Environment chief is least popular minister

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2007, 12:00am

Environment minister Edward Yau Tang-wah remains the least popular government minister, a University of Hong Kong opinion poll shows.

Just 19 per cent of 1,008 people polled expressed confidence in Mr Yau. That was a drop of two percentage points from a similar survey in September. Those expressing no confidence in the minister rose to 8 per cent, from 5 per cent a month earlier, the survey by the university's public opinion programme found.

Another former civil servant, Eva Cheng Yu-wah, the minister for housing and transport, had the second-lowest rating of the 12 bureau chiefs. Just 25 per cent of respondents had confidence in her, down four points from last month.

The survey has a margin or error of plus or minus 4 per cent.

Only two policy bureau heads had approval ratings above 50 per cent - Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong, on 78 per cent, and Labour chief Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, whose rating rose 6 percentage points, to 51 per cent. The survey was conducted before Sunday's Tin Shui Wai murder-suicide tragedy, which has led to criticism of social workers and the welfare system.

Health and Food Secretary York Chow Yat-ngok was third most popular minister, with 49 per cent expressing confidence in him, a drop of two points.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the development minister, who has been in the news amid controversy over the defacing of historic Chinese-style King Yin Lei mansion in Mid-Levels, saw her confidence level drop four points, to 45 per cent, while 14 per cent of respondents had no confidence in her, a rise of five points from September.

Her colleague in charge of civil service affairs, Denise Yue Chung-yee, had the approval of 41 per cent of respondents.

Trailing behind were commerce chief Frederick Ma Si-hang, Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung and constitutional affairs chief Stephen Lam Sui-lung, with approval ratings of between 32 and 36 per cent.

Home affairs chief Tsang Tak-sing scored 30 per cent and and financial services secretary Chan Ka-keung 28 per cent.

Of the senior principal officials, Secretary for Justice had an approval rating of 72 per cent, twice that of Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah; 61 per cent of respondents had confidence in Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen.