burdens and revise the current scholarship system in a bid to encourage students to study harder.

Ho also promised to more allocation of funds to protect cultural and historic sites.

(Xinhua News Agency November 14, 2007)

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