The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, October 02, 2017, Page Page 4, Image 4

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October 2, 2017
Young democracy activist among Macau election winners
By Kelvin Chan
The Associated Press
ONG KONG — Macau voters have elected a
young pro-democracy activist to the Chinese
casino capital’s legislature, as opposition
lawmakers expanded their presence at the expense of
candidates linked to the gambling industry.
The released results are a surprising sign of faith in
young people with progressive ideas among Macau’s
notoriously apathetic electorate.
Official results showed 26-year-old Sulu Sou won a seat
in the election for the city’s semi-democratic legislature,
making him the city’s youngest-ever lawmaker, according
to local news reports.
Sou’s party, the New Macau Association, favors full
democracy for the 33-seat legislature, where only 14 seats
are directly elected and the rest are filled by pro-establish-
ment labor unions and special interest groups or
appointed by the city’s Beijing-backed top leader. The
party also aims to reinvigorate interest in politics among
the former Portuguese colony’s younger generation.
Sou, who could not be reached for comment, joined three
incumbent pro-democracy candidates who won re-elec-
tion. Another surprise winner was newcomer Agnes Lam,
a university professor seen as a centrist. There were few
other changes to the rest of the directly elected seats,
which remain dominated by pro-Beijing representatives.
Sou has done well in “projecting an image of freshness
and youthfulness in Macau’s political landscape,” said
Sonny Lo, a politics professor at HKU Space. Over the
past five years, Sou “has been working very hard to raise
all sorts of issues which were traditionally regarded as
sensitive in Macau,” such as political reform. In 2014, he
also helped lead the city’s biggest protest since its 1999
PRO-DEMOCRACY VICTORY. Pro-democracy activist Sulu Sou,
26, center, celebrates with his supporters after winning a seat in voting
for the city’s semi-democratic legislature in Macau, China. Macau voters
elected Sou to the Chinese casino capital’s legislature, as opposition law-
makers expanded their presence at the expense of candidates linked to
the gambling industry. (Apple Daily via AP)
handover to China, which saw 20,000 people take to the
streets to rally against a government plan to give civil
servants lavish retirement benefits.
The vote also highlighted some lingering public
discontent over the government’s hapless response to a
powerful typhoon that battered Macau weeks earlier,
flooding its old town, killing 10, and leaving hundreds
more injured.
Macau’s economy has boomed over the past decade as
supercharged growth in the casino industry transformed
the enclave from a seedy and corrupt backwater into a
glitzy gambling powerhouse.
But Lo, who calculated that gambling industry-related
candidates lost two seats in direct voting, said the results
indicate “many younger voters believe that the legislative
assembly should not be dominated by the casino-related
Results showed 57.2 percent of registered voters cast
ballots in Macau, a semiautonomous Chinese city with a
population of 636,000 that is an hour by ferry from Hong
Malaysia police arrest seven boys linked to deadly fire
By Eileen Ng
The Associated Press
UALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Police in Malaysia
have arrested seven boys suspected of starting a
fire at an Islamic boarding school that killed 23
people because students there had allegedly teased them.
Speaking at a televised press conference in Kuala
Lumpur, police chief Amar Singh said the boys, between
11 and 18 years old, were detained after investigators
obtained CCTV footage from a neighboring building.
The blaze happened at a three-story tahfiz school,
where Muslim boys study and memorize the Quran. The
accused boys blocked the lone exit to the dormitory,
S mith T ower
515 Washington Street
Vancouver, Washington
trapping students behind barred windows. Two adults
and 21 teenage students were killed.
Singh said six of the seven boys tested positive for
drugs. Two of the boys had been detained before, one on
charges of vehicle theft, another for rioting, he said.
Singh gave no details on how the suspects had allegedly
been mocked by students at the dormitory.
Officials said the school was operating without a fire
safety permit and license, and that a dividing wall was
illegally built on the top floor, blocking the victims from
reaching a second exit.
The fire renewed calls for better regulation of religious
Religious schools, mostly privately run, are not
supervised by the Education Ministry because they come
under the purview of state religious authorities. Local
media reported there are more than 500 registered tahfiz
schools nationwide, but many more are believed to be
Data from the fire department showed that 1,083 fires
struck religious schools in the past two years, of which 211
were burned to the ground. The worst disaster occurred in
ARSONISTS ARRESTED. Men prepare graves during a mass fu-
neral for some of the victims of a fire at a private Islamic boarding school
outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Officials said the school was operating
without a fire safety permit and license, and that a dividing wall was ille-
gally built on the top floor, blocking the victims from reaching a second
exit. (AP Photo/Daniel Chan)
1989 when 27 female students at an Islamic school in
Kedah state died when fire gutted the school and eight
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Wondering what events are going on this week?
Check out The Asian Reporter’s Community and A.C.E. calendar sections, on pages 10 and 12.