Date
18 November 2017
MTR projects director Chew Tai-chong told the board that the project would be completed by the end of 2015 and within budget. Photo: HKEJ
MTR projects director Chew Tai-chong told the board that the project would be completed by the end of 2015 and within budget. Photo: HKEJ

MTR director Chew blamed for not alerting board on project delay

Chew Tai-chong, projects director at MTR Corporation, should have alerted the company board about the delay in the high-speed rail link project, according to a report released by an independent panel, RTHK said on Wednesday.

Chew mentioned “difficulties” in the project but told the board that the project would be completed by the end of 2015 and within budget, the report said.

Frederick Ma Si-hang, former commerce secretary who chaired the panel, blamed Chew for not reporting the delay to the government and board earlier for lacking “good judgment”, it said.

And Chew had not expressed any concern about project delay to MTR chief executive Jay Walder, Walder told the panel.

Walder will step down on Aug. 15, a year earlier than planned. The decision was a “mutual agreement” with the board.

Deputy chief executive Lincoln Leong will become acting chief executive after Walder leaves. A worldwide recruitment is under way to look for a new chief executive.

Company chairman Raymond Ch’ien Kuo-fung said the report is based on “facts” and the findings are “objective”.

Ma said the panel has convened 12 meetings with senior management of the company. It has conducted field visits and looked through massive documents and materials, which showed that the project team acted professionally. The panel found no sign of “hiding or covering up” of the project delay, the report said.

However, the report has not shed much light on the government’s responsibility in monitoring the project progress, said Hung Wing-tat, an associate professor at the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

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JZ/JP/CG

Freelance journalist

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