Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung apologized on Monday for the delay in the construction of the Hong Kong section of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou Express Rail Link, adding that he was ready to accept criticism.
Appearing before the railway subcommittee of the Legislative Council, Cheung admitted that he had difficulty in making a judgement on whether to believe the MTR Corp. when it said that it could finish the project on schedule. He said the government and the rail operator did not see eye to eye as to when it could be completed.
Cheung said in a press briefing last Saturday that MTR Corp. insisted last November that the high-speed line could be completed and could start operation as originally scheduled. As a result, the government, even if it had its doubts, chose not to inform the public about possible delays to the project.
The government has decided to set up an independent team to conduct a comprehensive review on the delays, including the supervision mechanism on the railway operator.
Also appearing before LegCo, MTR chairman Raymond Chien and CEO Jay Walder also apologized for the delays, and said the company has laid out a realistic plan for the project to start operation in 2017.
Among other measures, the company will form a committee composed of independent non-executive directors to review the management of the project and monitor it more effectively, Chien said.
He also said the company will set up a central data room specifically for legislators to access its external and internal documents pertaining to the railway project. The data room is expected to be ready this June and will remain open until the project is completed.
– Contact us at [email protected]