FORMER Legco lawmakers and student groups are calling on Tung Chee-hwa to set up an independent inquiry into the Robert Chung polling row amid fears about the impartiality and scope of an internal university probe. Calls for an outside investigation come the day after pollster Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu's allegations that Hong Kong University vice-chancellor Cheng Yiu-chung was the 'third party' who asked him to stop conducting surveys on the Chief Executive's popularity. The university promised to launch an inquiry. However, former legislators and student groups yesterday claimed the university's investigation would be 'toothless'. The calls were met with a statement from Mr Tung's office giving full support to the university's commission of inquiry, adding that the findings should be made public. The statement again denied that Mr Tung or his staff had instructed Dr Chung to stop conducting the polls. Democrat former legislator James To Kun-sun, who is also a university council member, said the issue was too big for an internal investigation. He said the best alternative would have been a Legislative Council select committee investigation, but this was impossible because the Legco session had ended. 'The second-best way is to ask Mr Tung to order a statutory inquiry, like he did into the new airport opening crisis. We want a body with high credibility to do the job,' Mr To said. 'We cannot count on the university investigation panel. It is a very low-level toothless creature. It has no power to summon witnesses and it can only look into university staff.' Ex-legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing of The Frontier agreed with Mr To. 'The truth is not uncovered yet. The saga involves academic freedom, which is protected by the Basic Law. We cannot be too careful,' she said. She urged the university to open to the public all documents and hearings of its investigation. A university spokesman said the terms of reference and membership of the investigation panel had not yet been drawn up and it was too early to comment. Lam Man-kit of the Liberal Party also argued that the hearings by the university investigation should be public. 'It is vital the investigation can be seen to be fair. They should not appoint an executive councillor or someone from the university management to the panel.' But Executive Councillor Tam Yiu-chung said the university probe should be allowed to go ahead: 'I believe the probe will be carried out in a fair manner. And I hope the public will understand more when the results are released,' he said. Fellow Exco member Henry Tang Ying-yen said that it was still too early to jump to conclusions: 'Both sides - Professor Wong and Dr Chung - presented two different versions, so let's wait and see the results of the inquiry,' he said, reiterating his call for Dr Chung to apologise to Mr Tung. On Friday Dr Chung named Professor Cheng as the 'third party' who had instructed pro-vice-chancellor Professor Wong Siu-lun to tell him that he should stop conducting surveys on Mr Tung's popularity and the Government's credibility. He claimed that Professor Wong had told him it was also Mr Tung's idea. Professor Wong denied the claims but conceded that he told Dr Chung he had heard from many parties - including Professor Cheng and the Chief Executive's Office - that there were doubts over Dr Chung's 'political neutrality'. Yesterday, Dr Chung appeared on an RTHK television programme to release a poll by his centre on Chinese medicine but would not comment on the row. President of the university's student union, Chang Wan-ki, said: 'The matter concerns the public interest and should not be handled by an internal investigation. We hope there will be a full-scale inquiry into both the university and the Chief Executive's Office,' she said. Ms Chang also questioned the credibility of the investigation committee set up by the University Council: 'The whole investigation will be conducted in the dark. We will not be involved and there is no party to monitor it. Vice-chancellor Cheng said he would help and co-operate with the committee - we want to know what that means.'