A total of 29 members of the Macao Legislative Assembly (AL) went to Beijing Thursday for a four-day visit to the national capital and the nearby municipality of Tianjin, with the aim of better understanding the ongoing social and economic development of the mainland, at the invitation of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.
Four legislators of the 33-member legislature did not go on the trip, having requested leave of absence. The four lawmakers are directly-elected non-establishment lawmakers Ng Kuok Cheong, Au Kam San and Sulu Sou Ka Hou, as well as indirectly-elected lawmaker-cum-restaurateur Andrew Chan Chak Mo.
While the non-establishment trio is understood to have refrained from travelling with the delegation for political considerations, Chan is reportedly on a fact-finding trip for Macao’s restaurant sector in Europe.
Speaking to reporters at the airport in Taipa yesterday before departing for Beijing, Legislative Assembly (AL) President Ho Iat Seng noted that it is the first time that members of the current legislative term, which started in October last year, have been invited by the central government to visit the mainland. Each legislative term lasts four years.
Ho said that the four-day visit aims to allow local lawmakers gain a better understanding of the mainland’s latest social and economic development. He also said that many legislators want to better understand the opportunities that the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) will bring to Macao.
The Greater Bay Area refers to the central government’s scheme to link the nation’s two special administrative regions – Hong Kong and Macao – and nine Pearl River Delta cities – Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan and Zhuhai – into an integrated economic and business hub. The scheme is also known as 9+2.
Ho, an indirectly-elected lawmaker representing the city’s business sector is the sole Macao member of the elite Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing.
The Chinese-language radio channel of government-owned broadcaster TDM reported yesterday evening that the 29 lawmakers will visit the Great Hall of the People where they will meet a number of state leaders. The delegation will also attend a seminar about the nation’s Constitution and the Macao Basic Law, according to the TDM report.
The TDM report added that the delegation will visit Tianjin – one of the nation’s four municipalities – tomorrow where its members are slated to meet members of the Standing Committee of the Tianjin Municipal People’s Congress. Tianjin is located on the west coast of the Bohai Sea, looking out to the provinces of Liaoning and Shandong.
The four municipalities – which are under the direct administration of the central government – are Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai and Tianjin.
The 29 legislators will also visit the Binhai New Area and the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City (SSTEC) during their visit to the coastal city, according to the TDM report.