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Old November 25th, 2012, 07:45 PM   #321
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Hengqin to act as Macau’s extension zone, accommodating up to 10m visitors
23/11/2012
Macau Daily Times



Speaking about economic diversification and regional development, Francis Tam said the Hengqin new development zone will play a supplementary role to Macau by accommodating as many as 10 million visitors out of the 40m expected, while Nansha port will be the new port for Macau’s expected marine tourism boom.

Numerous legislators expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of any real economic diversification and pressed the Secretary for more concrete measures on this front. “I don’t see any practical results in diversification but I see new casino-resorts are popping up one after another,” said Paul Chan Wai Chi. “Although you’ve put a limit on the growth of gaming tables, the rate will still be at 3pct annually. Moreover, the work in limiting the penetration of gaming activities into local communities has had very limited results.”

Chan Meng Kam questioned if the current gaming policy would lead to “bubbles” in the industry and create a potential financial crisis when the gaming sector declines in revenue: “In Macau only the gaming industry is thriving, gaming tax occupies some 80pct of public revenue and is expected to be so in the coming years. But the global economy is facing great uncertainty while other jurisdictions are opening their own casinos to compete with Macau.”

To diversify the economy away from gaming, lawmakers pointed to Hengqin and Nansha. Chui Sai Peng asked if the government would consider turning the annual cash handout into a long-term investment by buying premium land in Hengqin, and helping local companies develop there so as to avoid the burden of surging rents in Macau. He also suggested setting up a cross-departmental agency to push for the development as world travel and leisure hub, and more details on the Chinese medicine park in Hengqin. Mak Soi Kun called for a “sense of urgency” over diversification, with special attention to be paid to Macau’s carrying capacity, or how many visitors the city can entertain.

In his response, Francis Tam said Hengqin could play a role in extending Macau’s carrying capacity: “This is the most beneficial role Hengqin can play for Macau. The region’s supplementary cooperation can make one plus one equals three.” He said he assumed Macau’s annual visitor numbers would reach 40m, and Hengqin could accommodate as many as one quarter of them at any time. For Nansha, Tam said it would be the “Macau-Nansha” port that would bring visitors from Nansha to Macau within one hour. This cruise terminal will play a crucial role in Macau’s marine tourism.

Vitor Cheung Lup Kwan asked if MICE, the convention and exhibitions industry the authority counted on for diversification, could play enough of a role because so far, only international expo organizers are guiding the industry while local organizers seem to be playing only a minor part, and local workers might not have the skills to work in MICE. Francis Tam said the government is serious about MICE as one of the key industries for diversification, and would continue to push for its development. As concrete results, he said as many as 300 new companies had registered in the MICE sector and workers in this field had increased from 200 people ten years ago to over 2,000 now, while its economic effects had increased seven fold. Mak Soi Kun and other lawmakers also called for more support for green industries and loans for young entrepreneurs.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 05:58 PM   #322
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Builder wagers $6b on Cotai push
The Standard Excerpt
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Paul Y Engineering (0577) is switching from construction to the gaming business by spending HK$6 billion to develop a casino on the Cotai Strip in Macau.

The locally based firm will conduct a massive equity financing drive that will lead to its parent, PYI Corp (0498), shedding control.

In an exchange filing yesterday, Paul Y said it will acquire a 65,000-square- foot Cotai Strip plot for HK$2 billion. On this it plans to build and operate a five-star hotel with ancillary retail and entertainment facilities, such as gaming.

The development will include two floors of gaming rooms with about 66 tables, as well as restaurants and shops.

One of Macau's gaming concessionaires or sub-concessionaires will operate the gaming activities. The total cost of the project will be about HK$6 billion.

Paul Y said it will raise the funds by selling shares and convertible bonds worth HK$3.2 billion to HK$6.4 billion, with the balance funded by bank loans.

***********************

Credit Suisse analyst Gabriel Chan said the scale of the planned hotel, with an estimated 200 rooms, is "tiny" compared with other gaming complexes in the area, but Paul Y will likely try to grab business from the niche high-roller market. He said the project will also need Macau government approval and collaboration from existing gaming operators.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 04:40 PM   #323
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New USJ campus to be completed in two years
29/11/2012
Macau Daily Times


Photo source : USJ

The new campus of the University of Saint Joseph is expected to be fully operational in two years. Speaking yesterday on the sidelines of the contract signing for the construction works, Rector Peter Stilwell explained (see interview below) that the plan is to open in the new facilities in the 2014/15 academic year, although the current amenities will remain in use for post-graduates.

The ceremony attended by D. José Lai, Bishop of Macau, government officials and USJ scholars, started with the projection of virtual images depicting the structure to be built in Ilha Verde. Miguel Campina, director of Macau Professional Services (MPS), the company responsible for the architecture and also for some of the engineering projects, described the campus buildings that will comprise a construction area of 12,622 square meters, occupying less than one third of the total area of the Ilha Verde plot (38,180 square meters). Besides the University, the campus will also host a Secondary School (Saint Joseph College).

The u-shaped academic building will be the larger of the complex, reflecting the attempt to construct a “green campus”. It’s conceived as an environmentally friendly edifice according to Campina, equipped with structures like “roof gardens” and solar panels that will provide electricity. It will be able to accommodate 800 college and 1,200 university students. Besides this, the space will also be able to receive 600 post-graduates. The academic building includes three auditoriums and four science labs.

Apart from the academic building and the chapel, the other main structure consists of the residential building, comprising 128 single rooms for students (the capacity of these rooms can double up) and 18 apartments for teachers. The concept of the campus implies that “many facilities will be shared between the secondary school and the university, like the swimming pool and a gymnasium,” Campina described.

Another of the signatories was Paul Lee, from HCCG Building and Civil Engineering (Macau). In his speech he said that the first phase of the construction works should take around 450 days and the whole project should be finished within two years. The contractor also stressed the safety measures to be implemented during the works, as well as the project’s “high standards in terms of environmental protection”.

D. José Lai mentioned that yesterday’s signing ceremony signifies “a moment many of us have been looking forward to for a very long time”. “We [the Church] see education as our commitment to develop every person’s dignity,” he added.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 04:49 AM   #324
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A newly-constructed residential just off the Cotai Strip :

image hosted on flickr

相當摩天 by b.cx, on Flickr
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Old December 8th, 2012, 07:27 PM   #325
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This is the new Galaxy Casino that opened on the Cotai Strip earlier this year :

image hosted on flickr

Galaxy Macau Panorama by Anthony Benger, on Flickr
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Old December 11th, 2012, 05:03 PM   #326
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Ferry terminal renovation works on Cotai from May 2012
Source : http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...d.main/230857/



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Old December 15th, 2012, 07:04 PM   #327
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New bus terminal at “Edifício do Lago” to open Dec 18
13/12/2012 08:28:00
Macau Daily Times


Photo from : http://www.dsat.gov.mo/bus/pt/bus_ne...aspx?a_id=1726

The new bus terminal at “Edifício do Lago” is set to open on the 18th of this month. Accompanying the Taipa building terminal, several bus services will be “optimized”, Lou Ngai Wa, Division chief of Public Transport Management at the Transport Bureau (DSAT) explained yesterday during a tour around the soon-to-be opened installations. To offer “better dislocation (displacement) possibilities” to residents who will move into the building by the middle of the month, nine bus routes will pass through the new terminal, namely numbers 11, 26, 30, 34, 35, 36, AP1, MT3 and N2. In addition, there will be a direct line going from the “Edifício do Lago” to “Praça de Ferreira do Amaral”, continuing to other areas on the Macau peninsula. This Express Line crosses the Nobre de Carvalho Bridge and will function daily from 7 am until 11:30 pm every 15 minutes.

Four bus lines will also stop at the “Jardim do Lago” bus station opposite the building.

Mr Lou also announced that the construction of the Taipa Central Park will be completed soon, and DSAT plans to build new two new bus stops there; one at the Rua Seng Tou, near the Central Park and another on the Rua de Coimbra. In addition, he informed the media, “We are going to extend the service time for the line 37, which will then run every day from 7 am to 11:45 pm every 15 minutes.” Following the bus route adjustments, the stop at Rua Almirante Sérgio will also be reinstalled “to help the dislocation (displacement) of the nearby students and teachers”. However, the one at Travessa dos Vendilhoes will be cancelled, “to relieve the density of bus stops in the area a bit.”

At the same time as the terminal’s opening, the building’s car park will also begin functioning on the 18th, providing 1,132 parking spaces for motorbikes and 678 for cars. And by the end of the year, more than 5000 spaces will be available. Parking will be free for the first 12 hours, followed by a charge of MOP1 per hour for motorbikes and MOP3 for cars.
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Old December 31st, 2012, 11:32 AM   #328
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UM announces three-stage relocation plan to Hengqin
28/12/2012 06:54:00
Macau Daily Times

The University of Macau (UM) will start a three-stage relocation process next April to move into its new campus in Hengqin, with an objective to complete the hefty removal in as short as six months in order to facilitate a full operation at its new home at the start of the 2013/2014 academic year next autumn. According to information released by the university, currently UM has set up a central authority in charge of overseeing the whole “mission impossible” a few months away.

University contractor said the new campus would be completed and delivered to the Macau government in late March or early April 2013, after which the S.A.R government will hand over the campus to UM as the user. UM will then arrange for some staff to move to the new campus first to carry out various work related to the relocation, which will be conducted in three stages.

The Pilot Move stage will last from April to June 2013. Some staff from the Rector’s Office, Campus Management Office (CMO), Campus Development Office, Information and Communication Technology Office (ICTO), Office of Health, Safety and Environmental Affairs (HSEO), Communications Office, and the new campus project task force, will move to the new campus to carry out post-delivery cleaning, quality inspection, testing, furnishing, equipment installation, etc.

“In addition to getting familiar with the various operation systems in the 80 individual buildings to be managed by the university, UM will also need to follow up on the contractor’s defect list, carry out decoration, install equipment and move in furniture,” UM stated. “The great challenges will include relocating and fitting out the dry lab and wet lab, which will require a high level of professionalism; installing phone system, campus network, WiFi and AV systems for about 260 classrooms and meeting rooms; installing about 1,500 split air conditioners and kitchen cabinets; renovating lobbies; setting up security and cleaning services, clinics, restaurants and commercial outlets. Preparations are underway, and some of the work may need to extend into next September. Public tendering for about 80 items is in progress.”

June –July 2013 will be the Trial Use stage. The postgraduate hostels, residential colleges (RCs) and staff residential area will serve as the Trial Use Zone. Small-scale trial relocation will also be conducted to gain practical experience for full relocation. UM will recruit volunteers from its students and staff to participate in this stage. It also plans to invite some units closely related to the relocation, such as the Student Affairs Office (SAO, especially those responsible for student accommodation service) and members of the new campus project task force to participate. Students, resident tutors and management personnel of RCs as well as staff quarter colleagues will also be encouraged to participate. To make sure the new campus provides a safe, healthy, clean and comfortable living and learning environment, during the Trial Use stage, offices, classrooms, meeting rooms and dormitory buildings within the Trial Use Zone as well as sports facilities, transport service, security service, cleaning service, water, electricity and gas systems, bathroom equipment, lifts, and other facilities on the new campus will be put into trial operation. Fire drills will be carried out to test the new campus’s capacity to handle unexpected incidents.

July –August 2013 will be the Full Relocation stage. The hope is that relocation can be complete before the start of the 2013/2014 academic year. The relocation will be a huge project that requires the involvement of every UM member. The university has also established the Campus Relocation Student Affairs Sub-Command Centre, headed by Vice Rector (Student Affairs) Prof Haydn Chen. Each unit has appointed a liaison person responsible for liaising with the relocation task force on behalf of his or her unit. The responsibility of a liaison person includes providing supplementary information for the relocation plan when required, listening to feedback, coordinating logistic distribution during the relocation process, and arranging for co-workers within the same unit to participate in specific relocation-related tasks.

To better coordinate the various jobs during the Trial Use stage, the university has established a trial operation task force, headed by the dean of students. “It’s not at all easy to complete all the jobs mentioned above within six months,” UM stressed, “it requires thoughtful planning, close inter-departmental cooperation, and the support of various external organizations in order to accomplish this ‘mission impossible’ and to make sure the new campus can begin operation at the start of the new academic year.”
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Old January 12th, 2013, 06:40 PM   #329
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Mong Ha contract dispute renews doubts on quality of public housing
11/01/2013 08:16:00
Macau Daily Times

Twenty people from the construction material suppliers and the sub-contractor that built part of the facilities of Phase 2 of the affordable housing estate of Mong Ha staged another demonstration outside the construction site yesterday, delivering a petition demanding the outstanding payment of MOP40m that the contractor allegedly owes them. But the contractor denied the allegation, prompting new doubts on the quality of public housing estates after Phase 1 of Mong Ha was found to have massive peeling of its tile covering earlier this month.

The group of suppliers and the sub-contractor staged a rally outside Mong Ha’s construction site on the road of Rua de Francisco Xavier Pereira in the northern district, requesting an intervention by the government to help them claim back the MOP40m. Police was standing by at the scene.

But the contractor told the broadcaster they terminated the contract with the sub-contractor due to the sub-contractor’s low construction and management skills. The contractor also filed a lawsuit against the subcontractor for document forgery, and denied owing the sub-contractor any outstanding remuneration after an earlier payment of MOP62m had settled all due charges. The company was quoted as saying that the dispute would not affect the quality of the Mong Ha public housing estate. Mong Ha’s Mong Sin Building was found to have tiles falling from walls on several floors into public areas, prompting debate on whether construction quality was sacrificed for a timely completion of the public housing units the government promised.

Regarding the Sin Fong Garden building that was evacuated last October due to structural problems, the Government is calling for cooperation by Sin Fong shop owners, and posted notices outside shops on the ground floor of the building. The notice says shop owners have a legal obligation to allow government workers inside their premises to carry out reinforcement works intended to prop-up the demised structure, which was found to be suffering from large cracks in the walls, as well as distorted main pillars, prompting fears of a building collapse.
According to TDM’s report, the owners refused entry of workers after the government granted urgent housing allowances for residents in the building, before the authority claim back the money from the party/parties responsible for the problem. An investigation report initiated by the government is entering its final stage, and will likely pave the way to compensation claims against the party/parties responsible for the exodus affecting hundreds of residents.

But the shop owners on the ground floor were not given the same subsidy, expressing fears that they might not be able to independently claim their losses against the responsible party/parties. The owners have sent petition letters to the Chief Executive requesting assistance. The government also published a press release on Wednesday calling for cooperation among shop owners, as the reinforcement works on the ground floor are crucial in ensuring the building is protected from possible collapse.
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Old January 14th, 2013, 07:15 PM   #330
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Susana Wong stresses need for second water recycling plant
14/01/2013 08:16:00
Macau Daily Times

Maritime Administration Director Susana Wong said the use of recycled water is part of a wider environmental initiative the society needs to undertake, and that the water recycling plant in Coloane is not enough to meet the needs of all of Macau in “green water” supply. As a result, the city needs a second recycling plant on the Peninsula.

Wong was speaking to the media in a public consultation session yesterday held in the Three Lamps District, to explain the authority’s position on recycled water to the public, and to gauge the public’s views on the campaign. She was quoted by TDM as saying that the ten-year program is of great importance to the city, and she said the toll for recycled water will be 85 percent that of the tap water currently supplying the whole city. She said that the lower water toll meant to encourage the use of recycled water, and that every citizen has a responsibility in environmental conservation in the use of more environmental friendly utility-use. She disclosed that certain casinos have already expressed willingness to join the campaign for use of recycled water.

She also stressed that a recycled water plant is essential on the Peninsula side because the one in Coloane, upon the completion of construction in 2015, will only be enough to meet the needs of residents on the island, thereby putting pressure on the Peninsula to secure an additional supply source.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 07:17 PM   #331
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CE in Beijing to discuss new Macau-Zhuhai border crossing
22/01/2013 08:31:00
Macau Daily Times

Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On is in Beijing to meet with officials in the Central Government on the establishment of new foot-traffic passage between Macau and Zhuhai. Speaking to reporters as he led an official delegation to Beijing yesterday, Chui said they would meet with representatives from the Ministry of Public Security, the State Oceanic Administration, the Ministry of Land and Resources, and the General Administration of Customs. “The governments of Guangdong, Zhuhai and Macau have held several rounds of talks to discuss the building of a new passage after it had been proposed. The importance of the new project to the substantial development of these places was recognized by the Central Government,” he said. “The governments were working closely to get approval from the Central Government and this was one of the aims of this visit.” He said that the new model for port management, enhancing the efficiency of customs clearance and remedying flooding on the Canal dos Patos, a canal between Zhuhai and Macau, would be discussed.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 06:01 AM   #332
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Set up environmental impact evaluation system asap, government promises
24/01/2013 10:55:00
Macau Daily Times

Notification of construction projects should be put forward to identify whether an environment evaluation is needed, according to the government.

“Within this year, the government plans to launch a system of notifications before projects are carried out. For example, to identify minor construction or projects with lesser impact that don’t require environmental impact assessments. As for other projects, evaluation will be made compulsory through legislation,” as declared by Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io. The official hopes the measures will help avoid disputes in the industry.

The government promised to set up a scheme as soon as possible to assess the potential impact that construction projects would leave on the environment.

In response to the disputes raised by the ecological ponds program near the Taipa Houses Museum, Lau told TDM radio that he understood the concerns society had and would look into the case for more details.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 09:22 AM   #333
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UM enters residential college era embracing all-round education
24/01/2013 10:55:00
Macau Daily Times

The University of Macau will enter a new era of residential college education after it relocates into the vast new campus in Hengqin. As many as 12 residential colleges will accommodate up to nearly 6,000 students there in order to usher in the schools’ pedagogic aspiration of a “four-in-one” education that combines professional knowledge, research training, general education and social experience. These are intended for fostering all-round graduates suitable for Macau’s development.

UM invited top scholars from Taiwan and Hong Kong’s leading universities to share their perspectives on residential college with local students. At the workshop held yesterday in UM’s Ho Yin Centre, UM’s Dean of Students Peter Yu said that the new Hengqin campus brings the school both challenges and opportunities. “The world of higher education is transforming itself rapidly, reaching out from the ivory tower to the masses.” Yu said, “In Asia the reform is even more dramatic as the landscape in the mainland’s higher educational field is unrolling some of the refreshing changes ushered in by its economic development. Japan’s colleges are rapidly internationalizing, in HK universities there is a shift from 3-year to 4-year education and Taiwan’s reform in this field is equally as eye-catching.”

The educator said residential college education mode is one of the practical objectives of UM’s pedagogic aspiration of a “four-in-one” education that combines training of students’ professional knowledge, academic research skills, as well as general education and community education which will prepare them for playing their role as a member of society.

“Residential college education existed in our remote history, as long ago as the Confucian era when the ancient educators lived together with some of his 70 followers and thousands of students. They stayed under the same roof, shared their meals, exchanged debates, and even travelled together to different countries. Isn’t that a form of residential college?” He noted that UM dispatched staff to American and European countries to study the experience of other tertiary institutions’ college education modes. UM is striving to build up its unique model combining both eastern and western specialties in this field.

During the workshop UM disclosed that after it completes its relocation and starts operation in the new campus this autumn, it will completely enter the “residential college mode” the following year, or in 2014. The school will have 8 to 12 such colleges, each of them able to accommodate 300 to 500 undergraduate students, or around 6,000 in the initial planning.“They come from different colleges studying different professions, they are from different countries and family backgrounds, but the teachers and students will live together, eat together, and study together. This kind of close and caring relations among the members of the school will help to encourage a liberal environment in which people can freely debate and exchange their views on academic and other issues across all disciplines. This will be beneficial for widening their horizons and interpersonal networks, and develop themselves as all-round talents with multi-cultural visions.”

As a lead up to this plan, the workshop aims at fostering the exchange and cooperation between the universities in the region and enhancing the development of student affairs in Macao’s higher education. The invited participants from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau talked about the latest development trends and shared their points of views on student affairs and residential colleges. Keynote speeches included “Hard Skills and Soft Skills - Education of Students of the 21st Century” by Prof. Haydn Chen, Vice Rector of University of Macau; “Integrating Student Affairs into Student Learning” by Albert Chau, Dean of Student Affairs & Director of General Education, University of Hong Kong; “Colleges within a Modern University: Tradition and Innovation” by Prof. Kenneth Young, Master of C.W. Chu College, Chinese Univ. of HK; “Development of Multi-types of Dormitories” by Chen Yuh-Shuen, Dean of Students, Hungkuang University, Taiwan; and “Re-emergence of Liberal Arts Education at Tunghai” by Lo Dean of Students, Tunghai University Win-Tsung, Taiwan.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 04:07 PM   #334
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Zhuhai-Macao gas line to be completed by June

BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese official said Tuesday that construction will be completed on a gas pipeline from Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, to Macao Special Administrative Region before June.

China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), the country's top offshore oil and gas producer, started construction on the pipeline on Jan. 8, Yang Lei, an official with the National Energy Administration, said at a press conference.

The 7.7-kilometer pipeline is designed with an annual transport capacity of 520 million cubic meters of natural gas, according to material posted on the CNOOC website.

The new line will replace an existing one. Operations on the existing line have been suspended since June 1, 2011, in line with the urbanization plans for Zhuhai.

According to Yang, the Chinese mainland also plans to supply 2.23 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Hong Kong this year, slightly below last year's 2.59 billion cubic meters.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 03:25 PM   #335
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New prison construction project requires an extra 200 days
31/01/2013 10:20:00 Grace Yu
Macau Daily Times

The first phase of Macau’s new prison construction suffered setbacks last year and engineers estimate that some 200 extra days will be required for work to be completed, which means the government may fail to meet the schedule of “within 2014” as it originally declared.

Under the pressing situation of lacking accommodation for inmates, the MSAR government is building a new prison in the Ka Ho area in Coloane, which is intended to hold some 2,700 male and female inmates at the most. The whole construction debuted in August of 2010 and authority set the deadline by 2014.

“The Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) is having an extra construction dealing with the pedological problems found on site, which we roughly estimated to take 200 days or more. Therefore, the first stage of the project may be postponed to the middle of this year,” said Mr. Lee Ka Nang, an engineer involved in the project.

When asked if the new penitentiary will be unable to be completed as they expected before, the Macau Prison (EPM) gave a blurred answer: “The first stage may have to be put off to mid 2013. The best hope is that we can speed up the process of the 2nd and 3rd phrases so as to meet the scheduled time.”

The other issue the authority brings into focus is the progressing expansion of female prisoner numbers. With the ever-increasing number of female inmates, Macao Prison admitted that prisoners that have to sleep on the floor were less than 10 at peak period.

Ng Ioi On, who heads the Prison Affairs Department, confirmed that as stated on previous occasions, some of their female inmates slept on the floor, “The number reached single-figure at peak period,” as stated by the department head.

The expansion of the female penitentiary has been underway since last November, which will take about 240 days to finish, as estimated by the engineer Mr. Lee Ka Nang.

The government is to use the high security prison in Coloane as back-up accommodation for female inmates affected by the expansion project. The high-security penitentiary is specifically set up for felons or major criminals. Once completed, the project aims to include 100 new quotas for female inmates.

Seen from the latest data released by EPM yesterday, by the end of 2012, the number of male prisoners reached 933, accounting for 81 percent of the accommodation; female inmates totaled 179 and occupying 97 percent of the general quota. Among all crimes, up to December 31, 2012, nearly 35 percent are drug-related, namely drug trafficking (27.45%), drug taking (5.6%) and drug possession (5%). Categorizing geographically, local prisoners comprise some 36 percent of the population, slightly less than that of mainland prisoners (38%).

Yesterday, a carnival was organized at the Macau Prison in celebration of the coming Chinese New Year. More than 120 inmates performed in the show.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 06:44 PM   #336
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MACAU has so many interesting changes. Thanks for taking the time to post about them.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 06:11 PM   #337
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Hengqin in 175b yuan development push
The Standard
Friday, February 08, 2013

China will spend 175 billion yuan (HK$218 billion) to develop Hengqin Island in Zhuhai as an industrial and commercial complex.

Authorities have finished editing a directive index for Hengqin, Shanghai Business News reported yesterday.

It will be a substantial push for the island, the state-owned paper said.

A proposal for an offshore yuan clearing area, and a pilot scheme to encourage cultural innovation have been submitted, the newspaper reported.

The island is designated for a free- trade zone, and has already attracted investments from Hong Kong and mainland businesses.

For example, Lai Sun Group and Shimao Property (0813) pledged to spend 20 billion yuan on a cultural-cum- commercial development in the area.

Special tax rates for companies investing in Hengqin will be offered and tax rebates for foreign workers given.
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Old February 16th, 2013, 09:51 AM   #338
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DSSOPT claims higher efficiency in construction plans approval
07/02/2013 10:05:00
Macau Daily Times

Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) said after new procedures were introduced to the construction plan approval system, its efficiency has greatly improved, and it has finished 88 percent of the application so far. In response to lawmaker Chan Meng Kam’s written enquiry, the Bureau said since they introduced a streamline system in 2008 for construction plans approval, the speed was greatly improved and now enters a stable condition, which means the bureau is able to keep the new modus operandi. As practical examples, the Bureau said they received 4,117 construction plans application in the first three quarters of last year, and until last November, some 88 percent of the applications were already handled, which showed much improvements in comparison with the same period in the previous year. The average time taken for approvals was shorter than the statutory requirement.
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Old February 19th, 2013, 02:59 PM   #339
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New hotels provide new chances and challenges for workers
19/02/2013 08:20:00 Sum Choi
Macau Daily Times

Macau will have an additional 25,000 hotel rooms in the coming years in some 11 hotels under construction. Scholars in tourism studies expect room tariffs to decrease as much as 30 percent due to demand-and-supply effects but hotel operators’ earnings will be compensated for by the rise in visitors, who are likely to stay longer or re-visit Macau to try the new facilities. The hospitality industry does not expect the new facilities to cause too much pressure on human resource supplies but warns of the lower competitiveness of local workers if they do not acquire more professional skills to secure more senior positions with better remuneration and promotional opportunities.

“According to the Demand-and-Supply economic theory, when the supply of hotel rooms increases, the retail price of hotel rooms will decrease,” said Ivan Lai Ka Wai, Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of the Faculty of International Tourism, Macau University of Science and Techology (MUST), “For example, Sheraton provided a special offer of under MOP1, 000 per night for advanced booking last month.”

The scholar expected the second and third-tier hotels to reduce their retail prices in order to protect their market share. “Therefore, the low hotel room price can attract more travellers, and travellers may be willing to stay longer. It is good for the tourism market development since many travellers have stated the retail prices for hotel rooms are high in Macau.”

“The main point is that those new hotels are not offered at the same moment,” the scholar told MDT; “Travellers like to try new hotels. This can stimulate travellers to re-visit Macau. For the hotels, they should adjust their marketing strategies to retain their customers and/or keep their customers longer in their hotels. Sheraton is offering a “two nights’ stay” discount. We can foresee that the retail price of a hotel room may be cut by 1/4 to 1/3 of current prices in the non-peak seasons. Of course, the number of visitors may not increase in proportion to the number of hotel rooms. However, travellers may stay longer. This can compensate for their lower room tariff. For the hotel industry, hotels earn much more during peak seasons for example CNY holidays. Macau can earn more from the tourism industry at peak periods.”

The scholar would not speculate on whether the 25,000 rooms are enough to meet growing demand. “It is hard to say whether it’s enough or too much to meet market demand, because the demand for hotel rooms also relates to tourism facilities and recreational activities such as ‘House of Dancing Water Show.’ If hotels build more points of attraction, the demand of hotel rooms will be increased. This can accelerate the development of Macau as an international recreational tourist city.”

The Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) is positive about the additional supply of new rooms. “The increase in room supply may have two positive effects for tourists, more room capacity (hence choices) and opportunities for room rates to be driven down.”

The pressure on the human resources market won’t be that serious because the industry relies heavily on foreign workers, who currently constitute over 50 percent of the labor force in the hospitality sector

But in response to MDT enquiries, the Institute pointed out that tourists visit a destination not for hotel rooms but for the destination’s tourist attractions, and it’s the attraction that brings additional visitors. For the new supply itself, IFT said: “More hardware [new rooms] will mean more demand for HR to operate them. IFT always monitors the changing business and social environment and strives to offer education and training programs to fill emerging needs.”

Lei Pou Loi, president of the Macau Hotel Employees Association, expects the new rooms to come into practical operation in several years in separate batches. “According to the information released by the government, I expect some 7,000 new rooms to be available in the coming one and a half years,” he told MDT, “and the remaining 18,000 or so in the following few years to come.”

He estimated that some 7,000 new jobs will be created by the new rooms: “Doing the calculation in five-star standards, where one staff is needed to serve each room on average, that would mean about 7,000 new workers are needed in 1 to 2 years to operate the new rooms.”

“The pressure on human resources market won’t be that serious because the industry relies heavily on foreign labor, which currently constitutes over 50 percent of the labor force in the hospitality sector. So I think about half the new jobs would go to local workers while the other half will be filled by migrant workers.”

The workers’ leader lamented the increase of rooms might not necessarily mean higher salary for workers: “The ratio of foreign workers is too high, causing negative impact on salary inceases and promotion chances for local workers. Unlike casino workers and drivers whose salaries go up with industry expansion and HR demands, the case of the hotel sector is different. While the average salary for the casino workers has reached the MOP15,000 level that for their hotelier counterparts are still under MOP10,000. That’s why many graduates who received professional training in hotel and tourism management choose to work in other fields, because they are facing too much peer-pressure. It’s a waste of our educational resources. The prospect for local workers is even gloomier as Macau further integrates with the mainland, and hotel workers have to compete with mainland counterparts.”

He said as a possible solution, local workers could upgrade their professional skills, including language training and innovative management and reception techniques with an aim to serve the top-tier clients who put more focus on quality services. For the government’s part, he suggested the authority to encourage hotel operators to give local workers more opportunities in senior positions, including possible on-the-job training, to help them build a better career path.

Lei would not speculate if the new rooms could meet the demands in the coming few years, instead he said it’s more important for the city to upgrade its public transport system and provide more tourist attractions in separate regions so that Macau can accommodate new visitors.

Talking about human resources, Professor Lai said: “The number of workers required is not only for serving the hotel rooms. We need more labor for other hotel facilities such as F&B. Sheraton employed 1,800 part and full-time staff for the first phase of Sheraton Macau hotel in last August. Based on these figures, we need 20,000 more workers in the coming few years. Do you think Macau has 20,000 extra workers? Macau citizens complain about the employment of non-resident labor, but increasing the number of non-resident workers seems to be the only way to solve the problem.”

“Quality is a more serious problem compared with quantity. There are over 3,000 undergraduate students graduating in Macau every year. Half of them come from the mainland. They are well educated for the hospitality sector. They have lived in Macau for four years. They have many friends in Macau and know the Macau culture well. They are the new blood for the Macau hospitality sector. However, most of them return to China because they are not allowed to work in Macau. The Macau government should adjust its immigration policy in order to guarantee the sustainable development of the Macau hotel industry.”
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 05:34 PM   #340
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Wu studies Macau’s economic development and urban planning
22/02/2013 08:34:00
Macau Daily Times


Xinhua

The head of the Chinese parliament yesterday met Macau’s top business leaders and toured the city’s tourist spots whilst hearing briefings on the territory’s latest development and urban planning, which he described as “very good”.

Wu Bangguo continued the second day of his visit in Macau. After attending a conference at which he gave the guidelines for the implementation of the Basic Law, he visited some of the city’s major tourist sites, including the Cunha Street in Taipa, and the Macau Tower near Sai Van Lake.

Accompanied by the Chief Executive Fernando Chui and other officials, Wu went to the observation deck on the 58th floor and overlooked the city’s landscape, including the land reclamation area currently under construction, and the Hengqin new economic zone in neighboring Zhuhai. He was briefed by the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io, on the latest development of the major construction projects, including the LRT light rail system which will join up with the light rail linking to Zhuhai and Guangzhou.

In the briefing, Lau also expressed gratitude towards the central government’s support for the construction of a new border-crossing point linking Zhuhai. He said that the local authority is speeding up the project in accordance with the central government’s requests, especially in the works of building more efficient and convenient ways of immigration for visitors. Lau said that the authority has started preliminary works in vacating lands for the new checkpoints, and expected relevant removal works to be completed within the next year.

When asked about the impressions of the city’s latest development, the top parliament member said they were “very good”. Earlier in the day, Wu praised the city for the unprecedented economic success. He pointed out that Macau has also built a social welfare system covering all citizens for the first time ever, and improved people’s living standards in an all-round way.

“These are not just the results of the central government’s support, but also the former and current Chief Executives, and the government as well as the people’s collective efforts, in building the city and in implementing the ‘one-country-two-system’ principle and the Basic Law,” Wu said.

After the briefing, he also met the city’s top business leaders in the Macau Tower at a banquet celebrating the centennial of the Macau Chamber of Commerce.

During the event, Zhou Tielong, vice-chairman of the standing committee of NPC, gave a speech highlighting the business sector’s importance in realizing an economic diversification in Macau.

“(The business leaders) should further study and promulgate the Basic Law to have a precise grip of its spirit and nature in order to be a loyal practitioner of the ‘one-country-two-systems’ principle and Basic Law,” Zhou said, “and they should further play their bridging role between the government and the business and industrial sector, to congregate the power and wisdom of the sector in its firm support of the government’s governance, by proactively making suggestions.”
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