Approval of Matsu casino resort draws mixed response
The China Post news staffThe China Post news staff--The approval granted by the residents of the outlying island of Matsu to a project to build a casino resort there through a local referendum yesterday drew mixed responses from various sectors concerned about the project.
July 8, 2012, 12:09 am TWN
Ho Tsung-hsuen, executive director of the Alliance Against the Legalization of Gambling, said it's really a great pity to see the outcome that over 57 percent of voters supported the proposal to set up a casino resort on Matsu Island, but the alliance will respect the decision by the majority of the voters.
Ho stressed that improving the transportation situation on Matsu Island can't rely on casino alone.
He criticized incumbent Lianjiang County Magistrate Yang Shui-sheng for violating the principle of maintaining administrative neutrality by using the Matsu Daily to inspire residents to support the casino gambling proposal, thus causing Matsu residents to make wrong decisions in accordance with misleading information.
But Ho encouraged those against the proposal to supervise the county government and potential resort developer in honoring the “checks” of building a university, a 4C-class airport and a bridge linking Nangan Township and Beigan Township, etc.
Meanwhile, local scholars said that the casino project would be conducive to the economic and tourism development of Matsu, but would also impact social order, education, and cultural aspects of the outlying island.
Chen Chia-yu, associate professor at the Department of Tourism of the Shih Hsin University, said that if the project is carried out well, the local developments will take off rapidly in Matsu, bringing prosperity and wealth to the island and its several thousand residents.
But Chen also warned that Matsu Island will witness an influx of massive foreign investment funds and entry of many foreigners, leading to social and industrial changes.
Chen said that it requires combined efforts of the government and the casino resort developer to greatly improve transportation systems to secure the success of the project.
Associate professor Tsai Chao-jen of the Department of Leisure and Recreation Management at the National Taichung University of Science and Technology said that he's personally opposed to the casino project, because it will generate negative impact on education and culture aspects. He said, for instance, quite a few young residents in Macao have shown little interest in receiving normal education, and instead would rather serve as casino dealers.
Earlier, Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien also expressed the worry that a simple and beautiful place like Matsu will become a place of sin if the project is approved.