Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's Chief Executive. Photo: HK government

Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has the lowest performance rating of any chief executive in Hong Kong, according to a recent survey, her lowest mark since taking the position in 12017.

A survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies (HKIAPS) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong had Lam scoring 37.5 from 100 in June, a significant drop from her rating in May at 48.1.

The survey, which interviewed 732 respondents, was conducted between June 17 and 20 after two massive rallies when tens of thousands of Hong Kong people took to the street to demand the withdrawal of an extradition bill amendment and the resignation of Lam and others.

Lam’s performance in the survey put her behind her predecessors by significant margins. Leung Chun-yin scored his lowest mark of 38.6 in October 2014 during the Umbrella Movement when tens of thousands of people occupied roads in Admiralty to demand genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong.

Second former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen scored his lowest of 41.8, while first former chief executive Tung Chee-wah scored 38.9 in 2003 when 500,000 people took to the streets during the July 1 rally.

For the three secretaries, all their ratings go down in June.

The hardest hit was Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, who was responsible for the extradition bill amendment. Cheng had her lowest score of 26.8 in June, down from 33.7 in May. This score was also the lowest among her predecessors since the establishment of the HKSAR.

Scores for Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung dropped from 45 in May to 37, while that for Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po dropped to 34.4.

Meanwhile, 60.4% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the government, 20 percentage points more than that in May. Only 18.4% of respondents said they were satisfied with the government’s performance and 19.8% answered “in-between,” the survey showed.

On Monday evening, the government said it would not be holding an Executive Council meeting on Tuesday morning, but the council secretariat did not provide a reason for the cancellation.

It was the second week the cabinet meeting has been canceled. Last week, the meeting was scrapped due to a blockade by anti-extradition protesters around government headquarters. The chief executive had been targeted over the issue and she apologized for her handling of the contentious bill last Tuesday evening.

The executive councilors, like New People’s Party leader Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung from pro-Beijing Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, both showed up and were busy trying to convince people there was no difference between bill suspension and bill withdrawal, Sing Tao Daily reported.

The ExCo members united in their explanation, saying the government had suspended the legislation work so there was no need to want a “withdrawal.” They also said there was no need to set up an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the June 12 clashes between police and protesters.

Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, a former chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city’s de facto central bank, said the saga had had an impact on Hong Kong’s image as a financial center. Yam said he supported Lam and her administration and hoped other parties unite and join hands to maintain Hong Kong’s role as an international financial center.

Liberal Party leader Felix Chung Kwok-pan, meanwhile, urged the government to speak clearly about the withdrawal of the bill as it was a matter of the utmost importance to avoid further protests against the government. He suggested Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung make the announcement instead of Lam.

The pro-establishment Liberal Party leader also said he discovered people started to have fallacies over the advice given by Executive Council members to the chief executive, citing the extradition bill saga as an example, Ming Pao Daily reported.

To avoid more fallacies in the future, he suggested the government reform the structure of the Executive Council by adding more opposition voices. People from all walks of life, including young people, the pan-democracy camp and neutral voices should be considered to make the ExCo more diversified, he said.

Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a government and public administration senior lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said it was difficult to find suitable candidates, especially from the pan-democrat camp due to its confidentiality and accountability systems.

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