The public is sharply divided over whether the civil service reforms are in the SAR's best interests, although most agree the changes should proceed in phases, a survey has found. Following last Sunday's protest march by more than 10,000 civil servants, up to 35.6 per cent of respondents to the Hong Kong Policy Research Institute poll said the reforms were against the interests of the SAR, while 36.1 per cent said the reverse. Another 28.3 per cent had no opinion. The survey polled 902 people last Monday and Tuesday. Eighteen staff unions led the civil servants on Sunday in protests against the reforms. A tracker survey carried out by the institute since March last year has shown that those who agree the reforms are necessary has dropped from 79.1 per cent in March 1999 to 63.4 per cent in May last year, and rose to 65.5 per cent after Sunday's march. Those who believed the reforms could improve efficiency and competitiveness totalled 43.1 per cent, compared with 35.3 per cent who disagreed. Up to one third agreed the reforms should continue across the board. Another 49.8 per cent supported giving priority to some areas first while 10.1 per cent wanted to suspend the reforms.