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Old August 3rd, 2012, 07:21 AM   #281
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UM accused of “black-box” management
03/08/2012
Macau Daily Times

A civil group yesterday petitioned against the University of Macau’s management practices and urged the institution to disclose its budget for the new campus in Hengqin. The group questioned if UM can educate a future Chief Executive as Rector Zhao Wei hopes.

The New Macau Association (ANM) handed their petition to the university’s representative at the entrance of the school’s administrative building. ANM President Jason Chao urged UM to change what he called the “black-box” handling of its budget and other important decisions.

UM’s new campus in Hengqin consists of two budgets, according to Chao: The construction of the building cluster is financed by the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT), but there is also a separate budget for facilities acquirement, which Chao said was a hefty one that deserves public scrutiny.

“Last year we met Zhao Wei (UM Rector) and he promised to disclose this budget by the middle of this year,” Chao said, “but we still see no disclosure from them, that’s why we’re here today.” He said another reason for the petition is that UM seems to be trying to shun the responsibility of financial transparency: “As far as we’re concerned UM is amending the charter to make itself a private corporate body instead of a public corporation as it currently is, in order to avoid the restrictions imposed on public bodies. By doing so, UM will have much higher flexibility and independence in its budget management, administration, and staff recruitment.”

“What we’re most concerned about is that it would be much more difficult for the public to supervise the institution’s spending and management once it gets out of the government structure.”

In addition to budget disclosure, ANM also asked the school to review its management approach to some of the most important issues. As an example, Chao said ANM received numerous complaints from UM teachers, students and alumni accusing UM of “false consultation” in the making of a school anthem, in which a consultation campaign was conducted to “collect materials” from students and teachers, but the results were never reflected in the final work.

“The school put on a show of consultation, after which the anthem was assigned to dignitaries. The school’s just pretending to be transparent in their decision while indeed they’re not.” Chao did not mention any particular person’s name but according to the University, the lyrics of the anthem were written by Tse Chi Wai, Chair of UM Council, and composed by the Canadian musician Margaret Tse Perron.

As another example, Chao said instead of great persons, UM names its faculty buildings after the names of businessmen who donated funds to the school. He questioned if this kind of money-oriented approach can help the University educate quality officials and Chief Executives the city needs. The University was not immediately available for response to the Association’s comments and requests.

ANM says UM students shouldn’t use “bloody tunnel”

In response to the collapse of the tunnel linking Macau to UM’s new campus in Hengqin, Jason Chao urged the school and the government to press the contractor and the Zhuhai authorities for an in-depth investigation into the incident as some workers claimed that some of their fellow diggers were buried alive when the tunnel collapsed last month. He said that Macau students would not want to cross a “bloody river” to the new campus. The civil leader also expressed concerns about whether the incident would incur further funding to the construction budget that has already been increased several times.
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Old August 5th, 2012, 03:12 PM   #282
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Accident-stricken area to become Taipa transport hub
27/07/2012 08:15:00 Sum Choi
Macau Daily Times

The government is conducting a major project in Estrada Governador Albano de Oliveira to transform the accident-stricken area into a regional transport hub, connecting public transportation networks including; the Light Rapid Transit system, bus and taxi terminals, to residential areas, tourist spots, commercial districts and the border-crossing point in northern Taipa. The first phase of works with a tag of MOP 428 million will take over 2 years to complete.

In a press conference yesterday, the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) said part of the initial works had already begun but the core construction would not start until August. The whole project is divided into two phases; the first one opposite to the Macau Jockey Club will begin next month and is expected to take 849 days. The second phase, adjacent to the first one, is yet to have a construction timetable or budget. GIT only commented that it would be initiated in accordance with the progress on the first phase.

GIT said the project would be conducted under three guiding principles: “people-oriented”, “priority for public transport”, and “higher living quality”, which are manifested in the design and realization of the project. The road is notorious for its poor safety conditions and it has just witnessed a fatal accident last month that cost the life of an elderly person crossing the road. GIT said after the construction, proper crossings and a pedestrian way will be in place to ensure safety in the area. The bus stops spread across the long road will also be congregated into a major terminal with a proper waiting zone. To avoid congestion and allow more space for public transportation, the current parking lot will be relocated to an underground level, which can accommodate more vehicles including large coaches and private cars. GIT stressed ventilation systems will be installed to give the areas enough fresh air.

There will also be an upper level where a green podium with trees and plants will connect the residential blocks along the road to the LRT station, as well as the “old city district” where many tourists visit. GIT promised to create a “convenient, reliable, accessible, environmental friendly, and green transit hub” for the people. In addition to building an efficient public transportation hub, the works are also expected to improve the living conditions for the area as a whole.

To alleviate possible impacts of the construction works on residents along the road, GIT will coordinate with other public departments to facilitate road closure and temporary transport arrangements for the district. GIT will also make use of the liaison center for LRT construction as a place for residents to lodge possible feedback or complaints for related works.

As a major component of the transit hub, the Taipa LRT segment in downtown Taipa has already started in late February. The two-kilometer project will include five stations – Ocean Gardens, Macau Jockey Club, Macau Stadium and one between the old Taipa village and the Galaxy Macau resort. Last month the construction of the LRT Cotai Section and Lotus Border Crossing Section were also commenced, connecting northern Taipa all the way from the Lotus checkpoint on the west coast to the Pac On Ferry Terminal in the east.

The works should be completed around May 2015, which is close to the completion of the first phase of the transformation of Estrada Governador Albano de Oliverira. GIT promised to publicize the details of the second phase once a decision is made.
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Old August 7th, 2012, 04:08 PM   #283
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MGM faces bankruptcy risks, analysts say
06/08/2012 07:49:00
Macau Daily Times



MGM’s new Macau project is tightening up its cash flow. Coupled with a slowdown of Mainland economic growth, the casino operator might face serious risks of bankruptcy in two years, according to a securities analysis report by Seeking Alpha.

In the report dated August 2, the firm’s analyst said MGM made big leveraged bets on China and Vegas through extensive expansion into Macau and the construction of the City Center complex. “With slowdowns in both China and the spending habits of visitors to Las Vegas, MGM may be setting itself for a huge fold into possible insolvency and bankruptcy. Due to MGM’s cash flow risk and the risk of a further economic downturn, the report called for a close watch of its cash flow situation for potential bankruptcy. “The red flag that stood out to me about MGM is its weakening ability to cover its interest obligations,” it said.

“With a debt-to-equity ratio at a stratospheric 2.27, MGM is overloaded with debt, along with increasingly climbing interest expenses. MGM’s current annualized interest expense is USD1.1 billion dollars, which is far higher than its debt level in the 2008 economic downturn. On a per-share basis, this translates to USD 2.33 on an annual basis. MGM’s Q1 free cash flow is USD 231 million, and can possibly deteriorate further on economic weakness.”

The report said even assuming that cash stays marginally positive over the next three years, MGM is still a bankruptcy risk. With USD 2.33 per share in interest expense and only USD 3.34 of cash reserves per share, MGM only has 1.44 years’ worth of interest payments in cash until it cannot pay back debt obligations. Even with the highly leveraged gaming industry, this figure is weak; competitors such as Las Vegas Sands and Wynn have 15.83 and 24.59 cash/interest payment ratios respectively.

“In addition to cash flow problems, economic factors are working against MGM and the gaming industry. A recent release of weak earnings from LVS confirms the slowdown in gaming spending in both Singapore and Macau. Unless MGM sells its assets to deleverage, or earnings turn around significantly in Macau and Las Vegas, the firm has serious risks of bankruptcy within the next two years.”
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Old August 8th, 2012, 04:24 PM   #284
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Uncertain situation of historic firecracker factory arouses concerns
08/08/2012 08:00:00
Macau Daily Times

During a meeting that took place yesterday at the site of the “Iec Long Fábrica de Panchões” (former firecracker factory) in Taipa, lawmakers and representatives of Macau associations expressed their concern about the preservation of the historic site. Lawmaker Mak Soi Kun showed journalists around and pointed on out the structural damages that the typhoon hads caused.

On the street side, he warned that some of the building’s roof tiles are “about to fall” and can be dangerous for tourists and residents. As it’s not quite clear who owns the property, there is uncertainty about how to follow up the with preservation efforts. But Mr Mak insisted: “It’s an immediate potential danger to tourists. That is most important, thus the government should handle it before making sure of the ownership.” He urged the government to set up a cross-departmental team to handle the issue of what represents “the most historic firecracker factory in the region”.

All the speakers agreed on the fact that the current situation of the place “causes safety concerns for the public, and also hygiene and traffic problems”. Thus “different government departments” should handle the problem the of ownership and the consequently legal responsibility if an accident happens. should be handled by “different government departments”.

Lawmaker Ho Ion Sang stated that, “the government has to do more for the preservation in old Taipa village to make tourists stay longer.” He perceives “the delay in a heritage preservation law” as a “negative impact on historic sites’ preservation”. The lawmaker also pointed out that the former firecracker factory is “of much importance to reinforce the region as a tourist hub in and to extend the business circles to Taipa.”

Mr Chan Xu Wing, chairman of the Macau Association for Historical Education, said that, “every country is doing undertaking heritage preservation and the firecracker factory is an much important piece of living history of in Macau’s firecracker- making history.” He pointed out that, “it was one of Macau’s three major industries in the past” and the factory used to have 3,000 workers in the at its prime time.” The chairman concluded by urging: “We have to preserve the place before having further ideas as to how to turn it into an attraction come up, such as making a firecracker museum out of it”.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 05:35 PM   #285
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In Coloane 609 affordable units ready
10/08/2012 10:08:00
Macau Daily Times

Tam Kuong Man, President of the Housing Bureau, together with members from the Committee for Public Housing Affairs visited the show flats at the Ip Heng Building, where ten blocks of affordable housing units will be built. According to the authority, 609 units are to be launched, including 459 double-room (T2) and 150 triple-room sized (T3).

The Ip Heng affordable units are fully financed by the MSAR government and are located on Coloane’s Seac Pai Van Estrada, next to Parque de Seac Pai Van. The affordable housing area will be comprised of ten blocks with 26-floors in each building. A total number of 2,153 units will be available, that’s 1,544 single-room flats, 459 double-room flats and 150 three-room ones. The Government said the current affordable housing units had been sufficient for those families waiting on the single-room (T1) list; therefore they would only provide double and triple-room sized apartments in this round.

With a saleable area of 45.01 square meters, a double-room flat in Ip Heng will go on sale at the price of MOP 740,800; while for apartments with three rooms, covering an effective area of 59.13 square meters, the cost will rise to MOP 957,300. Units will be furnished with natural gas and reclaimed water amenities. About 900 parking lots will be provided, as well as community facilities such as a service center. The authority said they would also deploy a bus transfer station bound for the Macau Peninsula and the islands. The Government believed that the bus service could be further developed in the foreseeable future by transferring to light rail when the latter is completed.

Tam denied that the affordable housing was built solely according to minimum construction standards. Instead, he emphasized that the construction were carried out on a “people-oriented” basis. “The saleable area of these units, built by the Government, is larger than that prescribed in the new housing law”.

In addition, legislators criticized the Housing Bureau for arranging inappropriate public housing units for a disabled applicant who they subsequently refused to re-allocate. Tam said current social housing had barrier-free facilities for handicapped people. As for affordable housing that lacks such facilities, he “has confidence in adjusting facilities within his purview” by using “discretion”.

Starting from August 14, selected families can visit show flats similar to the ones available in Seac Pai Van. These show flats are situated in Ilha Verde. Purchasing will start on August 21.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 06:52 AM   #286
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Melco Crown gets approval for hotel on Studio City, casino not mentioned
27/07/2012 08:25:00
Bloomberg

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., a venture between billionaire James Packer and a son of gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, got government approval to build a five-star hotel on one of the casino company’s land concessions in Macau. The Chinese city’s Public Works & Transport department on July 19 approved a hotel and film production facilities on a 130,789 square meter (1.4 million square foot) plot earmarked for the company’s Studio City project, according to a Macau’s Official Gazette issued last Wednesday. Construction on Melco’s Studio City project could start within the next six to nine months, said Macquarie Equities Research analyst Gary Pinge. “We see this as a positive development,” for Melco Crown, said Pinge. “It cements the future growth pipeline.” The gazette didn’t specify if a casino had also been approved on the site. “We think that a casino will be covered,” Pinge said. The revised contract now published in the Official Gazette implies that the Studio City will give back 10,000 square meters of land to the government.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 10:31 AM   #287
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MSAR nullifies “La Scala” land concession, stamp duty to be returned
16/08/2012 08:26:00
Macau Daily Times

Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd., the company controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau, said Macau’s government had declared the “La Scala” land concession invalid, affecting HKD 3.8 billion of home sales. The decision was published yesterday in the MSAR Official Gazette, which mentioned that the land grant “was flawed by the criminal intervention” of Ao Man Long, Macau’s former secretary of transportation and public works.

After yesterday’s meeting of the 2nd Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly (AL), lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong commented on the government’s decision to void the“La Scala” land concession. He said not to be surprised about the government’s decision, and for him, “this news is not good news. It will have a negative influence on the image and economic environment of Macau.” In order to “turn the bad news into good news”, Cheong thinks: “We must use this land more practically. The government should use the land for “public houses.” Regarding Macau’s economic environment, the corruption case “is an accident”. “I don’t expect more cases to happen in the future”, said the lawmaker confidently.

Lawmaker Chan Chak Mo was less willing to talk about the case. He first stated he did not have an opinion and said: “I’m not in the legal sector”, but then added that he supports the government.

Moon Ocean Ltd., a unit of Chinese Estates, can object to the cancellation within 15 days of the decision’s publication in a government gazette and can also appeal to the courts, Chinese Estates said in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing on Tuesday.

HKD 3.8b Contracted “La Scala” apartment sales

Lau will go on trial in Macau starting September 17 on charges of bribery and money laundering. The avid art collector was named in April in the corruption trial of Ao Man Long, in relation to the March 2006 land purchase that was just canceled.

“The group is currently taking legal advice on the decision notice and the appropriate actions to be taken,” Hong Kong-based Chinese Estates said in the statement.

Shares of Chinese Estates are down 26 percent this year, compared with the 10 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index. Lau, who controls almost 75 percent of the HKD17.7 billion developer, has denied allegations that he or his company might have given bribes to Ao.

Chinese Estates has collected HKD 384 million of deposits on HKD 3.8 billion of contracted apartment sales made for the La Scala project being built on the site, according to a filing in June. At the time, the company said that the city government had revised the land concession for development in March 2011 with knowledge of the land transfer investigation.

Lau’s trial adds to the recent scrutiny of ties between Hong Kong tycoons and officials. In March the Hong Kong government arrested the co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., the city’s biggest developer, and charged them with conspiring to provide a former chief secretary with payments and loans for unspecified favors.

Buyers can have their money back

Following the decision published in yesterday’s Official Gazette, the Financial Services Bureau revealed that all the “La Scala” buyers who paid stamp duty for residential real estate transactions can have their money back. For that to happen, the developer Moon Ocean Ltd. must first return the money already paid by the buyers. Buyers must then present proof that the money was returned to them; then the Financial Services Bureau will return the stamp duty.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 05:59 PM   #288
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Lawmakers question motives for cross-harbor tunnel collapse
Macau Daily Times
15 August 2012

The explanations given by the developer and by the incident report about the fall of part of the cross-harbor tunnel on July 19 were questioned by several lawmakers during yesterday’s plenary meeting at the Legislative Assembly (AL). The Infrastructure Development Office (GDI) coordinator, Chan Hon Kit, was present at the meeting to try to appease the many doubts, albeit unsuccessfully.

The indirectly elected lawmaker, Lam Heong Sang, stressed that the authorities didn’t release enough information about the incident when it happened. This generated a lot of criticism from grassroots organizations, who questioned the existent information mechanisms and lack of oversight by the MSAR government on the construction works being conducted on Hengqin Island.

Lam Heong Sang, who is also vice-president of the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (AGOM), mentioned that the MSAR government still has no jurisdiction over the construction site, which means that Mainland laws still apply until the University of Macau’s future campus is built. “Since there is a certain difference between the MSAR and Mainland laws, the government should establish with the developer and with the Chinese authorities an efficient mechanism to coordinate the works and inform the public”, he said.

The lawmaker asked if the government is planning to set up some measures in order “to make sure that after the works resume, and until they finish, everything will be done according to the law and with transparency in the release of information”.

Paul Chan Wai Chi used some strong words for his critics: “The rain and too much digging can’t be presented as justifications for the fall. What were the overseer teams doing there? Sleeping? Taking a coffee?” the New Macau Association member asked, quoted by Radio Macau. Mak Soi Kun proposed that the lawmakers could visit the construction site, “because some of the lawmakers work in this industry”.

GDI coordinator Chan Hon Kit listened and praised the developer: “The general developer isn’t a nobody. He has a lot of experience and the incident didn’t happen because of him, but because of issues related with the execution of the works.” The coordinator tried to assure lawmakers about the overseeing of construction works, stressing that the alarm system implemented “worked during the incident, and the working personnel were evacuated, avoiding casualties”.

The incident report, written by the Expert Group of Tongji University, was presented on Monday and sums up the causes that led to the collapse. According to the document, a weak geological structure in the surface existed which made the layer “complicated”. Besides, heavy rains during that time period led to the increase of water in the stratum, causing ground water levels to rise and thus making the soil along the weak interlayer slip. But some local lawmakers still did not seem convinced with the explanations presented.
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Old August 18th, 2012, 10:47 AM   #289
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Shopkeepers strike near Three Lamps roundabout
17/08/2012 09:18:00
Macau Daily Times

Some 40 shopkeepers, mainly in Rua do Lu Cao and Rua da Emenda, went on strike yesterday. The protesters criticized the “renovation plan” put forth by the Civil and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) for threatening their businesses by allowing vendors to move in in front of their shops. The group requested a “fair conversation” with the government.

According to the shopkeepers, IACM required businesses to leave the entrance areas outside shops for licensed vendors, so that the former could also have some extra space beside the actual shop. If shopkeepers are unwilling to follow this option, the second choice is that they will have to move their goods back into stores and would be ineligible for any extra space. About 30 shops on Rua do Lu Cao were closed and slogans reading "strike" were seen on closed doors and walls. Some other shops on streets nearby were also closed. The five streets Rua da Emenda, Rua de Brás da Rosa, Rua do Lu Cao, Rua do Rebanho and Rua de Tomé Pires located between the Three Lamps roundabout and the Red Market are a popular low-budget shopping area for locals.

Leung Su Nam, President of Macau Shopper-Friendly Association (one grassroots group) presided over the press conference at the entrance of a frozen food store, which is also owned and run by Leung himself. He declared: “We are for the renovation plan, what we can’t stand is vendors occupying areas right in front of our shops, and this new policy is approved by the authority”. Leung went on to say that the shopkeepers have negotiated with the authority nine times yet have still reached no consensus. “We are running our businesses with difficulties especially for these few months, profits have declined by over 50 percent. We are afraid that Dua da Emenda, as well as other low-budget shopping streets nearby will become a second copy of Rua de Cinco de Outubro”.

Au Yeung Kwong Yan, Acting Chairman of the association, said that this strike aimed to harness social attention and help citizens be informed of the “facts” behind the policy. “According to what IACM told citizens and media, most of our shopkeepers had agreed to the deal; while in fact, we didn’t even know the content of the renovation plan, not to mention we have never received it,” Au continued. “If the authority keeps turning a blind eye to our appeals, we are considering taking further action such as going on a hunger strike.” The grassroots association expressed their aspiration at the end: “We really hope IACM can return to fair conversation with us shopkeepers so that shopkeepers and vendors can reach a win-win”.

Mr. Tong, who runs a clothes shop on Rua do Lu Cao, was one of these protesters. Tong said he rents the shop from the owner. “I don’t care if I have to move to another place, but I don’t want to watch these residential shopping areas be screwed up by IACM”. In contrast, vendors held opposite opinions. Ms. Kam told journalists that she and her husband had been selling clothes for over 40 years, “shopkeepers bully us small vendors; we have to place the booth beside pillars or next to stairs. I am for IACM’s plan, the pavement will be wider and cleaner”. Kam even gave the thumbs up while saying “IACM is No.1”.

The civil society group suggested the strike should only carry on for another day, because they feared shopkeepers would face greater losses if it lasts any longer.
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Old August 18th, 2012, 01:41 PM   #290
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Old August 18th, 2012, 05:17 PM   #291
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Agreement on the draft bill regulating estate agents’ operations
17/08/2012 09:18:00
Macau Daily Times

The Legislative Assembly’s First Standing Committee and the government reached an accord yesterday over the draft bill regulating real estate agents’ operations. The divide between the government and lawmakers occurred because the first didn’t want to include the punishments for legal violations in the law, preferring to establish them later through a supplementary administrative regulation signed by the Chief Executive. But the government changed its mind, at least partially. The last draft bill presented includes some sanctions. Others were left out of the bill because, according to the president of the first committee, Kwan Tsui Hang, the government says that they are already established in the commercial and civil codes. Still in debate are the requirements demanded to enter the real estate profession and the entity that will oversee the law. “The government hasn’t decided yet if the Housing Bureau will be responsible for that”, Kwan informed journalists after the meeting.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 07:39 PM   #292
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Iao Hon needs a new facelift; unclear ownership is an obstacle to revamp
21/08/2012
Macau Daily Times

The Iao Hon neighborhood revamp can only be carried out after the draft law on the old neighborhood renewal legal system is fully discussed and passed by the Legislative Assembly, according to the Consultative Committee for Urban Renewal. The fact that property ownership in the area is often unclear makes it difficult for renewal projects to be carried out.

The Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Mr Lau Si Io, presided yesterday over the second ordinary meeting of the Consultative Committee on the Renewal of Macau’s Old Districts in 2012. Other than reports on Iao Hon, the meeting also covered renewal plans for the Rua dos Negociantes in Coloane Village, Rua da Encosta and NAPE as well as a new channel between Macau and Guangdong province.

Lao Iong, who oversees the Urban Planning Department of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) announced to the media that an over-one-year-long indoor survey had found that among a total of 2,428 units inside seven buildings in Iao Hon, nearly half (49.38%) of these households are currently occupied by tenants, while property owners account for less than 30 percent. The rest of these houses are vacant or have been transformed into shops.

Lao said the survey identified several ownership-related cases, which helped to exclude potential future difficulties that they might encounter in redevelopment. He also pointed out that property ownership was regarded as a private issue, therefore their staff were not eligible to initiate property-related inquiries. “We plan to conduct home interviews as well as weekly lectures to get across knowledge to residents about property registration,” said Lao.

The law on the old neighborhood renewal legal system is still under detailed discussion in the AL; Lao confirmed that the reconstruction of Iao Hon is dependent on this law. But he didn’t comment on whether or not the law could be introduced within the foreseeable future. “I think the delay of this law may be due to the heavy workload of AL members, in addition, the law on the old neighborhood renewal legal system may be the most complicated law that involves multiple sectors,” said Lao.
As for the houses located in Coloane, the renewal plan aims to introduce cultural industries in the area where today stilt constructions stand. The aim is to promote tourism while reserving the stilts’ unique architectural style. “Stilt house residents agreed on the plan. All they are concerned about are their rights of living or running businesses there after accepting the proposal. But further details will be available after a specific committee is established,” Lao stated.

The second stage of the plan near NAPE, as MDT reported earlier, includes construction of a green park with pedestrian footbridge, a lift tower connecting the park through pedestrian access, together with a road next to the central government liaison office. The park, located right below the Chuk kung ting, covers an area of about 1,200 square meters. This project is going to be carried out next month, according to DSSOPT.

The new cross-border pedestrian bridge between the northern tip of the Macau Peninsula and the Gongbei district in Zhuhai has drawn lots of public attention. The government has also put it into its meeting agenda. A new checkpoint will be built housing the South Guangdong Wholesale Market and the surrounding area, as well as a section of the Canal Dos Patos. The government planned to take the opportunity to also clean up the badly polluted river and turn it into a “green belt” along the waterway. The government said they would initiate the project by moving the Wholesale Market and the Vehicle Examination Centre. The Wholesale Market, which is currently under design, will begin construction within the year; tender for the Vehicle Examination Centre has finished and the center is supposed to be set up in 2014.

Lao said five task forces were ready for the current procedure. Once the 24-hour border gate is built, the authority assumes it will be able to sustain 200,000 to 250,000 people per day at most. However, no timetable is available yet regarding its construction and operation since both sides are waiting for the support of the central government.
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Old August 26th, 2012, 02:02 PM   #293
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Foundations for future “heart of LRT system” being laid down
22/08/2012 08:33:00
Macau Daily Times

The foundations for the construction of the machinery pool and the office for the first phase of the Light Rail Transit system (LRT) are being laid down at the new landfill area near the Taipa Airport. This construction work will be fundamental for the operation of the future LRT.

In order to facilitate the first phase, the current foundation work consists basically in the two steps of first cleaning up the land and then installing the underground stakes. For this procedure a maximum execution time of 380 days is given. Thus, by the end of the year, the foundations are expected to be completed and will give way to the construction of what Peter Chow Wai Tak, technical advisor of the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT), has called the “heart of the LRT system.”

On the future area of around 130,000 m2 that will host the machinery pool and the office, the LRT administration and maintenance, the metro training and parking area, as well as the necessary advisory facilities for the supervision of the LRT will also be included. As the area used to be a deposit for construction residue, a lot of waste still remains underground and has to be dug out first. Therefore, the construction company will use a detector to localize the remains. The GIT technical advisor explained they are employing newer technology this time in order to create “less noise and less air pollution”. This is because the GIT received “public opinions that demand more environmentally friendly works.”

Mr Chow, however, did not reveal where the waste will be brought once it is dug out. He assured the media that “everything will be according to the law.” The remnants include pieces of furniture anchored on the seabed. Dr. Chan Mun Fong from the consulting company IVIL then illustrated on a map the different procedural steps for the construction works. “Right now, we are carrying out pre-drilling to remove the waste and to measure the inclination angle for the stakes”, he explained. In this procedure the verticality for the stakes is verified. For the construction work, 299 pillars between 1.5, 1.8 and 2 meters in diameter and around 60 to 90 meters long have to be built, which will have a length of 21 kilometers in total. Dr. Chan explained that by using new technology, there won’t be any problems related to the area’s use as a landfill. To ensure the safety of workers, they will be required to complete a training course before starting work.

The engineers then guided the journalists around the construction site to another office, where General Engineer Yang Linquan presented the large tubes that will protect the underground stakes, and that are also being produced on site. The construction of the machinery pool and the office for the first phase of the LRT is expected to follow next year.
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Old August 27th, 2012, 05:43 PM   #294
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New Macau questions affordable housing prices
24/08/2012
Macau Daily Times

The government announced prices for affordable apartments in Bairro da IIha Verde recently. After calculating the minimum price for each square foot, the New Macau Association (ANM) alleged that the price for each square foot went up to MOP1,647 and that the government had broken its original promise setting the price at MOP1,100. The suggestion of a price set at around MOP1,100 was made during the debate about the legal document on constructing and selling affordable housing that was passed in August, 2011.

Speaking at a press conference organized yesterday, the president of the ANM also addressed the question of the affordable housing committee that advises on the prices of affordable houses, amongst other competences.

“The government was reluctant to reveal who the members of that committee are and how they set the price for affordable houses (...) We will closely watch the developments on public housing. In the meantime, we will urge the government to explain who the members of the committee are and how they reached that value,” said Jason Chao, President of New Macau. The group requested transparency on the pricing issue and insisted that the price for affordable houses should be based on construction costs rather than on market prices.

They accused the government of arranging flats in remote areas for applicants to choose and actual sizes being smaller than what the public was told before. Lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong doubted that the arrangement relates to “political policy”. “As the Pearl River Delta area is integrating, the government may tend to give out a signal that Macau people could have other choices if they don’t like these affordable houses or they prefer larger living space”. Ng said they are not against such integration, but given the fact that the population of elderly residents is larger than the younger generation, “if young adults are forced to leave Macau for a better living environment, who can support and contribute to our society?” Ng proposed the government adjust the “political intention” for the sake of the city’s further development.
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Old August 28th, 2012, 04:33 PM   #295
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Galaxy Entertainment first-half profit surges on new resort
28/08/2012 08:20:00
Macau Daily Times

Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.’s first-half profit climbed nine fold after the Macau casino operator drew more Chinese visitors to a gambling resort it set up last year. Net income for the six months ended June rose to HKD3.45 billion (USD445 million) from HKD378 million a year earlier. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, surged to HKD4.7 billion from HKD1.8 billion for the six months.

The company opened the Galaxy Macau resort on the city’s Cotai strip in May last year. It plans to invest HKD16 billion to almost double the size of that gambling center in the Chinese city to compete with rivals including Sands China Ltd., Wynn Macau Ltd. and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. First-half revenue doubled to HKD28.3 billion. “The profit jump was largely due to the contribution of Galaxy Macau,” said Chief Financial Officer Robert Drake in a telephone interview after the earnings announcement. “Our resorts will continue to ramp up.” Galaxy shares fell 3.3 percent to HKD21.75 at the 4 p.m. close in Hong Kong. The benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 0.41 percent.

“Galaxy will be likely to see continuous improvement in the mass market business, benefiting from a ramp-up of its integrated resorts,” said Grant Govertsen, a Macau-based analyst at Union Gaming Research ahead of the earnings announcement. Mass market revenue growth will outpace high-stakes gambling, or the VIP business, for the next two to three years, according to Govertsen. The slower Chinese economy will hurt VIP operations more than the mass market, he said.

The planned Galaxy Macau expansion will add up to 500 gaming tables, luxury stores and 1,300 rooms from the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels. Casino operators are expanding even as revenue growth slows in the Chinese city. Macau gambling revenue rose 1.5 percent to 24.6 billion patacas in July, the smallest gain since 2009, on easing demand and the effects of a typhoon. China’s gross domestic product grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the slowest since 2009.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 03:56 PM   #296
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HKD5 billion redevelopment plan for Fisherman's Wharf complex
31/08/2012 08:22:00
Macau Daily Times



Upon the merger of Macau Legend Development Ltd (MLD) with Macau Fisherman's Wharf International Investment Ltd (MFW), a series of redevelopment projects will be launched with a total of HK$5 billion in investment.

Hotel and casino operator Macau Legend announced yesterday that the merger attracted HKD 480 million (USD62 million), a 4% stake of the total investment, from gambling tycoon Stanley Ho's SJM Holdings Ltd, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

David Chow Kam Fai, MLD’s Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, plans to redecorate existing buildings in the Macau Fisherman's Wharf entertainment complex and build new facilities, namely a dinosaur museum, a yacht club and two hotels, besides others. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015. By then Macau Legend will have 1,200 hotel rooms, making it one of the largest hotel operators on the peninsula, according to Chow.

“The merger of MLD and MFW is a strategically significant development for us. The strengths of MLD in operating hospitality and entertainment businesses, combined with MFW’s status as one of the leading leisure attractions in Macau, will strengthen our competitiveness in Macau’s leisure and entertainment industry,” Chow commented. He was confident in gaining government approval since the plan meets the region’s goal of becoming a “leisure attraction”.

"There are a number of options to fund our redevelopment plan, such as getting a loan, issuing a bond or going to the capital equity market to have an IPO," said Mr. Chow.

Mr. Chow and Mr. Ho founded Macau Fisherman's Wharf International in 2000 to operate the Macau Fisherman's Wharf entertainment complex, which has a casino, a boutique Rocks Hotel and a convention and exhibition center.

Chow had first uncovered his plan for renovating Fisherman's Wharf in 2009, applying for government approval in the same year. Asked the reason for taking three years to start with the project, the businessman replied, quoted by TDM: “We had made the application at that time. Obviously it depends on the other side. I don’t know, ask the government”. Macau-based entrepreneur Mr. Chow, born in Hong Kong, has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment and gaming sectors. He has also served on Macau's Tourist Development Council and Economic Development Council since 2000, and was a member of the Legislative Assembly between 1996 and 2009.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 05:16 PM   #297
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This places puts Las Vegas to shame. I hope to travel here one day and see what it is really like.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 06:05 PM   #298
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterklamka View Post
This places puts Las Vegas to shame. I hope to travel here one day and see what it is really like.
Macau's casinos are still devoted to gambling, unlike Vegas, which has a whole complement of shows to make it a family-friendly destination. However, what Macau lacks is made up by the cultural and historic heritage that has been well-preserved.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 11:58 PM   #299
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yes macao is totaly different to las vegas
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Old September 6th, 2012, 01:09 PM   #300
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Gov’t nullifies all La Scala land grants
06/09/2012 08:13:00
Macau Daily Times

As the trial for the suspected bribery and money laundering of Joseph Lau, boss of Hong Kong-listed Chinese Estates Holdings Limited, begins on September 17, the Macau government took another step in nullifying all the land grants involved in the scandal.

The Chief Executive’s Office made an announcement yesterday declaring the additional land grants allocated to the real estate developer last year as void. This will make all the land grants for the development of the high-end residential project La Scala invalid.

In a press release, Chinese Estates Holdings confirmed that its subsidiary in charge of the project, Moon Ocean Ltd., had received the notification from the Macau government. The company has 15 days to object to the decision. A press release said they were consulting lawyers on possible follow up actions.

Last month the authority announced the nullification of land plots granted to the developer in 2006; the latest decision dealt with the additional land grants made in 2011. Chinese Estates Holdings has already objected to the previous nullification decision.

The two actions pave the way for the Macau government to reclaim all the land granted to La Scala. The plots are linked to the bribery scandal of former Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Ao Man Long, who was indicted for tampering with the land grant procedure to help the developer obtain the land.

Buyers of uncompleted flats, whose payments totaled HKD 3.8 billion, will get a refund from the company. After originally obtaining five land plots opposite the Macau International Airport in 2006, the developer got an additional number of plots bordering the five and extended the whole project to an area totaling 530,000 square meters. In its press release yesterday, Chinese Estates Holdings said it had paid the Macau authorities MOP 642 million for the extension.

The current Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io, said yesterday that the latest nullification decision was a follow up on the previous one, and it was difficult to predict how long it would take to reclaim all the land because litigation might occur during the procedures. He did not respond to the question of whether the additional land grant made in 2011 was a mistake, as it was already known by then that the land might be linked to the criminal case.
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