The public is not satisfied with the performance of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) in handling the financial crisis but believes the Government should maintain the peg with the US dollar, a poll conducted by the Chinese University concluded. The poll, led by economics professor Liu Pak-wai, carried out 933 interviews on August 11 and August 12 on the public's attitude towards the Government's policy of maintaining the peg. The respondents gave the HKMA an average of 49.13 marks out of 100 for its performance in handling the crisis, below the 50-point pass score. The poll did not ask why the respondents were not satisfied with the HKMA's performance. But Mr Liu said this did not necessarily mean the public disagreed with the Government's policy of maintaining the peg. He said given the correction in property and share prices in the past 12 months, the respondents' dissatisfaction with the handling of the crisis was understandable. About 65.7 per cent of respondents thought the advantages would outnumber the disadvantages if the Government maintained the peg, while 74.6 per cent thought the peg should remain intact. Mr Liu said this suggested the peg was the only pillar of public confidence in the future of the economy. The respondents in general opposed a proposal to devalue the local currency. About 62.8 per cent said the move would push Hong Kong deeper into recession, 54.7 per cent said it would raise unemployment and 58.9 per cent said it would undermine confidence in the economy. About 35.1 per cent of respondents expect the Asian turmoil to last at least another year, while 69.9 per cent said it would be more than a year before Hong Kong would see a recovery in the economy. On the possibility of another speculative attack on the dollar, 79.7 per cent of respondents expect trouble in the near future. Mr Liu concluded from these results that the public in general had been ready for a long period of economic downturn resulting from the prolonged effect of the crisis and was expecting to see the local currency coming under attack again.