Leighton Contractors (Asia), the entity responsible for building the underground platforms at Hung Hom Station for MTR Corporation’s HK$97.1 billion Shatin-Central Link (SCL) rail project, should have received a heavier penalty in the wake of work-quality scandals, a lawmaker and a subcontractor said.
Michael Tien Puk-sun, chairman of the Legco’s railways subcommittee, told a radio program on Tuesday that the punishment meted out to Leighton by the government was not severe enough, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Rather than a temporary ban on the firm from bidding for new projects, authorities should consider revoking the contractor’s license, Tien said.
The remarks came a day after the Development Bureau announced actions against four contractors linked to the MTR rail works scandals, including Leighton.
As per the order, Leighton was banned from bidding for all works under the Approved Lists system for a period of 12 months until Oct. 7, 2019 as punishment for construction issues associated with the Hung Hom Station, and another three-month suspension over construction issues related to Exhibition Centre Station.
Tien said the suspensions would not have a deterrent effect on Leighton since it has already won contracts worth about HK$80 billion from the government. As the firm has now been suspended from bidding for new contracts for just a few quarters, it will only give the company time to take rest and build up its strength, he said.
As such, the lawmaker recommended that the government should ban Leighton from tendering for at least five years or even revoke its license.
Meanwhile, Jason Poon Chuk-hung, managing director of China Technology Corporation, Leighton’s subcontractor in charge of the Hung Hom Station platform extension, said the only punishment Leighton deserves is permanent revocation of its licenses.
Poon earlier disclosed that some steel bars at Hung Hom Station had been cut short.
In the radio program on Tuesday, Poon revealed there are at least four major work flaws involving Hung Hom Station and one involving Exhibition Centre Station, for each one of which Leighton deserves a license suspension of up to six months.
Given the seriousness of the lapses, the punishment handed out to Leighton has been light, he said.
If the government finds further evidence of shoddy work at the Hung Hom station, heavier penalties for Leighton will be warranted, Poon added.
In other news, MTR’s board of directors on Tuesday decided to restructure the monitoring roles of its Capital Works Committee, which was formed in 2015 in response to delay of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link project at that time, to bring its function into full play.
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