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“I want to help people get a better life”
There is no room for doubt: Chan Meng Kam was the decisive winner of the 2013 Legislative Assembly (AL) elections - but he was not the only one. As he stated during a press conference yesterday, the United Citizens Association of Macau made history following the election of its third candidate Song Pek Kei, who will work alongside Chan Meng Kam and Si Ka Lon.
“I am really thankful to everyone who has supported me throughout this election and for voting on our list,” he told the Times, on the sidelines of the press conference.
As the saying goes, with great achievements come greater responsibilities. At the headquarters of the United Citizens Association of Macau, located near the Areia Preta neighbourhood, a victorious mood was palpable, but the candidates made it clear that they also felt the pressure of working to fulfill residents’ expectations. “With such a high number of votes, I really feel a great deal of pressure now, as people have expectations on my work at the Legislative Assembly and I do not want to let those people down,” Chan Meng Kam stated.
He has been working as a lawmaker over the past eight years and assures the Times that he always focused on helping those in need, “rather than helping rich people.”
Reviewing the last two weeks he spent campaigning, Chan emphasized how he “talked to a lot of residents, some of them quite poor, particularly around this area [Areia Preta] and they clearly showed they are struggling to overcome issues related to housing and inflation.”
The leader of the Fujian community discussed his commitment to helping those citizens: “I am aiming to help them, mostly because I was also poor before. I encountered difficulties some time ago and I want to help them to get a better life.” He stressed yet again that he “is not interested in helping those with higher incomes.”
As for a possible political reform, Chan Meng Kam replied to a journalist’s question, saying that he intends to fight toward achieving universal suffrage in Macau, but stated that it “has to be done progressively, rather than from one moment to the other.” He explained to the Times that he “does not feel the political system to be as comprehensive as he wished,” but added that “Macau needs time to improve its political system.” Nevertheless, he promised to fight for universal suffrage, “as there is more competition and this way everything is getting better.”
The second candidate on the list, Si Ka Lon, has well-defined goals and wishes to first solve the housing problems residents often face in Macau. He also mentioned the lists’ intention of proposing the creation of a gaming operator whose shareholders would only be Macau residents.
During the press conference, members of the United Citizens Association stated they were not expecting to get three AL seats – a first-time achievement after the MSAR’s establishment in 1999.
With such high number of votes, I really feel a great deal of pressure now, as people have expectations on my work at the AL
- Chan Meng Kam
Song Pek Kei, the list’s number three, will have the chance to serve as an AL lawmaker for the first time.
As the youngest of the three elected candidates, some questioned if she has enough experience to serve the people of Macau at the AL, but Song assured doubters that she has been working at the association for the past three years and knows the problems affecting those in need.
The recently elected lawmaker told the Times she intends to prioritize the issues of professional qualification and accreditation.
“My priority is to suggest that the government invest in the professional qualifications of people in Macau. Some residents do not complete their degrees, as they have to work to support themselves. In Macau, we have quite an unhappy society and some people are just trying to find a job, which can provide them with the means necessary to support their families. Therefore, they do not always have the motivation to improve their qualifications,” she explained.
Moreover, she emphasized that inflation is an issue affecting many young people, since they “want to get married but do not have enough money to buy a flat.” “Sometimes they can’t even afford to support their babies, so they really need a professional qualification,” she added.
Asked about her thoughts and feelings following the announcement of her election, Song Pek Kei admitted, “There were a few mixed feelings. I was happy and nervous at the same time. I will be working at the AL for the first time, but I have been working for the association over the past three years, and I tried to learn and follow in the steps of Mr Chan Meng Kam. Under his leadership, I will try to use my knowledge and efforts to work as a full-time lawmaker,” she promised. Until now, Song has been working as a part-
Chan Meng Kam was born in Fujian province back in 1962, but has been living in Macau since the 1980s. According to his biography, he started working as a house-builder and is currently an entrepreneur running several businesses in Macau, through his company “Golden Dragon.”
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