SCMP Monday, August 21, 2000

Tung's 'message fails'


Tung Chee-hwa's popularity has dropped because he lacks a mouthpiece and not because he is short of ideas or wisdom, says a senior adviser to Beijing.

"It's not really that Tung is lacking ideas or lacking wisdom. But I think what he lacks is a mouthpiece . . . the skill to be able to share his brains with others, to be able to communicate, to be able to promote his visions to other people," local deputy to the National People's Congress Dr Raymond Wu Wai-yung told ATV's Newsline.

Programme host Frank Ching pointed out that Mr Tung had a spokesman, Stephen Lam Sui-lung, whose job was to communicate his boss's ideas. But Dr Wu asked: "Do you think he has done the job to an adequate degree?"

Dr Wu said some issues could not be solved, only ameliorated. "Therefore, I don't think he really lacks wise people to advise him. It's not that he closes himself up. It's how to package it, I really think," Dr Wu said.

Speaking on the same programme, Professor Lau Siu-kai, an academic at the Chinese University, said Mr Tung had a chance to regain popularity.

He believed the Chief Executive was aware it would be difficult for him to secure a second term, if his support ratings continued to be low. "What he needs to do is to make his policies more compatible with the desires of the people," Professor Lau said.

"That means he has to make compromises between his far-sighted visions on the one hand and people's mundane and probably short-sighted demands on the other . . . a good communication system should be established between his government and people from all walks of life."

He urged Mr Tung to be prepared to engage in give-and-take, not insisting that he was always in the right.

Asked whether it would be good for Hong Kong if Mr Tung were to serve a second term, Professor Lau said: "Well, I can't answer this question right now. I can only decide on that matter after one or two years."

Dr Wu said: "There are a few essential, primary qualities that I find no other people can meet. I support him for all the important qualities."