Chui’s approval rating rebounds in time for Beijing duty-visit

Chief Executive Chui Sai On’s approval rating rebounded in 2018 from the all-time low seen in the previous year, according to the latest annual report from the University of Hong Kong. The news comes just as the Chief Executive was wrapping up his visit to Beijing where he held separate closed-door meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang, to report on the MSAR’s development and its role in promoting the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

The report surveyed approximately 500 Macau people and asked them to express the extent of their support for the chief executive using a scale of 0-100, with 0 indicating absolutely not supportive, 100 indicating absolutely supportive and 50 representing a stance midway between the two extremes.

Chui’s approval rating stood at 56.3 as per the mid-December 2018 survey, marking a considerable 6.8 point improvement over the 49.5 seen in October 2017.

Last year’s report came just a few weeks after typhoon Hato struck Macau, when support for Chui dropped more than 10 points to reach an all-time low, breaching the 50 percent mark for the first time.

The University of Hong Kong also found that Chui would fare better this year in a hypothetical general election, with just shy of 30 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him. Meanwhile, 53.9 percent said they would not vote for Chui and 16.3 percent said they were unsure.

In September 2017, only 21.4 percent said they would vote for Chui in a hypothetical election, while 65.6 percent said they would not and 13 percent did not know.

Meanwhile, general satisfaction with the overall performance of the Macau government broadly increased this year when compared with 2017, yet still remained lower than it was in 2016.

The proportion of respondents “very satisfied” or “quite satisfied” with the government’s performance stood at 5.8 percent and 34.9 percent respectively this year, compared with 2.2 percent and 22.8 percent in September 2017, and 5.3 percent and 38.7 percent in December 2016.

However, there was little change in the extent to which respondents trusted the Macau government, with 8.7 percent and 40.2 percent responding that they highly trusted or quite trusted authorities respectively in 2018, compared with 10.1 percent and 38.2 percent respectively in 2017. Trust in the Central Government was unchanged compared to previous years, with 62 percent holding a positive opinion and just 18.3 percent a negative one.

Chui wrapped up his visit to capital yesterday, after presenting to state leaders his report on Macau’s situation, including its social and economic progress. Chui said that the central government had fully affirmed the SAR government’s work over the past 12 months.

Xi praised the city’s optimization of mechanisms to safeguard national security, its contributions to the development of the Belt and Road initiative, and the strengthening of the city’s capacity for disaster prevention and mitigation.

Meanwhile, in a separate meeting, Premier Li called on the SAR government to encourage the local community to actively engage in the city’s economic diversification process and in consolidating the integration of Macau’s own development with the country’s development.

“I believe and hoped that under the leadership of you and the SAR, the SAR would continue the fine development of Macau, improve social wellbeing, continue to foster economic diversification, and maintain the non-stop solving the different types of problems, which Macau encounters,” said Li.

Reporting on his meetings with two of the country’s top officials, Chui said that the state leaders paid close attention to the social and professional development of young people in Macau, and that the SAR government would step up its efforts to further advance work related to youth affairs.

Meanwhile, when asked by reporters about the election process for the next chief executive, Chui said he had not discussed those matters in his meetings with state leaders. As outgoing chief executive, the official said he would “strive to ensure the election process for selecting [his] successor ran smoothly.” He also pledged to ensure a smooth transition to the next government. DB

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