A senior official yesterday put a brave face on Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's falling popularity, saying the public had come around to supporting initiatives such as stock market intervention, Disneyland and the Asian Games bid after initial opposition. Secretary for Home Affairs David Lan Hong-tsung was quizzed by Democrat Lee Wing-tat on the findings of a poll conducted by the Hong Kong Transition Project published in mid-April. The survey found 54 per cent of 704 respondents were dissatisfied with Mr Tung's performance. It showed 52 per cent did not want him to seek re-election in 2002. But Mr Lan said experience showed that public opinion eventually swung round in the Government's favour. He cited the Government's decision to intervene in the stock market in 1998, to develop the Disneyland project and to bid for the 2006 Asian Games. 'The Government's intervention in the market during the financial turmoil was a determined move,' he said. 'Although the voice of opposition was loud at the time, many people now support the move.' Mr Lan said people opposed such measures at first because they might not have had sufficient information or did not understand the decision. Mr Lee asked if the Government would review its policy objectives and measures to salvage its prestige in the light of Mr Tung's declining popularity. 'The poll showed that the public believes Mr Tung is more easily influenced by Beijing officials and business leaders than by public opinion,' Mr Lee said. Mr Lan dismissed the survey as merely one of many, and said many international critics had formed positive impressions of Hong Kong's development since the handover. 'The European Commission's report says Hong Kong remains one of the freest societies in Asia,' he said. Mr Lan said that according to the Government's two-monthly opinion surveys in the past five years, an average of 60 per cent of respondents agreed the Government was concerned about public opinion and had taken it into account when deciding on policy.