The government has once again denied any cover-up or conspiracy with the MTRCL to withhold information on delays in construction of the Guangzhou- Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, which has seen costs soar by nearly a third.
Undersecretary for Transport Yau Shing-mu who was speaking at the third hearing of the Legislative Council’s select committee inquiry into the matter, stated that he was only told the deadline had been missed in April last year and this was announced as soon as possible.
Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching said it took nearly a year for the public to be informed.
“You noticed the delay in May 2013 but you only came to the Legislative Council to explain this on April 12, 2014. You are giving us the impression that you conspired with the MTRCL,” Mo said yesterday.
Yau said: “The authority did not deliberately cover up [the delay] to the Legislative Council, nor did it conspire with the MTRCL to cover up [the fact].
“On April 12, 2014, the day the MTRCL chief executive called up the secretary [for transport and housing] to tell him the situation, the secretary who was still overseas immediately told his colleagues and I to grasp the development.
“By the time he returned to work on Monday, he had already held a meeting with the MTRCL and he announced the development the following day.”
Yau also said the MTRCL will give an account later this quarter of the estimated cost of the rail link.
The delay was eventually announced on April 15 last year. According to an announcement on October 28, the rail link will be delayed until 2017 with the cost running HK$6.5 billion over budget at HK$71.5 billion.