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August 11, 2009

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Chui appointed chief of Macau

CHINA'S State Council, or Cabinet, agreed yesterday to appoint Chui Sai On as the new chief executive of the Macau Special Administrative Region.

Chui's five-year term begins on December 20, according to a Cabinet meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, who signed a State Council decree on the appointment.

Chui, 52, the only contender in the third chief executive election in Macau, was declared the winner of the election on July 26.

Wen said since the region returned to Chinese rule in 1999, Chui had served as secretary for social and cultural affairs and was "an important member of Macau's governance team."

Chui "firmly supported Chief Executive Ho Hau Wah" and had made achievements in his field, accumulating abundant administrative experience and leadership capabilities, Wen said.

Chui's election would be conducive to Macau's long-term stability and development, Wen said.

The approval of the State Council is the final process in appointing the chief executive. According to Macau's Basic Law, Chui needed the confirmation of Macau's Court of Final Appeal and appointment by China's central government to officially become the special administrative region's next chief executive.

The second term of Ho will end on December 19.

Chui said after the election he would make a priority of tackling social and economic problems brought about by the global economic downturn, and his policies would also focus on stabilizing unemployment, improving housing, and fighting corruption.

He said he would make efforts to maintain Macau's competitiveness in Asia's gambling market though gaming policy would not change in the near future.

The gambling sector, the pillar of Macau's economy, earned a record 108.7 billion patacas (US$13.7 billion) in revenues last year, an increase of 31 percent year on year, according to government figures. But the figure was down 12 percent year on year in the first half of 2009 due to the economic downturn.

Born in Macau in 1957, Chui completed his secondary education in Macau and continued his studies in the United States. He obtained his masters degree and doctorate in public health at the School of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma in the US.


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