An academic yesterday questioned the motive behind Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's promise to establish an effective opinion survey system.
Wong Wai-ho, assistant professor of the department of government and public administration at Chinese University, said: 'One reason why the Chief Executive was so unpopular during his first term was not that he did not know what public opinions were but that he opted to go against them.'
Declaring his candidacy for a second term as chief executive last Thursday, Mr Tung pledged he would put in place an effective opinion survey system to ensure the highest level of government awareness of community attitude, sensitivity and reaction to policy initiatives.
But Professor Wong cast doubt on Mr Tung's motives, saying many universities had carried out objective opinion surveys.
'Does he want to set up a public opinion programme himself and only listen to public opinions that he likes to hear [generated from this programme]?' he said.
Professor Wong's comments came at an open-air forum in Mongkok on whether Mr Tung should serve a second term.
Facing an empty seat that was reserved for Mr Tung, who declined to attend, Professor Wong said he hoped the Chief Executive would have more contact with the public and make himself available to meet people other than tycoons. He said Mr Tung had missed a chance to communicate with the public by rejecting an invitation from the Coalition Against Second Term for him to appear at yesterday's forum.
Li Pang-kwong, associate professor with the department of politics and sociology at Lingnan University, criticised Mr Tung for surrounding himself with a hand-picked audience when he announced his bid for a second term last week.
To show that he was prepared to meet the public and not just the 800 Election Committee members who will choose the next chief executive, Mr Tung should hold a public meeting for residents of each of the 18 districts in Hong Kong, Professor Li said.
Sing Ming, of City University's department of public and social administration, added that he had great reservations about Mr Tung serving a second term as he believed the Chief Executive lacked the ability to do the job well enough.