Chief Executive Ho Hau Wah, his five-member cabinet and other top officials of the government and judiciary, as well as the 23 members of the Macau Legislative Assembly, swore fealty to the MSAR at a special ceremony on December 20, 1999, shortly after Macau's reversion from Portuguese to Chinese rule.
Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji presided over the ceremony at the Macau Forum, which was also attended by Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Vice-Premier Qian Qichen. Mr Ho said in his first official address as Chief Executive of the MSAR that Macau needed to "open up and introduce reforms." He stressed that "Macau needs to establish extensive contacts, close co-operation and business relations with other parts of the world, and attract foreign investment, human resources, technology and concepts while carrying out on-going internal improvements and maximising positive local factors, in order to progress and create new opportunities."
Mr Ho said that "Macau could become a logistics base and service centre for the industrial and commercial activities of neighbouring regions. "President Jiang described the swearing-in ceremony as a "solemn historical moment."
Mr Jiang emphasized that "the successful return of Macau is yet another historic monument built by the Chinese people on the road to national reunification following the return of Hong Kong."
Mr Jiang also underlined the fact that the post-handover MSAR "will remain a free port and a separate customs territory that may on its own maintain and develop economic relations with states and regions and relevant international organisations," adding that Macau's existing capitalist system "will continue to be practised" beyond the handover.
Several WTC Macau board members, who were all part of the handover ceremony, have assumed top positions in the new Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) government and legislature, namely Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah, a former Vice-Board Chairman of the WTCM and Susana Chou, President of the Macau Legislative Assembly, formerly WTCM Board Chairman. The new MSAR government also includes Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen, a former Executive Director of the WTCM, and Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda da Rosa Silva Chan, formerly Secretary of the General Assembly of the WTCM. Vitor Ng, Vice-Chairman of the WTCM board of directors, and Liu Chak Wan, currently Vice-President of the WTCM General Assembly, joined Mr Ho's top advisory body, the 10-member Executive Council.
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