Leung Chun-ying has the lowest popularity rating of any chief executive, trailing his predecessors by significant margins, a new survey has found.
The survey, commissioned by the Democratic Party, was conducted by Lingnan University’s Public Governance Programme between June 5 and 14 and interviewed 1,020 people, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Respondents gave Leung a score of 3.88 out of 10, 1.64 points lower than the 5.52 scored by Tung Chee-hwa and 1.03 lower than the 4.91 scored by Donald Tsang.
About 17.2 percent of respondents gave Leung a zero score, while 15.1 percent gave him three points. About 56 percent rated Leung’s performance as poor, while only 27 percent said his performance was good and gave him a score of between six and 10.
Respondents between 18 and 29 were the most critical of Leung, giving him an average score of 2.66.
Those in the 30-49 and 50-above age groups gave Leung an average score of 3.85 and 4.36, respectively.
In terms of political affiliation, those who regarded themselves as democrats were most critical of Leung, giving him a low score of 2.53.
In contrast, those who considered themselves among the pro-establishment gave Leung a 6.08, higher than the 5.15 they gave Donald Tsang. Those who claim to be the localists gave Leung a score of 2.67.
Former legislator Fred Li from the Democratic Party said Leung has been a highly controversial figure in public office and in his personal life.
Even before he assumed his duties five years ago, he was alleged to have lived in an apartment with illegal structures. Leung and his family members have frequently made headlines for the wrong reasons, he said.
Leung was still in the center of much controversy during his last week at the helm with his decision to remove the offsetting mechanism for severance payment and long service payment using an employer’s Mandatory Provident Fund contributions.
Prof. Ma Ngok of the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Government and Public Administration said instead of playing a middleman role in facilitating communications between Hong Kong people and the leaders in Beijing, Leung has adopted a philosophy of inciting infighting, which has torn society apart.
Leung has invited interference in local affairs from the Liaison Office and Beijing officials in a high profile, as well as damaged some of Hong Kong’s core values and also crushed people’s hopes for “one country, two systems”, he said.
Hong Kong Coalition of Professional Services chairman Kaizer Lau, who was deputy director in Leung’s 2012 campaign office, said it is understandable that people could have preferences toward former leaders.
He added that the survey results could have differed significantly if the survey was conducted after another term of five years of the next chief executive is served.
Lau said Leung might not have been treated fairly with his “original sin”, his close ties with mainland China long before he became chief executive, which gave the public a negative impression.
Meanwhile, respondents gave a score of 4.88 out of 10 for the outlook of Hong Kong, saying they are optimistic about its overall economic development.
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