Retired High Court judge William Waung Sik-ying has criticized the government for the lack of information on the Palace Museum at the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), saying that while he agrees with the project, it doesn’t have to be built in the arts hub, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Visiting an exhibition on the project in Central on Wednesday, Waung said the so-called public consultation on the proposal is only for show as Hong Kong citizens have no say in the matter at all.
A board member of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Waung said there is nothing wrong with the project but said building it in the WKCD would mean sacrificing the original Mega Performance Venue to make room for the museum.
Asked about the appointment of Rocco Yim as principal architect of the project without any open tender or competition,Waung said it was “definitely problematic” because even though the funds came from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the money still could not be considered private capital and therefore the public must have a say on it.
As part of the six-week public consultation, the WKCDA is conducting a survey both at the exhibition area and online.
Of the seven questions being asked, five concern the exhibition and facilities of the palace. Only two are asking for the respondents’ opinion on the project, and none of the survey questions is asking whether or not the museum should be built at the WKCD, if at all.
Legislator Ma Fung-kwok, representing the sports, performing arts, culture and publication functional constituency, approves of the way Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor handled the project.
He said the deal must be discussed in confidence with relevant parties, otherwise there would be complications that could ruin the project.
Designer Kan Tai-keung believes that Lam had been forthcoming, adding that her explanations were able to remove public doubts and apprehensions about the project.
The Hong Kong Institute of Architects threw its support behind Yim, saying that his talent and credentials landed him the job of principal architect of the project.
It called on the public to stop casting aspersions on Yim and allow him to concentrate on his work.
At the same time, the institute urged the government to use open competitions when looking for architects for its projects in order the raise the bar of creativity.
Meanwhile, the Equal Opportunities Commission said the WKCD requirement that the lead architect for the project must be Chinese could be in violation of the law against racial discrimination.
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