Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s maiden policy address failed to boost his popularity rating, as it plunged to a new low in the latest Chinese University poll.
In the monthly survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Leung’s rating in January has dropped by 2.5 points to 46.4 points – a record low since he won the election in March last year.
As well, more than 38 per cent of 781 respondents said they were dissatisfied with the government’s performance, an increase of 3.5 percentage points when compared to the December figure.
But academics warned that Leung could face an even tougher political situation as the poll sample was conducted before Lew Mong-hung, a former staunch supporter of Leung, accused the chief executive of offering him a seat in the Executive Council in exchange for Lew supporting the chief executive’s election bid.
Lew made the accusation in an interview published by weekly current affairs magazine iSun Affairs last Thursday. In it, he said Leung offered him the Exco position last March.
Lew, a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, in the same interview also accused the chief executive of lying over his handling of the illegal structures in his houses.
The head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Monday declined to comment whether it was investigating the chief executive over Lew’s accusation that Leung had offered him the Exco seat for his support during the election.
But if any investigation involving the chief executive arose, ICAC commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu said the agency would report to the Department of Justice, instead of to the chief executive, to remain impartial.
Peh made the comments while attending a Legislative Council security panel meeting whose purpose was to brief lawmakers on the ICAC’s work combatting corruption last year – and the agency’s major initiatives for the coming year.
At the meeting, some legislators expressed concern about the allegations made last week by Lew regarding the Exco seat.
Finance sector legislator Ng Leung-sing asked Pen if the ICAC would launch a probe into the allegation.
Labour Party’s Cyd Ho Sau-lan also asked Peh to reveal the number of complaints so far received by the ICAC against the chief executive.
Peh said he would not comment on individual cases. He only said the agency would remain impartial in all its probes.
The chief executive said on Monday evening he did not know whether the ICAC was, or would be, investigating Lew’s accusations.
So far, Lew has not presented any written evidence to substantiate his claims, although he has dared Leung to take a lie detector test – and said he would jump off the 420-metre-high Two IFC building if Leung passed.
Lew is on bail after he was arrested earlier this month as part of an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation into the listed company Pearl Oriental Oil, of which he is a deputy chairman and executive director.