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EXCO's HKTV talks are confidential says Leung Chun-Ying, as his popularity plummets

The legal action has been dropped, yet the chief executive is keeping quiet - as a record six out of 10 people say they have no confidence in him

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 3:51pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 October, 2013, 2:21pm
 

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has refused to detail the reasons behind a controversial free-television licensing decision, although the government is no longer bound by any judicial process to hold back its explanation.

The administration has said that looming legal action and the Executive Council's confidentiality rule meant it could not reveal why Ricky Wong Wai-kay's company failed in its licence bid, while two other firms succeeded.

The impact of that decision - which led tens of thousands of people to protest outside government headquarters in Admiralty last week - could be behind Leung's popularity plunge in the latest poll. With a record six out of 10 respondents casting a vote of no confidence in the chief executive, University of Hong Kong pollsters warned he might be slipping into a credibility crisis.

Yesterday, Leung said: "The government made the decision according to the laws, policies and procedure. It will be the same regardless of any judicial review … If there is one, the court will hear our arguments.

"The Executive Council's confidentiality rule and collective responsibility are long established and must be upheld."

He said Exco had considered "four principles" and "11 factors", without elaborating.

On Monday, Phillip Li Koi-hop, of political fringe group the People's Opposition Party, withdrew his application for a judicial review of the decision, in a bid to force the government to explain.

Wong's Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) has yet to carry out its separate plan to apply for a judicial review.

Instead, HKTV continued its battle on another front, saying officials past and present - including Equal Opportunities Commission chairperson Dr York Chow Yat-ngok, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang and ex-civil service chief Joseph Wong Wing-ping - had urged the government to reveal its rationale. "Any misgivings about [interfering with] judicial proceedings are now dispelled," HKTV said. "But Leung is still rejecting calls to say why the policy changed and why HKTV lost. He owes Hongkongers the truth."

In an HKU poll of 1,000 people last week, Leung was rated 44 out of 100 points, down 4.1 points and the second lowest since he took office last year. Only 22 per cent expressed confidence in him, down 9 percentage points. And 60 per cent said they would cast a vote of no confidence, up 5 percentage points. Both confidence figures were new records.

"Leung has put in a fair bit of effort to overcome the [popularity] problem," Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, director of HKU's public opinion programme, said. "But all his efforts have apparently gone to waste after the television licensing decision."

He said that based on the experience of former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, a popularity rating of below 45 marks "can indicate a credibility crisis".

Video: Cy Leung at Legco on the HKTV free-to-air ruling

 

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This article is now closed to comments

superdx
Confidentiality over a TV license decision. Really?
caractacus
While Exco deliberations may be secret, this does not stop it from giving reasons for a decision, which is an entirely different question.
C. Y. Leung is handling this very badly, who is advising him?.
whoaman
It just points to political reasons, or stupid reasons that he is embarrassed to divulge.
The poll should ask not so much if people have confidence in CY, but more to the point - is he a stubborn narrow minded leader that once he has made a (stupid) decision, he won't back down?
dng18dng18
CY isn't going to disclose anything because if he did, it would go like this:
"Cos Grandpa told me to reject it..."
kenny.wong.18847
The trend can only go lower due to the inability of CY to manage the crisis. Perhaps this is the reason why a general election is needed in the futue!
jandajel
This just means that after 2 weeks, they still have not been able to think up a plausible excuse for denying HKTV a license. Delay for a year or so, and some ExCo genius might come up with something.
chuchu59
CY looks so glum in the photo. Maybe he can handle pressure well but cant his advisors tell him that his excuses are making him a laughing-stock. If nobody takes him seriously how can he be expected to serve out the remainder of his term?
lamlm38
are u suggesting a true leader should go where the wind blows?
fsk999
ExCo members are expected to give warts and all advice to the CE to enable him to reach a decision. They will not give it if their advice becomes public Aside from the Broadcasting Authority's adviice which supported all three applications, ExCo possibly received other confidential advice leading to the CE's decision to exclude HKTV. Even if the CE went against the majority of ExCo, he only needed to place his reasons on record but not to reveal them.
rpasea
This issue reveals more about CY's lack of leadership skills than anything related to a TV license. He is coming across as an empty suit just like Donald. Surely we can do better than the leadership that is being foisted upon us. I would rather Beijing just appoint someone from their diplomatic core to be the CE like the UK did for the governor. At least we might get someone competent who also met BJ's approval.

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