A LOOK BACK AT 2015
Pedro Daniel Oliveira
The explanations given by Macau top officials on the tragic death of the Customs Chief Lai Man Wa, the arrest of Mr Alan Ho, the gaming revenues slump and the five policy secretaries’ performances are the highlights of the year 2015 for Macau Daily Times Director and Editor-in-Chief Paulo Coutinho.
“The city was shocked by the tragic death of Ms Lai Man Wa, who allegedly committed suicide by asphyxiation, according to the impromptu announcement by the government of police and forensics investigations. Many questioned the official preliminary report by authorities, including lawmakers Pereira Coutinho and Au Kam San. It seems nobody in this town fully trusts the official version and it is vital that authorities come up ‘ASAP’ with a credible report to put an end to rumors,” said Paulo Coutinho.
“2015 was also marred by the continuous steep decline in gaming receipts, which led to problems in the sector, namely in the exclusive and complex world of junkets and VIP gamblers,” he stressed, but pointed out “the worst case happened with Dore junket operation at Wynn,” which “led to a spiral of problems with dozens of ‘investors’, mostly locals, who lost their money invested with the junket in this high stakes game.”
“The city was also stunned by the arrest of Alan Ho, Stanley’s nephew and protégé, for allegedly being the head of a prostitution ring netting 400 millions per year in what was seen as an attack at the heart of ‘old school’, kind of sleazy Macau.”
“2015 was also the first full year of the new five policy secretaries. Chui revamped the whole team with new blood. The most active in the public eye were certainly Alexis Tam and Raimundo do Rosário, who dealt by default with the most pressing issues affecting day-to-day people’s life: health, education and social care; transportation, traffic and housing. The results? Another year on the waiting list,” he added.
To Rita Santos, recipient of the “dedication medal,” given by the Government of Macau on the past 7th of December, the year of 2015 “not only marked a big decline in revenues for the Government of Macau; moreover, (the majority of the legislators) did not approve the trade union bill (which was once again vetoed at the Legislative Assembly).”
“The lack of such kind of legislation does not respect the Basic Law spirit because the trade union law and collective bargaining are part of the Basic Law requirements.”
On the other hand, “it all went well because the Government of Macau was smart enough to give a salary raise to the civil servants, which led the gaming operators to do the same to their workers,” added Rita Santos.