Donald Tsang

No honeymoon for Leung's cabinet, poll shows

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 July, 2012, 12:00am

Just 57 per cent of Hongkongers believe that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has chosen appropriate people for his cabinet, according to a new poll released yesterday. That's fewer than for either of his predecessor's governing teams.

The University of Hong Kong's 'suitability' survey of 536 respondents found that 43 per cent believed Leung had put the wrong people in the government's top positions. The findings underline the political difficulties Leung faces as he attempts to get his programme off the ground.

By comparison, 66 per cent agreed with the appointments made by Leung's immediate predecessor, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, in 2007, when he began his full five-year term. The rating for Leung's cabinet was one point below that of Tung Chee-hwa in 2002, after he put the system of political appointments in place.

'This shows that the new cabinet is having a more difficult start than before,' pollster Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu said. 'Of course, this is only an initial appraisal by the people. Time will tell whether they are right or wrong.'

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 to 4 per cent.

Two of Leung's appointees - Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung - received only single-digit support. Forty-four per cent said it was appropriate for Tsang to stay in the office he has held since 2007, compared with 41 per cent who said otherwise, leaving him with a net rating of 3 per cent. Yuen had a net approval rating of 7 per cent.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor received a suitability rating of 54 per cent. This was 10 points lower than her predecessor, Henry Tang Ying-yen, whom Leung defeated in the chief executive race.

'Not only did Leung not have a honeymoon period ... he has been facing a governance crisis right at the start,' said Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a Chinese University political scientist.

Choy said the officials were collectively dragged down by opinions about their boss, who faced suspicion about his perceived close ties to Beijing and resistance to his government revamp plan even before revelations about several illegal structures at his house.

Leung's highest-rated minister was Dr Ko Wing-man, the food and health secretary, who had a net suitability rating of 71 per cent.